READING, Pa. – The Stevenson University defense had four takeaways, including three interceptions, and held off a late Albright College rally after scoring 31 straight points to post a 31-26 win in Middle Atlantic Conference football Saturday afternoon at Shirk Stadium. The Lions are the defending MAC champions.
Stevenson (2-0, 1-0 MAC) forced a turnover for the 35th straight game and now has nine interceptions in the first two weeks of the season. Albright (0-2, 0-1 MAC) remains searching for its first win of the season.
The Mustangs found themselves in an early 13-0 hole following a 24-yard field goal by Andrew Goetz 1:25 into the second quarter. Stevenson engineered a six-play, 75-yard drive capped by a seven-yard touchdown run by sophomore Jainard Crawley-Lambert to get on the board and make it 13-7 with 11:28 remaining in the first half.
Stevenson was driving again late in the first half, moving 50 yards before seeing its drive sputter at the six. Senior Tim Sternfeld converted a 23-yard field goal to make it 13-10. The drive was set up by an interception at midfield by senior Jimmy Lauer. Albright had moved into Mustang territory on the ensuing drive when freshman Zach May had an interception at the 38 with 43 seconds left to preserve the halftime score.
With the first possession of the second half, Stevenson used 3:07 and a six-play, 77-yard drive capped by a 43-yard bomb from junior Daniel Williams to junior Preston Addo to give the guests their first lead of the day. On Albright's next play, a fumble on a completed pass was forced by senior Billy Lewis and classmate Cory Pietrzyk picked it up to give Stevenson the ball on the Albright 26.
On third-and-goal at the 3, Williams found junior Dequan Ellison in the end zone to extend Stevenson's lead to 24-13 with 9:35 left in the third. Stevenson's final touchdown came with 1:36 left as a seven-play, 38-yard drive all on the ground was finished with Crawley-Lambert's second scoring run of the day, a six-yard rush.
Albright put together a 12-play, 77-yard drive to pull within 31-20 with just under 13 minutes to go on a three-yard run by Roemello Monroe. Following a Stevenson three-and-out and a punt that started the Lions at their own 22, Albright again marched down the field. The hosts used three 17-yard runs and a 12-yard passing play to get to the Stevenson 7, however, David Garilov, Albright's third quarterback of the afternoon, pushed a pass over the middle that was intercepted by sophomore Ashton Leschke at the goal line with 7:54 to go.
The guests ran off three plays to chew up 2:22 on the clock, giving the ball back to Albright with 5:32. Goetz missed a 48-yard field goal attempt left with 4:03. On the ensuing drive, the Lions burned all three timeouts to get the ball back in just 25 seconds.
Starting at its own 26, Albright pieced together a nine-play drive, with a 17-yard pass to Vinny Williams and a dive over the goal line making it 31-26 with 1:17 left. Garilov was brought down on his keeper attempt at the two-point conversion, and the Lion onside kick attempt was covered up by senior Tyler Cherigo to seal the victory.
Albright got on the board first on a 43-yard interception return for a score by Donte Thomas with 8:25 to go in the opening frame. Stevenson went three-and-out on its next two drives, with the ensuing Albright drives ending in field goals to give the hosts a 13-0 lead early in the second quarter.
Williams finished 12-24 passing for 173 yards and two touchdowns. Crawley-Lambert had 26 rushes for 92 yards and two scores, while Ellison hauled in five balls for 83 yards and a score. Defensively, senior Austin Tennessee finished with 11 tackles, while junior Mike Datu had nine and Pietrzyk eight. The Mustangs held the ball for just over 17 minutes in the second half and 30:05 for the game.
Stevenson returns home next Saturday, September 17, when it hosts Lebanon Valley College in a 1:00 kickoff at Mustang Stadium.