(Undated)- Walsh lost a chance to make a jump in the NAIA polls, as they lost a 20-14 heartbreaker to the fourth ranked University of Saint Francis Cougars at Fawcett Stadium tonight in a Mid-States Football Association Mideast game. The 20th ranked Cavs (4-2, 1-1) had their four-game win streak snapped, while the Cougars improved to 5-0 overall and to 3-0 in the Mideast. The win was the 12th straight over the Cavs for USF and also their 48th league win in their last 49 games. Walsh is on the road at Taylor University next Saturday for an MSFA Mideast game.
After stopping Saint Francis on the opening drive of the game, Walsh marched 79 yards on 12 plays and scored on Jim Shiplett's (So., Canal Fulton, OH/Northwest) one-yard plunge to forge ahead 7-0 (PAT) at the 6:18 mark of the first quarter. The Cougars tied the game in the second quarter when Shaine Tierney hooked-up with Daniel Carter for a 20-yard score at the 10:49 mark. It looked as if the half would end in a tie, when the Cougars received a huge break when Walsh's Adam Castin muffed a snap on a fourth down punt at the Cavs 18-yard line with 50 seconds to play. Walsh stiffened when USF advanced to the 10-yard line, forcing Rhys Barnhart's 28-yard field goal, which gave the Cougars a 10-7 halftime lead.
On the first possession of the second half, Walsh's Clinton Blossomgame (Jr., Columbus, OH/Beechcroft) fumbled on a third down play and USF recovered on the Cavs' 32-yard line. The Cougars scored when Barnhart booted a 26-yard field for a 13-7 lead. After a quick Walsh three and out, USF broke loose for a big play when Daniel Carter raced 45 yards to give the Cougars a 20-7 lead. Walsh answered late in the quarter, as Jason Stiel recovered a Carter fumble at the USF 49-yard line at the 4:24 mark. Walsh scored seven plays later on a Blossomgame two-yard run to trim the lead to 20-14 heading into the fourth quarter.
Walsh's defense would stymie the Cougars twice and would begin their final drive on their ten-yard line with 8:03 to play. The Cavs faced third and 13 on the seven-yard line, when Shiplett hit Mike McGill (Sr., Barberton, OH/Coventry) on the 22-yard line for a first down. Blossomgame would rush for 33 yards and with the help of a pass interference call, Walsh advanced to the USF 30-yard line with a little over three minutes to play. Blossomgame carried three times for nine yards, as Walsh faced fourth and inches on the Cougar 21 with 2:40 to play. But on fourth down, the USF defense stuffed the left side and dropped Blossomgame for no gain, to give the ball back to the Cougars with 2:32 to play. USF picked-up a critical first down and ran the clock down to 13 seconds when the punted to the Walsh 18-yard line with five seconds to play, Shiplett threw long, but it was picked-off by Jordan Wise at the 38-yard line to end the ballgame.
Daniel Carter led the USF attack with 146 yards rushing on 20 carries. Clinton Blossomgame, the leading rusher in the NAIA, led all rushers with 154 yards. USF's Shaine Tierney completed 19 of 30 passes for 174 yards and Walsh's Jim Shiplett was 8-23 for 96 yards and two interceptions.
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