Saturday, September 7, 2013
HIRAM, Ohio - The Westminster College football team lost, 23-19, at Hiram in both teams' season opener on Saturday. Titan seniors quarterback Dak Britt (Battle Creek, MI / Battle Creek) and tight end David Wright (Solon, OH / Solon) both set career-highs as Britt threw for 280 yards and Wright had 127 receiving yards with six receptions.
Westminster came back from a 16-0 deficit and cut Hiram's lead to 16-13 after Titan senior Tyler Banks (Meadville, PA / Meadville) rushed in the end zone from four yards out after an 8-play, 63-yard drive with 12:22 to play in the game. Hiram, however, responded with an 84-yard kickoff return for a touchdown which proved to be the difference.
The Titan defense put Westminster in good field position in the first quarter after senior Sean Christofferson (New Wilmington, PA / Wilmington) forced a Hiram fumble at the Terriers' 28-yard line, which was recovered at Hiram's 18. Westminster, however, was not able to capitalize as it went four-and-out. Hiram then drove down field and scored the first points of the game and led 7-0 with 6:31 remaining in the first quarter.
In the second quarter, the Titan defense forced a Hiram punt after a three-and-out. Westminster would then conduct an 11-play, 65 yard drive, however, the drive halted after an interception at Hiram's 12-yard line. Hiram added 10 points in its next two possessions and held a 16-0 lead at halftime.
Westminster only needed three plays and 55 seconds to score on its first possession of the second half after Britt connected with Wright for a 58-yard touchdown. After a Titan two-point conversion failed attempt, Hiram led 16-6.
Down 23-13 with 7:40 left in the game, the Titan special teams gave Westminster hope after a Hiram field-goal attempt was blocked and recovered by the Titans on their 16-yard line. Westminster drove to the Hiram's 37 yard-line in six plays, however it ended with an interception.
With less than three minutes to play in the game, the Titan defense recovered a Hiram fumble on fourth down at Westminster's 31 giving the Titan offense one more chance for a comeback. This time, the Titans capitalized with a 12-play, 69-yard drive that ended with an 11-yard touchdown by senior Collin Wallace (Mechanicsburg, PA / Cumberland Valley) for Britt's second touchdown pass of the game. The Titans would miss the extra-point attempt and were unable to recover the on-side kick.
The two teams combined for over 800 yards of offense with Westminster finishing with 443 total yards (163 rushing and 280 passing). Britt completed 23-of-39 passes to seven different receivers for a career-high 280 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. Britt was also the team's leading rusher with 94 yards on 12 carries. Wright led the Titans with a career- and game-high 127 receiving yards with six receptions and a touchdown, while Wallace caught a team- and game-high seven receptions. Defensively, senior linebacker Nate Moot (Johnstown, PA / Bishop McCort) led the Titan defense with a game-tying high 12 tackles (three solo and nine assists). Junior Corey Neill (Aliquippa, PA / Central Valley) and senior Aaron Nauer (Pittsburgh, PA / Shaler) added nine tackles each.
Westminster enters its bye week before its home-opener against Thomas More on Sept. 21 at 7 p.m.
***Highlights courtesy of Scott Hanicak '14 and Corey Benedict '14:
About Westminster College...
Founded in 1852 and related to the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Westminster College ranks first in the nation as "Best College for Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math," according to Forbes.com. Westminster is a top-tier liberal arts college and a national leader in graduation rate performance, according to U.S. News Best Colleges guide. Westminster is also honored as one of "The Best 378 Colleges" by The Princeton Review, and is named to the President's Honor Roll for excellence in service learning.
Nearly 1,600 undergraduate and graduate students benefit from individualized attention from dedicated faculty while choosing from 41 majors and nearly 100 organizations on the New Wilmington, Pa., campus. Visit www.westminster.edu/advantage to view "Advantage: Westminster" A Strategic Plan 2010-2020.