SOUTH EUCLID, Ohio – Head coach Del Smith has the West Virginia Wesleyan football team projecting in the right direction, and after today he has that signature victory to back up that claim.
His Bobcats traveled five hours north today for a Mountain East Conference battle against the homestanding Notre Dame Falcons.
Notre Dame entered the game second in the MEC with a 6-1 record with their only loss being to nationally-ranked Shepherd, and the Falcons were potentially eyeing a play-off berth down the road in November.
The Bobcats put an end to all that today with a 20-13 win.
While the Bobcat offense had their best showing in total yards since week one against Concord, the defense once again put together an impressive performance.
The defense had six sacks, 11 tackles for loss and Aman Speed Jr. scored a defensive touchdown for the second consecutive week. This one occurred on the last play of the game as he raced 35 yards after scooping up a Notre Dame fumble on a sack caused by Davari Gill.
Following a scoreless first quarter, Tra Jackson scored his first touchdown in a Bobcat uniform with a one-yard run just 27 seconds into the second quarter.
Tyler Fischer (pictured) was good on his kick to give Wesleyan a 7-0 lead.
Notre Dame scored on a Malik Grove two-yard run, but the Tanner Harding kick was blocked by Trey Lee, keeping Wesleyan ahead 7-6 with 7:12 left in the second quarter.
Wesleyan took that 7-6 lead into the break.
The Falcons took their first lead at the 3:09 mark of the third quarter on a four-yard touchdown run by Brian Walker. Harding's kick was good to give Notre Dame a 13-7 lead.
Fischer nailed the point-after kick to give Wesleyan the 14-13 advantage.
Wesleyan chewed up 2:23 off the clock on their next drive and punted the ball away to Notre Dame, who started their final drive at their own 18.
They moved it to their own 45, but on the final play of the game, Speed Jr. picked up the fumble for the score.
Wesleyan compiled 308 yards of offense – 160 through the air and 148 on the ground.
Jackson led all rushers with 106 yards on 21 carries and had one score.
Wesleyan's two quarterbacks, Casey and Deal combined to complete 13 passes on 23 attempts for 160 yards.
The win improved Wesleyan to 4-4 overall and 4-3 in the MEC. It also moved Wesleyan into a fourth-place tie in the league with West Virginia State.
The Bobcats will return to action next Saturday against conference leader Shepherd.
The MEC game will kick-off at noon.