Pioneers Fall to No. 7 Wesley College 43-7

Pioneers Fall to No. 7 Wesley College 43-7

Justin Valentovic , Staff Writer

The Pioneers lost their third game of the season to No. 7 Wesley College (3-0, 2-0 NJAC) by a score of 43-7 on Saturday, Sept. 22.

Even though the Pioneers lost the game by 36 points there are still plenty of things to take away from the game. For starters, in last years matchup between the two schools, the Pioneers were on the wrong end of a 66-0 blowout; making this years margin of defeat a moral victory.

Offensive Struggles

Coming into the game the Pioneers were defying the odds running a rather smooth two quarterback system. Normally when a team attempts to run this type of offense the the offensive unit tends to struggle, however the Pioneers had flipped the script over their first two games as junior quarterbacks Cornelius Kinchen, and Tracey Fudge, Jr.,  combined to throw for 200 plus yards.

In their week three matchup with the Wolverines, the Pioneers the two QB system caught up to them and their offense suffered as a result–mustering just 31 yards through the air between the two quarterbacks.

In his second consecutive start, Fudge Jr. completed seven of 12 pass attempts, for just 24 yards, while Kinchen completed one pass out of five attempts for seven yards.

One thing that was an improvement for both of the quarterbacks is ball security, as neither of them turned the ball over; the first occurrence of the young season for the duo.

Much like the the quarterback situation, the running back position is also being platooned by multiple ball carriers.  Over the course of the game, four different running backs took hand-offs for the offense, with the bulk of the attempts coming from senior, Kyle Fanning.

Fanning finished the game with 14 carries for 22 yards. While fellow running back Marcel Mason rushed five times for five yards.

In order for the Pioneers offense to be able to function this season they will need both the passing and rushing attack to complement each other.

Defense

The Pioneers defense had been the strength of the team through their first two games of the season, and despite the score, the narrative remained the same. Coming into the game the high-powered Wesley offense had averaged 48 points per game, so holding them below that count shows promise in the defensive unit that WPU head coach, Dustin Johnson has assembled.

Even though the Pioneers surrendered a tremendous amount of rushing yards, 249, and three passing touchdowns, the fact that they only gave up one rushing touchdown shows that their front seven can be a force in the red zone.

The defense for the whole season has played a bend but don’t break style defense, in this case limiting Wesley to only two plays that went over 20 plus yards. One being a 33 yard pass, and the other being a 61 yard run.

Special Teams

The undoubted highlights of the game for WPU came from the special teams unit. The Pioneers lone score of the game came in the fourth quarter when freshman Jerry Ward returned a kickoff 91 yards for a touchdown.  Freshman, William Oertel, Jr. booted a career-high 11 punts for 488 yards (44.36 avg) which included a long of 73 yards, a William Paterson program record.

The Pioneers will continue on their quest to secure their first win of the season as they host NJAC rival Salisbury University (3-0, 2-0 NJAC) at Wightman Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 29 at 1:00 p.m.