Story and photo courtesy of Wayne State (Mich.) Athletics
DETROIT - The 19th-ranked Wayne State University football team (1-1 overall, 1-1 GLIAC) rallied from a 17-point halftime deficit for a dramatic 35-31 comeback win over visiting Lake Erie College (0-3 overall, 0-2 GLIAC) Saturday afternoon at a sun-drenched Adams Field.
It was WSU's largest comeback victory since trailing 21-3 early in the third quarter against Ferris State on Sept. 28, 2002, in Big Rapids. The Warriors rattled off 33 consectuive second-half points for a 36-21 win.
LEC's Jordan Forbes blocked on punt on WSU's first drive setting up a 15-yard scoring drive for the Storm.
Wayne State knotted the score at seven with a four-play, 75-yard drive culminating in one-yard Toney Davis (Muskegon Heights, Mich. / Muskegon) touchdown run with 7:37 remaining in the first half.
Lake Erie regained the lead on a 40-yard Sam Marcotte field goal completing a 55-yard scoring drive.
The next five drives of the game all ended in punts.
The Storm increased their lead to 17-7 on a four-yard keeper by quarterback Patrick Nicely with 8:39 left before intermission.
Following Wayne State's fifth punt of the first half, LEC went 86 yards in 10 plays with Anthony Bilal scoring with 1:57 remaining in the second stanza.
Bilal had 115 rushing yards in the first half on 14 carries.
On Lake Erie's first possession of the second half, Nicely was sacked on third-and-sack by senior linebacker Nick Thomas (Akron, Ohio / St. Vincent-St. Mary), with senior defensive tackle Zach Houghton (Haslett, Mich.) recovering at the LEC nine.
Junior place-kicker Stefan Terleckyj (Warren, Mich. / Warren Mott) made a 22-yard field goal to cut the deficit to 24-10.
The Warrior defense recorded two sacks on the ensuing series forcing a punt, which James Jackson (Grand Ledge, Mich.) returned 22 yards. On the eighth play of the drive, Terleckyj made a 25-yard field goal, his 25th career three-pointer, making it a 24-13 contest.
The Storm drove 45 yards but Marcotte's 43-yard field goal attempt was blocked by Houghton.
WSU senior quarterback Mickey Mohner (Painesville, Ohio / Harvey) was intercepted on the following drive, and Lake Erie capitalized with an 18-yard scoring drive. Bilal had his second touchdown run of the game on the fourth play of the drive increasing LEC's lead to 31-13.
On Wayne State's next possession, Mohner engineered a seven-play, 76-yard touchdown drive completing a 20-yard swing pass to Davis on third-and-11 for the score. Mohner's two-point conversion pass to Jackson made the score 31-21. Davis had three carries for 36 yards on the drive, while senior Steve Conway (Roseville, Mich. / St. Clair Shores Lakeview) had a 21-yard reception.
During LEC's ensuing drive, Nicely was sacked on third down by junior linebacker Ed Viverette (Southfield, Mich. / Brother Rice) and redshirt freshman defensive tackle Ryan Hankins (Davison, Mich.) with Houghton recovering his second fumble of the game.
On WSU's first play, Davis rambled 10 yards to a touchdown, which came with 8:43 remaining. Terleckyj's PAT cut the Warrior deficit to three at 31-28.
Lake Erie garnered two first downs but was forced to punt after gaining only 25 yards.
Wayne State had the ball at its seven-yard line with 4:02 remaining, when Mohner drove the Warriors 93 yards in nine plays picking up six first downs along the way for the game-winning touchdown.
Junior wide receiver Dominique Maybanks (Muskegon, Mich.), who finished with a career-high eight receptions for 125 yards, had three receptions for 28 yards on the first eight plays, then finished of the drive with an 18-yard catch in the back of the end zone with 45.4 seconds left. Terleckyj's PAT made it a four-point game.
With Terleckyj's nine points in the contest, he tied Josh Renel for seventh place on the WSU all-time scoring list with 192 points.
Nicely scrambled on the first play after the kickoff and was called for intentional grounding. He picked up nine yards on a scramble on second down, threw an incomplete pass on third down and was sacked by Aaron Cornett (South Lyon, Mich.) on fourth down at the LEC two yard line.
Wayne State will play its two next games on the road - Sept. 22 at Malone (7 p.m.) and Sept. 29 at Northwood (noon) - before returning home for a noon kickoff on Oct. 6 against Hillsdale.
Bilal rushed for a game-high 187 yards and two scores but Nicely was sacked six times resulting in 219 rushing yards for the Storm.
Davis had 110 yards and scored three times (two rushing, one receiving) to lead the Warriors.
Nicely completed 6-of-16 passes for 66 yards with one touchdown. Meanwhile, Mohner finished 17-of-32 for two scores and 240 yards.
Besides Maybanks, Conway had four catches for 69 yards.