By Jimmy McCumber
The Albright College football team came within a 30-yard hail mary of upsetting #12 Widener University on the road Saturday, but fell short, 34-29, due in large part to a fourth quarter goal-line stand by the Pride.
Trailing 31-22 midway through the fourth, the Lions drove to first-and-goal on the Widener two yard line. After a Marty Reinhardt
rush to the one, a Ty Hughes
sweep was stopped. Albright called two straight plunges by Reinhardt but the Pride stuffed both to escape a major threat.
Widener tacked on a field goal but the Lions drove down and scored to make it 34-29 with 39 seconds left on senior Scott Pillar
's third touchdown catch of the day.
's onside kick was recovered by Levi Myers
, and Adam Galczynski
found Daniel McNair
down to the 30-yard line with 20 seconds remaining. Four passes fell short however, including a final heave into the end zone, as Albright's comeback bid came up short.
Pillar improved his All-American candidacy with another monster game, catching 13 balls for 223 yards and three TDs. Starting quarterback TJ Luddy
was 15-of-27 for 259 yards, 2 TDs and no interceptions.
Facing the nation's number-two scoring offense, sophomore Chris Stephens
led the Albright defense with 10 tackles, including two for loss. Safety Joe Magosin
had a huge game with two interceptions, returning them for a total of 50 yards.
It was a tough start for Albright as Widener led 14-0 after just over eight minutes. Quarterback Chris Haupt
was 10-11 in leading the Pride on scoring drives of 30 and 43 yards. It could have been 21-0, but the hosts' opening possession stalled on fourth-and-goal at the Lion 1, with a rush stuffed by Tim McCaffrey
Luddy was finally able to air it out, finding Pillar for 41 yards, Caleb Shilko
for 14 yards and Pillar for 10 yards on consecutive plays. Luddy then scrambled for a gain of thirteen, down to the five-yard line.
After a plunge by Reinhardt Luddy hit Pillar for a third time, in the end zone, to get the Lions on the board.
Haupt answered for Widener however, hitting Anthony Davis
for 52 yards down into the red zone. The Lion defense tightened up again, holding the Pride to just their second field goal attempt of the season, and a 17-7 scoreline.
Albright stuffed another Widener fourth down try with six minutes remaining in the first half, and Griffin Eldridge
converted a big third-and-8 with a 10-yard grab. That set up a 57-yard bomb from Luddy to Pillar for the score. Albright trailed 17-16 after Ameer Sorrell
deflected Sobolewski's extra point, the first Lion kick blocked since 2010.
Davis, an All-American kick returner, took the ensuing kickoff 68 yards and then caught an 18-yard TD to quickly push Widener's advantage to 24-16. The Lions answered in the final minute of the first half, with Hughes diving in to make it 24-22 heading into the break.
Albright took the ball to start the second half but Luddy was sacked on three consecutive dropbacks (by Joe Wojceichowski
, Jamal Dorsey
and Chad Gravinese
) to force a punt.
Albright falls to 5-3, 4-3 and will host first-year program Misericordia next Saturday. It will be Albright's final home game and 21 departing seniors will be recognized.