Wiegand Scores Four TDs; Presidents Breeze Past Bearcats 42-7
LATROBE, Pa. -- Senior running back Dion Wiegand (Pittsburgh, Pa./Keystone Oaks) scored four touchdowns and became the eighth Washington & Jefferson running back to rush for 1,000 yards in a season during the Presidents' 42-7 PAC football victory over Saint Vincent Saturday at Chuck Noll Field.
The Presidents (6-2, 5-1 PAC), who are idle next week, now control their own destiny for the program's 23rd conference title with the win and Bethany's 7-6 loss to Westminster. Home victories over Geneva and Waynesburg during the final two weeks of the season would clinch the PAC championship and NCAA automatic bid for the Presidents.
Wiegand rushed 17 times for 93 yards and three touchdowns, while catching two passes for 80 yards, including a 75-yard touchdown. He raised his season rushing yard total to 1,003, becoming just the eighth player in the 122-year history of W&J football to accomplish the feat. Wiegand also now has 21 touchdowns, the most by a President since Curt Jones '09 scored 25 times (12 games) during the 2008 season.
The Presidents' defense limited the Bearcats (0-7, 0-5 PAC) to 183 total yards and forced six punts during the opening 30 minutes. Following the second SVC punt, Wiegand capped a seven-play, 45-yard drive with a 1-yard scoring run.
W&J drove 85 yards (16 plays) on its first drive of the second quarter and senior quarterback Matt Bliss (Bethel Park, Pa./Bethel Park) fired a 19-yard touchdown pass to senior wide receiver Dan Lucas (Pittsburgh, Pa./Brentwood) on a 4th-and-14 play for a 14-0 lead midway through the second quarter.
Sophomore safety Dan Graziano (Pittsburgh, Pa./Mt. Lebanon) recovered a fumble on the first play after the ensuing kickoff and Wiegand capitalized four plays later with another 1-yard scoring jaunt and a 21-0 advantage.
After a quick Saint Vincent punt, Bliss threw a short pass to Wiegand, who raced 75 yards for a 28-0 lead with 4:26 left on the first-half clock.
The lead remained that way until the Presidents scored on their first possession of the second half. The scoring drive covered 73 yards in eight plays and Wiegand went over 1,000 yards for the season on his 15-yard touchdown run. Sophomore running back Ryan Ruffing (Pittsburgh, Pa./Thomas Jefferson) scored from seven yards out on the third play of the fourth quarter as the lead swelled to 42 points.
Saint Vincent ended the W&J shutout bid on Manuel Brown's touchdown run with 11 minutes remaining.
Bliss (19-of-27 accuracy) passed for 280 of the Presidents' 330 yards through the air. He is now fifth all-time in school history with 41 career scoring tosses. W&J amassed 534 total yards, including 62 rushing by Ruffing, and 30 first downs. Lucas caught eight passes for 93 yards to lead the receiving corps.
Defensively, the Presidents recorded four sacks, 1.5 of which were by junior defensive end Jon Lowery (Pittsburgh, Pa./North Allegheny). Junior linebacker Jared Pratt (Bethel Park, Pa./Bethel Park) had 10 tackles and a sack, while sophomore cornerback Dominic Gibson (Smock, Pa./Uniontown) notched his first career interception.
Andy Borgen completed 12-of-22 passes for 104 yards for the Bearcats, while Nick Revis posted a game-high 12 tackles.
W&J hosts Geneva on Nov. 9 at 7:00 pm at Cameron Stadium.