MOUNT PLEASANT - The Iowa Wesleyan College football team nearly pulled a big upset Saturday, pushing #23 ranked Grand View University to the limit before falling 35-28 in a Mid-States Football Association Midwest League game at Mapleleaf Stadium.
The Vikings had to knock away a heave to the end zone by the Tigers on the final play of the game to finally seal the deal. Grand View got the win and improved to 7-3 overall and 5-1 in the MSFA Midwest, and is now in a four-way tie for first in the league with William Penn University, St. Ambrose University and the University of St. Francis (Ill.).
IWC dropped to 2-7 overall and 2-5 in the MSFA Midwest, but the Tigers showed heart in staying with the Vikings for 60 minutes. Wesleyan also no doubt earned respect from its opponents just one year after a 73-6 loss in Des Moines in which the Tigers did not force a punt.
Iowa Wesleyan led early, fell behind in the second quarter but then stayed close throughout the second half, even after it appeared the Vikings had closed it out. GVU seemed to finally wrapped it up in the fourth quarter with a nine play, 70-yard drive with a five-yard touchdown pass by Gregory Charles to Taylor Goebel to make it 35-21, and then an interception on IWC's next offensive series.
Wesleyan got the ball back again, though, and took just two plays to make it a one score game again. Kevin McConnell
(Jr.-Kansas City, Mo.
) hit LiMichael Peeples
) on a short pass to the left, and the wideout sprinted down the sideline, leaving defenders in his midst on a 55-yard play that made it 35-28 with 2:31 left.
The Tiger defense then forced a GVU punt and Wesleyan got the ball back with 1:18 left. McConnell drove IWC down to the Grand View 35, but a final pass to the end zone was batted away to finally preserve the win for the Vikings.
Grand View scored first, but the Tigers took a 14-7 lead in the first quarter with a pair of long scoring drives. Establishing the run early, Wesleyan went 67 yards in nine plays with Kenyon Morgan
) capping it off with a 10-yard touchdown run to tie the game at 7-7. IWC then put together a ten play, 55-yard drive later in the quarter, capped by McConnell finding Ridge Hobbs
(So.-New London, Iowa
) for a five-yard touchdown pass, the 10th TD reception this year by Hobbs.
The Vikings scored 21 unanswered points in the second quarter as the IWC offense stalled. The Tigers bounced back in the third quarter, though, taking the second half kickoff and marching 84 yards in seven plays, with McConnell finding Chase Taylor
) for a three-yard touchdown to make it 28-21.
IWC outgained the Vikings 347-334 in the game as the Tiger defense worked hard against Grand View's powerful running game. GVU rushed for 250 yards on 51 rushing attempts, but the Vikings gained just 124 total yards in the second half. Duane Lee
(Jr.-San Jose, Calif.
) had 11 tackles, including two tackles for loss, as well as an interception, and Aaron Wagoner
) added 10 tackles, including 2 1/2 tackles for loss. Richard Silva
) and Tony Fuiava
(Jr.-Pago Pago, American Samoa
) added eight and seven tackles, respectively.
McConnell passed for 256 yards and three touchdowns, completing 25 of 35 passes. Hobbs caught six passes for 71 yards, leaving him 139 yards shy of 1,000 yards receiving for the season. Peeples also had three catches for 73 yards, and Morgan kept the Vikings honest with 16 rushes for 41 yards.
The Tigers wrap up their season next week when they host Concordia University (Mich.) in an MSFA crossover game. It also will be Senior Day for IWC, with game time set for 1 p.m. at Mapleleaf Stadium.Box score #23 GVU 35 IWC 28