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Date Posted: Friday, October 29, 01:30:23am
Duquesne's John Elway type drive was a crusher for Wagner
Published: Thursday, October 28, 2010, 3:44 PM
By: Jim Waggoner
Sean Patterson, meet John Elway.
Elway, the Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback, apparently has nothing on Patterson, the Duquesne University sophomore signal-caller.
Patterson engineered a 14-play, 98-yard touchdown drive — let’s call it “The Drive” — in the final minutes of last Saturday’s dramatic 21-20 road victory at Wagner.
The loss drove a spike in the heart of Wagner’s Northeast Conference championship hopes, coming in front of a festive Homecoming crowd of nearly 3,000.
Elway, as any football historian worth his salt knows, led the Denver Broncos on a 15-play, 98-yard series at the end of regulation in a 23-20 AFC Championship Game victory over the Cleveland Browns on Jan. 11, 1987. The Denver faithful refer to it as “The Drive.” Wagner can feel Cleveland’s pain.
“We’re all on the sidelines really just getting behind our defense and sticking with them,” said 6-foot-5, 290-pound Wagner senior left tackle Zach Johnson. “We’re trying to give them as much encouragement as we can from the sidelines.
“We’re a team ... we have great team unity. We really pride ourselves in that.”
Wagner coach Walt Hameline, who was denied his 200th career victory despite taking a 20-7 lead into the fourth quarter, said there was no second-guessing after the left-handed Patterson connected with Michigan State transfer Dave Williams on a 16-yard TD pass in the back of the end zone with 1:41 remaining.
The PAT gave the Dukes their first lead of the day.
“They get the ball on the 2-yard line (with 6:08 left) and we like our chances,” said Hameline. “That’s a long way to go and our defense has been tough all season.”
Patterson converted four consecutive third-and-long passes — the first on a 20-yard completion to Connor Dixon from the Duquesne 11.
Two plays later, Wagner strong safety Stefen Gage had a potential interception bounce out of his hands and on the next snap Patterson connected with Akeem Moore for 16 yards.
“They ran some different things ... they sprang him (Patterson) outside on rollouts,” said Hameline.
On the TD pass, “We have a guy (defensive end Mike Cox) holding on to the quarterback as he throws the ball ... he was rolling to his left and he throws the thing into the end zone ... and it barely goes over the hands of our guy.
“So it is a game of inches.”
Patterson completed 4 of 9 passes for 91 on the winning drive — none bigger than a 39-yard toss to Williams, a third-and-15 connection that got the Dukes to the Wagner 17.
“The kid made some plays ... you look at their quarterback and the plays he made,” said Hameline. “It wasn’t an effort thing. They (Dukes) were put in tough situations where they had to make plays and they made the plays.”
Wagner’s final comeback attempt ended when Nick Doscher’s fourth-down pass was intercepted at the visitors’ 26 with 55 seconds remaining.
“That last one, I don’t think there was anybody open,” said Hameline. “I thought they covered us pretty well.”
The Seahawks dropped to 2-2 in NEC play and 4-3 overall. They lost a golden opportunity to put heat on league leaders Robert Morris (5-0) and Central Connecticut (4-0), while falling behind Monmouth (3-1) and Duquesne (3-2).
Bottom line? Wagner sits in fifth place rather than third place.
“Our goal this week is to bounce back from that devastating loss,” said Johnson, the offensive tackle. “We really wanted to win on Homecoming, to give Coach Hameline his 200th win ... there were a lot of things at stake.
“But we still have goals and still want to accomplish those goals.”
Hameline echoed that hang-in-there theme.
“If you look at the big picture, we have four games left,” he said. “If we win four games we’re 8-3 ... and I think I’d take that right now.”
How does he deal with a loss?
“It rips you apart,” he admitted.
“You go home and lay in bed and think of all the things ... then you come in here on Sunday and look at the film and talk to the kids and start working on the next opponent.”
That would be defending NEC champion Central Connecticut State, currently perfect in league play, on the road Saturday.
THE DUQUESNE DRIVE
1. First down and 10, Duquesne 2-yard line. Marek Lapinski 3-yard run.
2. Second down and 7, Duquesne 5-yard line. Larry McCoy 10-yard run.
3. First down and 10, Duquesne 15-yard line. Incomplete pass by Sean Patterson.
4. Second down and 10, Duquesne 15-yard line. McCoy 4-yard loss.
5. Third down and 14, Duquesne 11-yard line. Connor Dixon 20-yard pass from Patterson.
6. First down and 10, Duquesne 31-yard line. McCoy 2-yard run.
7. Second down and 8, Duquesne 33-yard line. Incomplete pass by Patterson.
8. Third down and 8, Duquesne 33-yard line. Akeem Moore 16-yard pass from Patterson.
9. First down and 10, Duquesne 49-yard line. Incomplete pass by Patterson.
10. Second down and 10, Duquesne 49-yard line. Incomplete pass by Patterson.
11a. Third down and 10, Duquesne 49-yard line. False start, 5-yard penalty.
11b. Third down and 15, Duquesne 44-yard line. Dave Williams 39-yard pass from Patterson.
12. First down and 10, Wagner 17-yard line. Incomplete pass by Patterson.
13. Second down and 10, Wagner 17-yard line. McCoy 1-yard run.
14. Third down and 9, Wagner 16-yard line. Williams 16-yard TD pass from Patterson. Eric Duale PAT kick.
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