PAINESVILLE – Urbana University’s backfield had a career day, leading the Blue Knights to a come-from-behind 33-30 win over Lake Erie on Saturday afternoon. UU improves to 2-4 on the season under first-year head coach Tyler Haines.
Senior Deonta Rudasill rushed for a career-high 110 yards on 15 carries and senior Cedric Presley scored three times, twice on the ground and once through the air, totaling 91 all-purpose yards to lead the way. Two of Presley’s touchdowns came in the fourth quarter.
Making his third career start, junior quarterback Eric Pelfrey looked like a veteran with a career-high 14 completions on 21 passing attempts and no turnovers. He also recorded his first multi-touchdown performance with two TD strikes through the air.
Wide receiver Trevon Saunders grabbed a season-high five catches for 40 yards and added 35 rushing yards on three carries.
It was a back-and-forth affair in the second half at Jack Britt Memorial Stadium, as the second meeting between the two schools witnessed three lead changes over the final 30 minutes of game action.
UU totaled 424 yards and did not turn the ball over for the first time all season. The Blue Knights were also efficient on third downs, going 6-for-11. It was a good response from Haines’ squad after producing minus-three yards of total offense the week before.
After trailing 16-14 at halftime, UU grabbed its first lead since Week 2 when it went ahead 21-16 with 5:35 left in the third quarter. However, Lake Erie quickly responded with a touchdown to go back up 23-21 near the end of the quarter.
UU would not go away though, and Presley put the Blue Knights ahead for good on a season-high 29-yard dash to the end zone with 11 minutes left.
Leading 26-21, the Blue Knight defense came up with a major stop on fourth and one, as Lake Erie opted to go for it near midfield. Senior linebacker and captain D’Gary Wallace led the wave of UU defenders on the defensive play of the game.
Wallace recorded 19 total tackles and fellow linebacker Kevin Chapple finished with 10 stops. Isaiah Turner had an outstanding game in the trenches, leading the Blue Knights with four tackles for loss (eight total tackles).
Tight end Larry Southall came up with a pair of big catches on the final touchdown drive, including a big grab for a third-down conversion with just over seven minutes left to keep the drive alive.
Presley gave UU its largest lead on a 2-yard plunge, making the score 33-23 Blue Knights with 4:02 to go.
The Storm went up 9-0 early on, but for the first time this season, UU scored in the second quarter with a pair of touchdowns on back-to-back possessions.
Pelfrey got the Blue Knights on the board with a two-yard scamper to make it 9-7 with 13:41 left in the first half. Then Lake Erie answered with a long drive that resulted in a short TD run to go ahead 16-7, but Pelfrey kept the UU offense ticking.
The junior led an efficient nine-play, 82-yard march down field, and capped the drive with a 24-yard TD pass to senior running back Presley. That score cut the deficit back to two by making the score 16-14.
The Storm threatened again at the end of the half with the ball at the UU one, but an outstanding push by the UU defensive front forced a Lake Erie fumble in the backfield and the Blue Knights recovered to avoid disaster.
Lake Erie seemed poised to score again on its first possession of the third quarter with a methodical 92-yard drive, but UU benefited again from a Storm fumble, this time with the ball bouncing out of the back of the end zone for a touchback.
Then it was Trevon Saunders time.
The sophomore wideout touched the ball three times on UU’s next drive. On his first touch, Saunders threw a 36-yard pass to Seth Morgan to put UU in Lake Erie territory. Two plays later, he rushed for 10 yards to the LEC 19 and eventually Saunders caught an eight-yard strike from Pelfrey to put UU up 21-16 with 5:35 in the third quarter.
Again, Lake Erie marched down the field on the next drive and this time the Urbana defense could not come up with a big play. The Storm erased UU’s lead with a four-yard TD rush and went ahead 23-21 with just over two minutes left in the third quarter.
The scoring trend continued as UU regained the lead with 11 minutes left in the game, 27-23.
UU has now outscored its opponents 45-30 in the fourth quarter this season.
Lake Erie added a touchdown with 43 seconds left, but it was little too late as the Blue Knights held on.
UU returns to conference play this Saturday with a matchup at West Virginia Wesleyan.