WAYNE, NJ - On his first offensive possession in overtime, senior quarterback David James (Stamford, CT) found Will Daniels (Bethel, CT) open in the back right corner of the end zone, from 25 yards out, to lift the Western Connecticut State University football team to a come-from-behind overtime 12-9 victory over host William Paterson University on Saturday afternoon.
James completed 14-of-26 attempts for 160 yards against the Pioneers, and was under constant pressure from their defense. He was sacked three times and tossed a trio of interceptions during regulation.
"DJ really settled down in the second half and finally operated like he did last season," stated eighth-year WestConn head coach Joe Loth.
Daniels tallied a game-high 74 receiving yards on five catches in the opener of his second season.
WPU's William Oertel booted a 33-yard field goal in the host's first possession in the extra frame.
WestConn, 1-0, took a 3-0 lead when senior Jordan D'Onofrio (Orange, CT) nailed a 31-yard field goal to cap off the visitor's opening drive with 10:53 left in the first quarter.
With 3:04 remaining in the final stanza, D'Onofrio drilled a 33-yard field goal to get the Colonials even with the Pioneers, 6-6.
"It was a great job by Jordan (D'Onofrio) today, especially with the clutch kick to put us into overtime," added Loth.
The Pioneers, a former regular opponent of WestConn when both were in the New Jersey Athletic Conference, took a 6-3 lead when freshman running back Terrique Riddick plowed in from two yards out with 7:01 elapsed in the second half. Oertel's extra-point attempt was blocked by senior Derek Jones (Middltown, CT).
"Overall, the coaching staff is happy with a win, but we will need to learn from this game and continue to improve," said Loth.
George Crespo completed 17-of-21 attempts for 134 yards to lead the Pioneers' pass offense. Tracy Fudge converted 4-of-7 pass attempts for 39 yards, but both signal callers were kept out of the end zone on Saturday.
Defensively, the Colonials held William Paterson to 167 total yards, including negative 14 yards from the Pioneers' rushing game.
WestConn plays host to Dean College next Saturday, September 14 at 6 pm. Throughout the game at the Westside Athletic Complex, the 1969 football club, which was the impetus to the newly formed intercollegiate team in 1970, will be honored.