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Fourth quarter leads slips away as McDaniel edges Juniata

(Posted September 29, 2007)


WESTMINSTER, Md. -- Juniata College let a fourth quarter lead slip away, and was unable to post the go-ahead points over its final four possessions, and dropped a 14-10 decision to McDaniel College, in front of nearly 5,000 Family Weekend fans at Scott S. Bair Stadium in Westminster, Md.
The Eagles put up 225 yards of total offense, with 166 yards passing off the arm of Juniata quarterback Jay Leonard. Leonard completed 22 of 46 attempts for the afternoon, with one TD and one interception. Chad Steiner was Leonard's favorite target during the afternoon, pulling in eight receptions for 50 yards. Lance Tippett also had 50 yards receiving on seven catches.
Freshman tailback Kyle McKechnie logged 78 yards rushing on 13 carries, averaging 6.0 yards per carry.
McDaniel logged 350 yards offensively, including a 110-yard, 20-carry rushing performance by Eric Zwilsky. Quarterback Tom Wenrich completed 19 of 31 attempts for 179 yards with one touchdown.
Juniata held a lead early in the fourth quarter, after the Eagles went up 10-7 over McDaniel with 10:52 left in the game. David Nicklaus pulled in a TD reception from Leonard on a fourth-and-eight play from the McDaniel 12-yard line, to put the Eagles in front. The 14-play, 77-yard drive was aided by another fourth down passing play earlier in the march, when Leonard hooked up with Chad Steiner on a quick five-yard slant route at the McDaniel 14-yard line.
The Eagle lead didn't last long. McDaniel responded with a seven-play, 56-yard scoring drive that lasted just 1:42, capped by Eric Zwilsky's 15-yard TD reception from quarterback Tom Wenrich with 9:03 left on the clock to give the Green Terror a 14-10 lead.
Juniata had four more possessions before the end of the game, but could not advance the ball out of their own territory on any drive. The Eagles did stop McDaniel from posting any more points on the board; Juniata blocked a 30-yard McDaniel field goal attempt with 3:35 left in the game, with Zach Swartz getting credit for the block.
McDaniel put points up on the board on their first possession of the game, driving 64 yards on eight plays and concluding the march with Eric Zwilsky's 27-yard touchdown run.
Juniata responded early in the second quarter with their only points of the opening half. Davis Smith kicked a 24-yard field goal with 14:52 left in the second quarter, cutting the Green Terror lead to 7-3.
Not that McDaniel didn't serve up opportunities for the Eagles, and pass on scoring opportunities of their own. On the Green Terror possession immediately following Juniata's field goal, a 38-yard field goal attempt by McDaniel kicker Jay Leonard bounced off the left upright. A 31-yard attempt by Leonard in the waning seconds of the first half was wide left. Defensively, the Eagles were led by linebacker Tyler Hall with 13 tackles, including six solo stops. Swartz finished the day with 11 tackles; Brandon Spayd logged 10 tackles, including 1.5 tackles for loss. Defensively, the Green Terror was hit with a running-into-the-kicker penalty on Tyler Templeton's punt attempt; the resulting five-yard penalty was enough to give Juniata a first down and breathe new life into the Eagle drive. Juniata missed a scoring opportunity of its own at the 7:39 mark of the third quarter, when Smith's 32-yard field goal attempt smacked the right upright. The Eagles return home to Knox Stadium next Saturday when they host Muhlenberg College at 1:00 p.m. -30-

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Contact John Wall at wallj@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3132 for more information.