Defense Has Big Night As Football Falls to Seton Hill
Greensburg, Pa. - The Wheeling University Football team (0-1) played strong defense throughout the day forcing seven turnovers (five fumbles and two interceptions) in their 2021 opener. However, it wasn't enough as they fell to Seton Hill on Thursday night 16-14 to fall to 0-1 on the season.
Outside Linebacker JR Atkinson (Stow, OH./Stow-Munroe) led the defense grabbing both interceptions andJermichael Isom(Gadsden, AL./Gadsden City) recovered a fumble for one of the Cardinal's two touchdowns on the day. Isom also led the way with 11 total tackles followed byRich White III(Cleveland, OH./St. Edwards) andJason Simon(Montclair, NJ./Montclair) with eight and six tackles respectively.
Both defenses would play a big part in the game early on as neither team could get anything going. Wheeling would end up punting the ball on three of their four drives while Seton Hill punted two times in that first quarter. There were just six first downs combined between the two teams in the quarter and just 108 yards combined of total offense.
The game remained 0-0 heading into the second quarter before Seton Hill got the scoring started. After starting a drive at the end of the first quarter, the Griffins drove 30 yards on seven plays before kicking a field goal to take a 3-0 lead. However, quarterbackTrent Jackson(Stevensville, MD./Kent Island HS) would least his team on an eight-play, 88-yard drive that ended with Wheeling's first touchdown of the season. Jackson connected with Jaquan Davidson (Duquesne, PA./Elizabeth Forward) on a 22-yard pass to give Wheeling a 7-3 lead.
Seton Hill would add one more Field Goal before the half was over, and Wheeling went into the locker room leading 7-6. The Cardinals featured a healthy mix of run and pass throughout the first half and had 112 yards of total offense at the half. As they entered the second half, the defense would be looked at to come up with a big stop and hold Seton Hill off the board on the opening drive of the second half.
The Griffins would drive 55 yards on that opening drive, but the Cardinals held them to another field goal that made the score Seton Hill 9, Wheeling 7. However, Wheeling would go just 29 yards in six plays and was forced to punt putting the ball back in Seton Hill's hands. They would strike again on a 43-yard touchdown pass that made the score Seton Hill 16-7. It would be Wheeling's defense that helped get the Cardinals on the scoreboard at the end of the third quarter. CornerbackChristian Jones(Largo, MD./Flowers HS) would force a fumble as time was running out in the quarter, and Isom scooped it up in the endzone for Wheeling's second touchdown as the score moved to 16-14.
The game remained within striking distance throughout the fourth quarter as the defense did their part. They forced three turnovers in the quarter, but the Cardinal's offense couldn't do anything with them and they would fall 16-14. Despite winning the fourth quarter turnover battle 3-1, the Cardinals converted just one first down on the quarter in the loss.
Jackson finished the day going 15-28 with 128 yards and a touchdown in his Cardinals debut. His top target was Davidson, who pulled in five catches for 61 yards and a touchdown whileRyan LaFollette(Woodsfield, OH./Monroe Central) pulled in five catches for 49 yards. Sy Alli (Pittsburgh, PA./Obama Academy) less the rushing attack carrying the ball 21 times for 112 yards while averaging 4.7 yards per carry.
The Wheeling University Football team is back in action next Thursday for their home opener when they take on Notre Dame College at 7 pm.