Saturday, September 28, 2013LATROBE, Pa. - The Westminster College football team snapped a five-game losing streak by winning 28-21 at Presidents' Athletic Conference (PAC) foe Saint Vincent on Saturday. The Titans improved to 1-2 overall and 1-1 in the PAC, while the Bearcats dropped to 0-3 overall and 0-2 in the league.
Westminster senior quarterback Dak Britt (Battle Creek, MI / Battle Creek) passed for a career-high 328 yards, becoming the first Titan to throw over 300 in a single game since Kevin Franz in 2008. Titan senior Collin Wallace (Mechanicsburg, PA / Cumberland Valley) caught a game-high eight receptions with a game- and career-high 165 yards.
Westminster had two scoring opportunities early in the first quarter as it had the ball inside Saint Vincent's 10 yard-line; however a blocked field goal and a turnover on downs yielded zero points for the Titans.
An interception at the Bearcats' 25-yard line by Titan junior Gino Mariano (Girard, OH / Girard), his first of the season, set Westminster up for their first score of the game. Four-plays and 25 yards after the turnover, Britt found classmate David Wright (Solon, OH / Solon) through the air for an 11-yard touchdown. Following a successful extra point by freshman Justin Dahl (Cochranton, PA / Maplewood), Westminster led 7-0 with 38 seconds left in the first quarter.
Westminster fumbled twice in the second quarter, with the second one setting up Saint Vincent at the Titans' 20-yard line at the 7:07 mark. A holding penalty on the Titans on fourth-and-two, gave Saint Vincent another chance, which it capitalized on two plays later with a 6-yard touchdown pass to tie the game 7-7, after the extra point, with five minutes left in the half.
The Titans responded on their first play of their next possession as Britt connected with senior Toby Bonitz (New Freedom, PA / Susquehanna) for 66 yards which was followed, three plays later, with a four-yard touchdown run by Britt. After a successful two-point conversion with a run by sophomore Mike Frankowski (Imperial, PA / West Allegheny), Westminster led 15-7 with 3:49 on the clock.
Westminster junior Corey Neill (Aliquippa, PA / Central Valley) halted Saint Vincent's ensuing drive with an interception at Westminster's 42-yard line with 24 seconds left. A 44-yard catch from Wallace set up a 31-yard field goal from Dahl as time expired, putting the Titans in front 18-7 at halftime.
In the third quarter, Westminster conducted a 14-play, 61-yard drive (which covered more than six minutes) and added to its lead after Dahl kicked his second field goal of the game. The Titans led 21-7 with 2:18 left in the third. The Titans took a commanding 28-7 lead after senior Tyler Banks (Meadville, PA / Meadville) scored off a 22-yard run and an extra point from Dahl, capping off a 8-play, 76-yard drive, with 7:21 left in the game.
The Bearcats cut into Westminster's lead on their next possession as they drove 10 plays for 65 yards for a 20-yard touchdown pass. A successful extra point made the score 28-14 with four minutes remaining. Saint Vincent kept it interesting when it ran back a Titan fumble 95 yards for a touchdown as Westminster was running out the clock with under a minute to go.
Britt went 19-for-31 with a game- and career-high 328 yards with one touchdown. Bonitz, who had 41 career receiving yards coming into today's game, had a career-high 102 receiving yards off a career-high six catches. Wright added four catches for 58 yards and a score. Banks rushed a career-high 30 times for a game- and season-high 95 yards.
The Titan defense only allowed 239 total yards (31 rushing). Westminster senior Nate Moot (Johnstown, PA / Bishop McCort) led the defense with eight tackles, followed by junior Dave Buzzacco (Canfield, OH / South Range) with seven. Mariano and freshman Bill Shrock (Mars, PA / Mars) added five tackles a piece. Westminster's defense forced four turnovers, including three interceptions. Sophomore punter Jake Schnelbach (Pittsburgh, PA / Bishop Canevin) kicked five times for 200 yards, including one touchback and a long of 58.
Westminster will travel to Grove City next Saturday with the kickoff set for 2 p.m.
Highlights courtesy of Corey Benedict ‘14, Scott Hanicak ‘14, and Amanda Sloan ‘16:
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.