CINCINNATI, OHIO -- The Defiance College football team scored 20 points in the first quarter for a 20-0 lead, but could not hold on as Mount St. Joseph Unversity rallied with 38 unanswered points for a 38-20 victory in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference opener in Cincinnati.
The Defiance (0-3, 0-1 HCAC) defense came up big again for the Yellow Jackets with an interception return for a touchdown in the first quarter marking the third straight game the defense has scored points. Prior to the interception, Mount St. Joseph (1-1, 1-0 HCAC) looked to get on the scoreboard early with a 51-yard field goal attempt, but the kick sailed wide left. Later in the quarter, DC found the endzone for the first time on the day when sophomore quarterback Logan Scott (Curtice/Genoa) found senior tight end Tom Woehnker (Kendallville, Ind./East Noble) open on a 29-yard pass play that gave the Jackets a 7-0 lead. On the Lions' ensuing possession, junior Matt DeVore (Van Buren) stepped in front of an errant MSJ pass and ran 43 yards for the TD, putting DC up, 14-0. Following the TD, MSJ would again toss an interception, this time it was sophomore Jacob Bickel (Fort Wayne, Ind./Condordia Lutheran) who got the INT which set up a 37-yard field goal by freshman Tyler L'Heureux (Apopka, Fla./Apopka) at the 3:51 minute mark to increase the lead to 17-0. The Jackets tacked on more points on its next offensive drive with a 40-yard field goal by L'Heureux to give DC a 20-0 edge after the first 15 minutes.
MSJ then began its offensive run in the second quarter following a series of unsuccessful drives by both teams early on. The Lions scored their first TD with 1:36 remaining in the half thanks to a 23-yard pass completion. The MSJ defense then forced an interception of its own on DC's attempt at an answer to the Lion score, which led to a second scoring pass play, this time of 18 yards with just under a minute to go. The TD was the final points of the half for either team as Defiance maintained a 20-14 margin at halftime.
The Lions continued the comeback in the third quarter scoring on their first possession of the period on a two-yard scamper to take the lead, 21-20. The score was part of a 17-point quarter as the Lions also found paydirt on a 29-yard TD toss and a 41-yard field with 2:31 to go to increase the margin to 31-20 heading into the fourth quarter.
The Defiance offense continued to struggle in the fourth quarter as MSJ sealed the victory with an insurance TD that came on an 81-yard run with just over 10 minutes to go in the game. The TD was the only points scored in the frame as the Lions went on to the 38-20 final.
Despite starting off the game slow offensively, MSJ ended the game with 499 total yards of offense (222 rushing and 277 passing). The Lions were led by the duo of quarterback Quinn Farrell and running back Charles McCall. Farrell completed 14-of-33 passes for 277 yards with three TD and a pair of interceptions. McCall rushed for a game-high 158 yards on 17 carries and scored once. Wideout Garrett Weaver recorded game-highs of five catches for 131 yards and three TD.
Defiance had 211 yards of offense (141 rushing and 70 passing) with Scott completing five-of-18 passes for 64 yards to go along with a TD, but had two interceptions. Sophomore Anthony Righi (Liberty Center) rushed for a team-high 41 yards on 16 carries. Woehnker caught a pair of passes for a team-best 41 yards and a score. Defensively, junior Keandre Gilmer (Toledo/Rogers) posted back-to-back career games with a game and career-high 13 tackles (all solo stops) against the Lions. He also had a tackle for loss, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.
The Yellow Jackets will seek their first win of the season next Saturday, Sept. 26 when they host Hanover (Ind.) College in a HCAC game and home opener at Justin F. Coressel Stadium. The game is scheduled to begin at 1:30 p.m.