Western Maryland loses battle against time, W&J

Green Terror falls, 24-21, in first round of playoffs

College Football

November 18, 2001|By Rich Emert | Rich Emert,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

WASHINGTON, Pa. - Western Maryland coach Tim Keating would have liked to have had 30 more seconds yesterday in the Green Terror's NCAA Division III first-round playoff game against Washington and Jefferson.

Actually, he may not have needed that much time.

The Green Terror lost a heartbreaker, 24-21, to W&J in the final 74 seconds before 5,500 at Cameron Stadium. Washington and Jefferson quarterback Brian Dawson threw a 17-yard touchdown pass to Todd Fry with 1:13 remaining for the winning points. But the drama didn't end on that play.

As it had done throughout the game, Western Maryland fought back. The Green Terror got the ball back with 1:08 left and moved to its 44, where it was faced with a third-and-one play with 12.3 seconds remaining and one timeout left.

Instead of throwing deep, quarterback Boo Harris ran around the right side for five yards and a first down and Western Maryland called time with 7.2 seconds left.

On the last play of the game, Harris completed a pass to Chris Hamilton for 31 yards, but Hamilton was tackled in the middle of the field as time expired.

Washington and Jefferson (11-0) advanced to a second-round game next weekend against Widener, a 56-7 winner over Christopher Newport yesterday. Western Maryland ended the season 8-3.

"We had a run-pass option on the play and we executed it pretty well, but so did their defense," Keating said.

Keating wasn't trying to get into range for a field-goal attempt at the end. He thought the chances of the Green Terror scoring a touchdown were better.

"If you look at our stats, we've missed some extra points," he said. "I didn't think we could do it with a field goal. If we were going to win, we'd have to score a touchdown."

Not scoring in the waning seconds wasn't the key to Western Maryland's downfall, however. That occurred when the Green Terror failed to pick up a first down after intercepting a Dawson pass at its 5 with 2:40 left to play.

Western Maryland had taken a 21-17 lead on a 63-yard pass from Harris to Teron Powell with 7:48 remaining. The Green Terror drove 84 yards in four plays and took advantage of injuries to two W&J defensive backs on the long touchdown pass.

Washington and Jefferson, which rolled up 507 yards total offense, but turned the ball over four times, came right back. The Presidents moved from their 27 to the Western Maryland 31, but that's when the Green Terror's defense came up big.

Mike Geaneas intercepted a Dawson pass that was tipped at the 5. Dawson, who completed 20 of 31 passes for 309 yards and two scores, tried to force the pass to Mike Virgin into triple coverage. It was the third time in the game Western Maryland had forced a W&J turnover inside the 20-yard line.

Western Maryland took over with 2:40 left to play, but could not manage a first down. The Green Terror punted and W&J started at Western Maryland's 38. Four plays later, Dawson found Fry on a corner route in the end zone from 17 yards.

"I thought at one point about taking a safety," Keating said. "But you can have should'ves and would'ves about a lot of things in this game.

"Even after we got the touchdown, I thought we needed another score. I didn't feel comfortable, not with all the talent they have.

"It just didn't happen for us today," he added. "It's just a darn shame that we don't get to play again this year. I hope [W&J goes] all the way. We want to lose to the champs."

W. Maryland 0 14 0 7 - 21

Wash.& Jeff . 7 10 0 7 - 24

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