LEXINGTON, Va. – The Washington and Lee defense forced four turnovers and came up with a key stop on a two-point conversion attempt with 29 seconds remaining to preserve a 14-13 victory over Franklin & Marshall in the opening football game for both schools.
The Generals (1-0) broke a 7-7 tie with 4:16 left in the game when junior running back Austin Eisenhofer (Mooresville, N.C./Lake Norman) scored on a 23-yard touchdown run. Eisenhofer's run came three plays after an interception by W&L senior cornerback Mitchell Thompson (Memphis, Tenn./Memphis University School) that set the offense up on the F&M 29-yardline.
W&L received an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty following the PAT attempt and kicked off from its own 20-yardline. During a 10-yard return by the Diplomats (0-1), the Generals were whistled for a 15-yard facemask penalty and F&M began the drive on the W&L 46-yardline. Eight plays later, F&M senior quarterback E.J. Schneider (Barry Lakes, N.J./Delbarton) found junior wide receiver Paul McGann (Havertown, Pa./St. Joseph's Prep) with a 12-yard scoring strike on a fourth-and-six play to make it a 14-13 game with 29 seconds left. Following a time out, the Diplomats decided to go for two points. Schneider rolled to his right and passed back to his left but pressure by the Generals forced his pass to fall short of the goal line and his intended receiver.
The Diplomats then successfully recovered an onside kick on their own 48-yardline with 28 seconds remaining. However, Schneider was intercepted by W&L junior defensive back Brandon Taylor (Petersburg, Va./Dinwiddie) at the Generals' 19-yardline on the next play and W&L ran out the clock for the win.
F&M opened the scoring with 2:32 left in the first quarter when Schneider found McGann with a two-yard touchdown pass. The Generals knotted the game at 7-7 with 5:10 left in the second quarter as senior running back Luke Terna (Wheaton, Ill./Benet Academy) scored on a 30-yard touchdown run.
W&L limited the Diplomats to just 247 yards of total offense, including just 128 yards passing. Offensively, the Generals gained 301 total yards, 282 of which came on the ground.
Senior quarterback Nick Lombardo (Duluth, Ga./Peachtree Ridge) rushed for a team-high 86 yards on 23 carries and completed 3-of-8 passes for 19 yards and one interception. Terna rushed for 85 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries, while Eisenhofer tallied 61 yards a touchdown on 11 rushes. Defensively, senior safety Walter Ramsey (Atlanta, Ga./Westminster) led the way with nine tackles and an interception. Taylor posted eight tackles and one pick.
Schneider completed 20-of-30 passes for 128 yards and two touchdowns, but was intercepted three times. He also rushed five times for 21 yards. Junior running back Lamont Jackson (Philadelphia, Pa./Germantown Academy) totaled 78 yards on 16 carries, while senior wide receiver Tim Muller (Pound Ridge, N.Y./Fox Lane) caught five passes for 33 yards. McGann snared two passes for 14 yards and two scores. Senior linebacker Brendan Wengerter (Cresskill, N.J./Cresskill) paced the F&M defense with 13 tackles and one sack.
Washington and Lee now has a bye week before returning to action on September 21 for a 2:30 pm contest at Centre College.