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Wheeling University Football Falls to Frostburg State, 27-20

FROSTBURG, Md. — The Cardinals were unable to overcome an early deficit in a 27-20 loss at Frostburg State Thursday night in both teams’ spring opener.

The Wheeling University football team (0-1) was led by freshman quarterback Jalen Lea. Lea came off the bench in the second quarter and completed 12 of 26 attempts for 176 yards and two touchdowns with 11 rushes for 13 yards and a touchdown.

Junior running back Sy Alli, IV rushed for 82 yards on 15 carries to lead the backfield. Junior Ryan LaFollette paced the wide outs with five catches for 77 yards and a touchdown.

Frostburg State (1-0) went 10 plays for 78 yards on the opening possession and scored on a 38-yard touchdown pass to take a 6-0 lead (PAT Failed) with 8:44 to play in the opening quarter.

Wheeling coughed the ball up on its first play from scrimmage. The Bobcats cashed in with a two-yard touchdown run to make the score 13-0 with 5:20 left in the first quarter.

The Cardinal offense started to show some life in the second quarter, but a fumble returned 38 yards for a Frostburg State touchdown ran the score to 20-0 with nine minutes to play in the first half.

Wheeling turned to Lea at quarterback on the ensuing possession and moved the ball into Bobcat territory before punting back to Frostburg.

The Cardinals got the ball back with 3:39 left in the first half at their own 17-yard line and proceeded to go on a 13-play, 83-yard drive to get on the scoreboard. Lea converted a huge third down on a 12-yard scramble to keep the drive alive. Wheeling then converted consecutive fourth downs, including a 15-yard reception by LaFollette on a 4th-and-4 at the Frostburg 36-yard line, to setup a touchdown. Lea found LaFollette along the back of the endzone with six seconds left in the half to make the score 20-7 heading into halftime.

The Cardinal offense kept humming in the third quarter. Lea drove Wheeling into the redzone and dialed his own number on a one-yard touchdown run to make the score 20-14 with 7:14 left in the third quarter. The big play on the drive came on a 35-yard reception by junior Chris Canaday that put the ball on the two-yard line.

Momentum seemed to be in the Cardinals favor when Frostburg State faced a 2nd-and-18 from its own 46-yard line. The Bobcats connected on a 52-yard reception to setup a three-yard touchdown to make the score 27-14 in the opening minute of the fourth quarter.

The Cardinals managed to drive back into the Frostburg redzone, but a fourth down sack of Lea ended the threat and kept the score at 27-14.

Wheeling got the ball back and Lea connected with senior Jaquaun Davidson on a 30-yard touchdown pass to make the score 27-20 with one minute left in the game.

Wheeling was unable to secure the onside kick and Frostburg State ran the clock out to deal the Cardinals the loss.

Junior defensive end Brandon Munoz led the Cardinal defense with seven tackles, 2.0 tackles for loss, including a solo sack. Linebackers Jayvon Johnson and Dalton Hoover (Mingo Junction, each finished with six tackles.

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