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October 11, 2003

Furious rally falls short against Presidents

GROVE CITY, Pa. -- Senior quarterback Sam Mowrey (Titusville, Pa./Titusville) set a new school record with four touchdown passes but the Grove City Wolverines (3-3, 2-1 PAC) could not overcome a 22-point hole Saturday in a 36-28 loss to Presidents' Athletic Conference leader Washington and Jefferson (5-0, 3-0) at Robert E. Thorn Field.

Mowrey also threw for 304 yards on 18-for-38 passing, the second-highest single-game yardage total in Grove City history. T.J. Rockwell threw for 306 yards against Mercyhurst in 1995. His 334 yards of total offense is the most in College history. 

Two of Mowrey's four touchdowns went to senior split end Bo Danton (Pasadena, Md./Chesapeake) in a 20-second span during the third quarter.

The Wolverines fell behind 29-7 early in the third quarter as Washington and Jefferson freshman Gabe McKee returned a blocked punt 26 yards for a touchdown. But Mowrey lofted a 28-yard touchdown pass to Danton with 5:52 left in the third quarter, slashing the lead to 29-14.

Grove City's subsequent onside kick attempt failed but W&J quarterback Chris Edwards fumbled the snap on the first play of the President series. Junior linebacker Mike Choby (North Huntingdon, Pa./Norwin) recovered the loose ball for Grove City at the 50.

Mowrey then fired a 50-yard touchdown strike to Danton on a post pattern, cutting the lead to nine. The extra point failed.

After President halfback Ryan Mendel extended the lead to 36-20 with a two-yard touchdown run at the 9:27 mark of the final period, the Wolverines pulled to within eight late in the game. Fullback Brandon McGlothlin (Freedom, Pa./Freedom) caught a swing pass from Mowrey and rambled 35 yards along the sideline into the end zone.

Mowrey then threw a two-point conversion pass to Dave DiDonato (South Fayette, Pa./South Fayette), bringing Grove City to within a touchdown. DiDonato caught eight passes for 142 yards, including a 60-yard touchdown reception in the second quarter that put Grove City on the board.

The Wolverines fell behind 19-0 less than 18 minutes into the game as Edwards completed a pair of touchdown passes while end Aaron Krepps also threw a touchdown pass to Mike Virgin.

However, Mowrey threw the first of his four touchdown passes with 12:04 left in the half, the 60-yarder to DiDonato on a slant pattern. DiDonato, whose 29 receptions this year are the most for a Grove City receiver since Tom Flenner caught 61 in 1995, broke several tackles and also received a key block downfield from senior split end Tim Flenner (Perry, Ohio/Perry).

Grove City out-gained the Presidents 450-295 and amassed 24 first downs. Grove City also forced three turnovers as strong safety Greg Grupp (Harmony, Pa./Slippery Rock) and cornerback Dan Roseum (Chesterland, Ohio/West Geauga) both intercepted passes. In addition to his fumble recovery, Choby had two sacks and 12 total tackles. 

Grupp added eight stops for the Wolverines while defensive end Mike Patterson (South Fayette, Pa./South Fayette) and strong safety Dan Solomon (Huron, Ohio/Huron) both had sacks. Grove City limited the Presidents, ranked No. 13 in this week's AFCA poll, to just 18 rushing yards on 34 attempts.

McGlothlin led the Wolverines with 50 yards rushing while halfback Adam Wargo (Champion, Ohio/Champion) ran for 46 yards on eight carries. 

Virgin tied a W&J record with 12 receptions, good for 186 yards. Edwards completed 19 of 33 passes for 245 yards. The game is the 1,000th in W&J history and the 601st win all-time. 

Grove City hosts Waynesburg (5-1, 2-0 PAC) next Saturday on Homecoming at Robert E. Thorn Field. 

Box Score

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