After leading for 54 minutes and 41 seconds, the Urbana University football team let a 13-point lead slip away in the fourth quarter as the visiting West Virginia Wesleyan Bobcats stunned the Blue Knights, 21-20, on Homecoming Saturday afternoon at UU Stadium.
UU falls to 2-5 overall and 1-5 against Mountain East Conference teams. Wesleyan improved to the same record at 2-5 overall and in league play.
After Wesleyan trimmed the UU lead to 20-14 with 11:02 remaining, things got sloppy on the next few possessions which played out in the visitor’s favor.
On the ensuing possession following that touchdown, quarterback Cale Burdyshaw drove UU into the red zone on a 31-yard hookup with Kelly Carter to the Bobcat six-yard line. On third-and-goal Burdyshaw scrambled up the middle, and was greeted at the goal line by a host of Bobcat defenders when he coughed up the football to the defense.
That turnover hurt UU, but the Blue Knight defense came up big two plays later. Chris Richardson corralled a tipped pass for an interception and UU got the ball right back at the WVWC 26 with exactly seven minutes left in the game.
However, another turnover two plays later proved to be the devastating blow to the Blue Knights. Burdyshaw threw across the middle on a post route, but the Bobcats came up with a tipped interception of their own to prevent UU from inflicting more damage.
With 6:04 left, Wesleyan marched down field and stunned the Blue Knights by using a 16-play, 73-yard drive to take the lead on a one-yard TD pass with 16 seconds left.
The Blue Knights also had a failed PAT attempt and missed on three field-goal opportunities in the game.
UU wide receiver Trevon Saunders continued his dominance of late by scoring on UU’s opening drive. On fourth down, Saunders ran over the middle and hauled in a 34-yard touchdown grab from Burdyshaw to put UU ahead 7-0 early. Saunders also scored on a 10-yard grab to give UU the 20-7 lead at the start of the fourth quarter. That catch tied him for second place on UU’s all-time TD receptions list with 20. He totaled six catches for 88 yards and two scores, as he has now scored in 12 of the previous 14 games.
Fellow wideouts Kelly Carter and Eric Pelfrey also enjoyed success with career-high numbers. Carter racked up 120 receiving yards on five catches, including a 73-yard bomb from Burdyshaw in the first quarter. Pelfrey was involved early and often, grabbing a career-best seven receptions for 57 yards.
Despite the late turnovers, Burdyshaw still produced solid numbers by going 22 of 30 (73 percent) through the air for 309 yards and tying his career high with three passing TDs. He also totaled 45 yards on the ground. LB Carlton Rematt registered a career-high 19 total tackles, including 12 solo stops and two tackles-for-loss. CB Dereck Givens posted a career-best eight tackles.
Punter Brandon Purk boomed a career-long 77-yard kick that ended up as a touchback. His net average is now up to 43.8 yards this season.
UU will hit the road for another MEC matchup at Charleston this Saturday. Kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m. in Charleston, West Virginia.