DOVER, Del. – An interception by Aamir Petrose remaining sealed a 26-17 victory for Wesley College's sixth-ranked football team over No. 15 Birmingham-Southern on Saturday afternoon at Scott D. Miller Stadium. The Wolverines, who were playing their fourth-straight ranked opponent, picked off three passes and held the Panthers to just 261 yards of total offense.
For the fifth-straight game this year, Wesley was forced to come from behind as Birmingham-Southern held a 10-0 lead after the first quarter. A 39-yard field goal by Dan Tryon cut the deficit to seven points with 10:16 left in the first half before a 56-yard catch and run by Jeremiah Howe tied the game at ten with 7:13 remaining.
The Wolverines were able to take its first lead of the game just before the half as Justin Sottilare led an eight-play, 96 yard drive, culminating with a 12-yard touchdown pass to Steven Koudossou. Wesley's defense came up big in the second quarter, allowing just 14 yards in those 15 minutes.
Birmingham-Southern received the ball to start the second half and they ate up over eight minutes to take a 17-16 lead and they held the narrow advantage throughout the third quarter.
After forcing a three-and-out, Wesley regained possession of the ball with 4:06 left in the third and Sottilare once again led a long, time consuming drive that took up over six minutes. Devar Robinson came up big on the drive, converting for a first down on a trio of third down plays, including a 14-yard catch to set up a 25-yard field goal by Tryon.
On the ensuing possession, Derrick Bender picked off a pass from Panthers quarterback Jimmy Stainback, the second thrown by the senior signal caller on the afternoon. Wesley took over at its own 42 and crossed midfield on a big two-yard run by Sottilare on third-and-two. A ten-yard pass to Chris Cummings, followed by another big play to Matt Barile got the Navy & White into the red zone. Three plays later, Askia Jahad busted into the endzone from two yards out to put Wesley on top 26-17 with 3:13 left to play.
Looking to answer, Jimmy Stainback got Birmingham to the Wesley 34-yard line, but on first down, Sosthene Kapepula tipped a pass high into the air and Petrose came down with the ball to put an end to a possible comeback.
Sottilare had his best game of the season for the Wolverines, completing 26 passes, to 11 different receivers, on 38 attempts for a season-high 346 yards and two touchdowns. It was the first 300-yard passing game for the Columbia, Md., native, and the fifth of his career. He also did not throw an interception.
The running game was also big for Wesley as Jahad ran for 103 yards on 18 carries while Robinson rushed for 30 yards on nine carries. Robinson also caught three passes for 31 yards.
On the receiving end of Sottilare's passes, Koudossou had a team-high six grabs that went for 59 yards while Howe hauled in four balls for 103 yards.
Kapepula led the defense once again with seven tackles, two of which went for a loss, while Jared Morris recorded identical numbers, along with his team-high fifth interception.
Shawn Morris had 84 rushing yards and Aaron Sherrill tallied 84 receiving yards to lead the Panthers. The Wolverines really keyed on Joseph Moultrie who ran for just five yards on seven carries. Stainback completed just 12-of-23 passes for 154 yards.
Wesley is back home next weekend, when it hosts Virginia University of Lynchburg for Homecoming on Saturday, October 13, at 1 pm.