Westminster (Pa.) Routs Thiel to Set Up Next Week's PAC Showdown
GREENVILLE, Pa. - By setting the stage for next week's showdown in the Presidents' Athletic Conference (PAC), the Westminster College football team dispatched Thiel, 48-21, on the road Saturday. The Titans improved to 5-2 overall and 4-1 in the PAC for their most conference wins since 2002. The Titans will host three-time defending champion and No. 6-ranked Thomas More Oct. 29 at 2:30 p.m. in a game between the top two teams in the PAC. Thiel falls to 0-7 overall and 0-5 in the PAC.
Westminster mounted a 48-0 lead in the third quarter for its largest lead in a game since it beat Urbana 55-6 in 1997 when Westminster was an NAIA school. Thiel, however, scored three straight touchdowns to end the game.
Senior quarterback Shawn Lehocky completed his first 11 passes before completing a career-high 22 passes on 25 attempts for 202 yards and a career high-tying three touchdowns. Lehocky moved into sixth place in school history for career passing yards with 3,569, passing Smitty Cornell who threw for 3,560 yards from 1963-66.
Junior wide receiver Geno Pasquinelli caught seven passes for 99 yards and two touchdowns giving him 15 career touchdown receptions that tied him for seventh all-time at Westminster with Tim McNeil (1992-95) and Lamont Boykins (1980-83).
Pasquinelli caught touchdown passes of 39 and 5 yards that gave the Titans leads of 14-0 and 28-0 in the first half.
Westminster scored on two fumble returns for touchdowns that were sandwiched around three straight possessions that ended with touchdowns. Collectively, those five touchdowns helped the Titans' lead grow from 14-0 to 48-0 from the 3:13 mark of the second quarter to the 7:10 mark of the third quarter.
Freshman defensive back Korrtezz Martin scooped and scored from 13 yards out on a forced fumble by junior linebacker Derrick Orloski. It marked Westminster's first fumble return for a touchdown since 2005, but the Titans didn't have to wait another six years for the next as junior defensive back Kyle Allen gathered a loose ball on a Thiel kickoff return and Allen scored from 36 yards out. Allen has now scored three career touchdowns all on three different methods (interception, kickoff return, fumble return).
The Titans outgained the Tomcats 315-282 in total yardage. The Titans amassed 83 yards on the ground led by sophomore reserve quarterback Zach Hoffman who took a lot of the team's second-half snaps. Hoffman led the Titans with seven rushes for 44 yards including a 31-yarder.
Junior running back John Proano scored the game's first touchdown on a 16-yard run, his team-high fourth of the season, before Proano finished with 15 yards on nine carries. Sophomore running back Tyler Banks scored his third touchdown of the season from 5 yards out on the Titans' first second-half possession. Banks finished in the red, however, with minus-7 yards on seven rushes.
The Titans' other touchdown came from senior tight end Nate Horgan, whose one catch of the game was a 9-yard touchdown for his first of the season and the second of his career.
Junior wide receiver Collin Wallace caught a career-high six passes for 73 yards.
Thiel compiled 205 of its 282 total yards in the second half. Running back De'Von Drish led Thiel with 124 rushing yards on 24 carries. Drish had 93 (63 rushing, 32 receiving) of Thiel's 77 first half yards (the Tomcats lost 21 yards from four other players).
Thiel quarterback Andrew Smith threw for 135 yards on 11-21 passing with two touchdowns.
Twenty-three different Titans posted tackles led by reserve defensive back Dave Buzzacco with seven.
Westminster is 5-2 for the first since 2002 when it finished 6-4 for the team's last winning record. The Titans' three-game win streak is their longest since 2003. Westminster clinched its 53rd non-losing season in the past 61 years with its win over Thiel.