Late rally to no avail in season opener

A furious fourth quarter nearly inspires a comeback win on the road. (Photo courtesy of the Sports Information Desk)

In what was too little too late, the Lions went on a furious rally in the fourth quarter, cutting a 28-6 deficit to 28-20 but falling short to Ursinus College.

The two touchdowns, a 5-yard rush by sophomore running back Victor Scalici and a 22-yard touchdown pass from sophomore quarterback Christopher Spellman to junior wide receiver Kyle Janeczek, showed fight in the College, but ultimately took up too much time to tie the game. Spellman finished the game throwing for 141 yards, a touchdown and an interception on 10 of 23 passing.

“On offense we were not as consistent as we would like to be as a unit,” Spellman said. “We had our ups and our downs moving the ball, but that happens to every team over the course of a football game. The more snaps we get against live opponents, the more we will gel as an offensive unit.”

Just like they often did last year, the Lions started the game off hot, going down the field 72 yards and having it end with Scalici crossing the chalk from four yards out, his first of two touchdowns. A missed extra point had the College at 6-0. Scalici had 79 yards on 17 carries.

“Vic is a stud,” Spellman said. “He’s a great athlete and a better running back. Vic definitely made big plays and helped carry us on offense, and having a great, reliable running back is crucial, especially with an offense that loves to run the ball.”

After getting their first stop of 2013, the Lions committed a costly turnover, with Spellman tossing a pick six to Ursinus defensive back Kyle Adkins, who took the ball 37 yards to the house. A pick six is one of the most crushing plays in football, and that play was the spark of a huge momentum swing.

An 8-yard touchdown pass for the Bears from Chris Curran to Jason Golderer was the next drive’s result, with Ursinus pulling ahead 14-6. The

following drive for the Bears set them up in field goal position, but a blocked field goal kept the score the same. That is, however, until a 10-yard pass from Curran to Josh Williams put the Bears ahead 21-6 with just a minute and a half to go in the half.

“Crunch time at the end of each half can have a major effect on the outcome of a game,” Spellman said. “Our defense held a very good Ursinus offense to three touchdowns, and the more plays we get under Coach Dickens, Coach Hager and the rest of the staff, the more we will come together as a team and make the little plays that will help us win games.”

There wasn’t too much offensive action in the third quarter until Curran led a long drive that was capped off by a 1-yard touchdown from Kevin Monahan with only 17 seconds left in the quarter.

A light switch seemed to go on for the Lions once the fourth quarter hit, but the Bears drained the clocking after the deficit was cut to eight.

The defense, while inconsistent, did have some bright spots. Senior linebacker Nick Bricker was all over the field, as expected, collecting 17 tackles. Junior linebacker Ryan Lowe and senior defensive lineman Patrick Kimball each recorded a sack as well.

Inconsistency and sustaining momentum is what plagued the Lions last year, and it did the same against Ursinus. After an opening loss, the team is now focused on getting back at it and trying to play more consistent. They showed they have the fire in them with the last spurt of offense at the end of the game.

“Even though we didn’t come out on top, there are still a lot of positives to take away from that game, especially the fourth quarter,” Spellman said. “Breaking down the film and building on the confidence obtained from the fourth quarter drives will only help us on Friday against FDU.”