D’Gary Wallace set a new program single-game record with 27 total tackles, but Urbana University (2-8, 1-8 MEC) was out-gunned by Notre Dame College (4-6, 4-5 MEC), 47-30, on Senior Day at UU Stadium on Saturday.
Wallace, who played in his final game at UU Stadium, recorded the highest number of tackles in a Division II game this season with 13 solo stops and 14 assisted tackles. He broke former Blue Knight standout Juan McKeever’s record of 24 tackles in 2011, while also setting the MEC standard for the third time this season.
UU’s all-time tackles leader raised his career total to 413, becoming the first Blue Knight to eclipse 400 career stops. He currently leads the MEC in tackles for the second straight year, and sat tied for third among all NCAA divisions in tackles per game (15.2) entering Saturday’s contest.
Wide receiver Trevon Saunders finished with over 200 all-purpose yards and tied his career high with seven receptions for the second straight week. He piled up 139 receiving yards, highlighted by a 74-yard connection with quarterback Eric Pelfrey on UU’s second drive, and he hauled in his team-leading sixth TD of the season in the fourth quarter – a 35-yard pass from third-string QB Tajuan Green.
Pelfrey (16-of-36, 230 yds, 1 pass TD, 1 rush TD, 3 Int) and Green (7-of-13, 95 yds, 2 TD) combined for 325 yards through the air.
Nine different Blue Knights caught a pass, while senior Karim Jones Jr. pulled down four catches for 67 yards, just one shy of his season high. Redshirt freshman Shemar Hooks caught one pass, but made it count on a 15-yard TD from Pelfrey in the first quarter.
UU eclipsed 400 yards for the third time this season with 412 total yards of offense. Cedric Presley led the rushing attack with 41 yards on 16 carries, and also caught three passes for 36 yards.
The Blue Knights came out strong and led by as many as 11 points in the first quarter, closing out the opening period with a 17-13 advantage. UU registered a pair of firsts in the quarter, including its first lead at home this season and the team’s first field goal of the year.
UU’s first lead came after Andre Cliff picked off a Falcon pass on the second play of the game, which led to a highlight-reel 32-yard TD run by UU quarterback Eric Pelfrey as he scrambled on a third-and-nine play.
After the teams traded a pair of TDs, UU kicker Ross Snodgrass attempted just the team’s second field-goal attempt of the year, and recorded the first made FG from 28-yards out to put the Blue Knights ahead 17-6 with 5:54 left in the quarter.
The Falcon offense didn’t stay quiet for long, as quarterback Malik Grove, the league-leader in total offense, helped the Falcons score 31 unanswered points to put the game out of reach 37-17 in the fourth quarter.
In his first Blue Knight appearance, Green made it interesting when he cut the NDC lead to 10 with a pair of fourth-quarter TD passes. The redshirt sophomore entered with 13:20 left in the game, following a Falcon interception return for a touchdown off Pelfrey, and connected with Saunders to make it 37-24.
NDC answered with a field goal to up 40-24, but Green marched UU right back down the field and eventually found senior WR Ron Roberts from 14 yards out. After a failed two-point attempt, UU trailed 40-30 with 4:22 remaining.
On the next drive, it seemed as if UU was in position to get the ball back when it called timeout with 3:02 remaining and NDC facing a 4th-and-five at UU’s 37.
However, Grove came out of the huddle and made a spectacular TD pass, just as he got hammered by a wave of UU defenders. That sealed it for the Falcons, as Grove finished 21-of-29 for 308 yards, five TDs and one interception.
UU will wrap up its first season under head coach Tyler Haines on Saturday with a road contest at No. 6 Shepherd.