EDWARDSVILLE – Lycoming could've entered Saturday's game against Wilkes hungover after a heart-breaking loss to Widener a week ago.
The Warriors didn't show much lapse from their first loss in MAC play, rebounding to stomp Wilkes 38-7 at Schmidt Stadium and living up to their billing as one of the top defenses in the country.
Lycoming, which had the best rush defense in the MAC, giving up just 96.7 per game before the contest, held Wilkes' potent rush game to just 131 yards – exactly half its season average. The Warriors (6-2, 6-1 MAC) held the Colonels to 158 total yards while amassing 11 tackles for a loss, five sacks, three pass breakups and a fumble recovery.
We game-planned a little bit for (Wilkes rushing) because it's a little more unconventional of a run game, said Lycoming defensive lineman and Lake-Lehman grad Roger Jayne, who finished with three tackles. But once we got settled in after the first couple drives we just went back to what we know and ultimately that's what worked for us
Outside of their first two drives of the game, the Colonels (4-3, 3-4 MAC) couldn't get anything going offensively. They totaled 69 yards on their first two possessions, including a 4-yard touchdown run by Pat Inguilli to tie the game at 7 early in the second quarter. But Wilkes compiled just 89 total yards the rest of the game. The ineffective offense consisted of 27 passing yards as quarterback Tyler Berntsen completed two of his 16 pass attempts.
Wilkes getting a win over a top team in the conference for the 11th straight season under coach Frank Sheptock is in jeopardy with a game at four-time defending MAC champion Delaware Valley up next.
We're obviously looking for ways we can raise our program up, and as I built this program you have to find ways to beat the teams in front of you, Sheptock said. If you don't do that you're going to continue to be in the middle.
We have to find a way and that's up to me as the head coach. I have to start to do a much better job for our kids and prepare them better so we can find a way to get those wins.
Meanwhile, Lycoming wasn't going to let an upset happen and was determined to get its first win at Wilkes since 2003. The team's offense put together two long drives in the second quarter to take a 21-7 lead into the break.
One of the biggest plays of the game for the Warriors was their third TD, when John Sibel went over Wilkes defensive back Marcus Leaf for a 25-yard touchdown reception. More impressive is that Sibel was on the sideline the previous play after laying on the ground and leaving with an apparent injury two plays prior.
Wilkes was hurt by Lycoming's third-down efficiency, as it finished 9-of-14 on third downs, including four on third-and-long. The Colonels also inflicted troubles to themselves by committing five personal fouls and racking up eight penalties for 105 yards.
It's extremely disappointing. We try to fancy ourselves as a disciplined football team and a team that plays hard, Sheptock said about his team's handful of 15-yard penalties. Those are things where emotions get the best of you sometimes and kids are trying to make plays…It's very uncharacteristic of our team.
D.J. Shuttleworth and Tate Moore-Jacobs each had 12 tackles to pace Wilkes' defense, which allowed 438 yards, including 239 through the air.
Lycoming 38, Wilkes 7
LYCO – Tyler Jenny 1 run (Zack Czap kick) 1:34
WILKES – Pat Inguilli 4 run (Jordan Fredo kick) 11:59
LYCO – Jarrin Campman 26 pass from Jenny (Czap kick) 7:00
LYCO – John Sibel 24 pass from Jenny (Czap kick) 4:43
LYCO – Campman 25 pass from Jenny (Czap kick) 9:55
LYCO – Czap 37 field goal 5:15
LYCO – Craig Needhammer 14 run (Czap kick) 7:15
RUSHING – LYCO: Needhammer 21-78, Parker Showers 13-69, Jenny 5-24, Chris Nemits 5-17, Zach Klinger 3-6, Matt Atkinson 1-5. WILKES: Tyler Berntsen 17-66, Inguilli 18-47, Jordan Fredo 1-15, Nick Dawson 1-6, Alex George 2-1, Calvin Garvin 2-(minus-1), P.J. Incremona 1-(minus-3)
PASSING – LYCO: Jenny 12-26-0-239, Atkinson 0-1-0-0, Klinger 0-0-0-0. WILKES: Berntsen 2-16-0-27
RECEIVING – LYCO: Sibel 4-81, Campman 4-66, Nick Mongiello 3-32, Atkinson 2-21, Showers 2-13, Ryan Umpleby 1-17, Needhammer 1-9. WILKES: Jared Hargis 1-18, Tim Bousson 1-9
INTERCEPTIONS – None
MISSED FIELD GOALS – None