There's no place like home. Just ask Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz, or the Urbana University football team on Saturday. The Blue Knights dropped their second straight road game at West Virginia Wesleyan College as the Bobcats scored twice late to hold off the hard-charging Blue Knights 33-21.
Urbana is 3-0 at home this season, but 0-2 on the road against teams with just one combined win against teams not named Urbana. West Virginia Wesleyan won their second straight to improve to 2-3 on the year.
The Bobcats raced out to a 20-0 lead behind fifth-year senior quarterback Nate Montana, son of Hall of Famer Joe Montana. Montana led his Bobcats on five scoring drives before leaving late with a shoulder injury. He finished 27 for 56 passing with 341 yards and 3 TDs, but it took a big play by the Bobcat defense to ice the game late.
Urbana cut a 20-0 deficit to 20-14 on a pair of D.J. Mendenhall touchdown passes. His first found running back Jeffvon Gill from 37 yards out with about six minutes to go in the third quarter. Still in the third, Mendenhall hooked up with Nate Wilburn-Ogletree on Urbana's next possession to make it a one score game.
Urbana forced the Bobcats to punt on their next possession, giving the visitors the ball with a chance to take the lead early in the fourth quarter. Unfortunately for Urbana, that drive ended in a touchdown for the Bobcats. Mendenhall threw a pick-six to Wesleyan's Jermichael Kelly, who returned the interception 21 yards to give the home team a 26-14 advantage.
Montana marched the Bobcats 64 yards on 7 plays on their next drive to put the home team ahead 33-14. Urbana made it interesting on Mendenhall's third scoring strike of the afternoon, a 21-yard connection with Alvin Busbee, but another interception on their next possession halted the comeback attempt with Urbana trailing by 12 with two minutes left on the clock.
Mendenhall nearly matched Montana. He completed 27 of 46 passes for 285 yards and 3 TDs, but his career-high 3 interceptions proved costly. Gill tallied 70 yards on the ground and 31 through the air. Wilburn-Ogletree had a career-high 11 catches for 109 yards to lead the UU receiving corps, who was, again, without starter Joe Webb who sat out his second straight game with a leg injury.
Defensively, the Blue Knights were led by David McComas. McComas had 6 stops, a sack and an interception. Perry Jenkins added 5 tackles and a sack, and Jalen Crosby led all Blue Knights with 7 tackles.
Next week, Urbana returns to its conference schedule, traveling to Kentucky Wesleyan College. The Blue Knights hope to snap their two-game road losing streak against a Panther squad that has never defeated Urbana. Kickoff is set for 1:00 p.m. central time.