PAINESVILLE, OH. (WFIE) -In their best offensive performance of the season, the Kentucky Wesleyan College football erased a first quarter 18-point deficit on Saturday but were unable to complete the comeback, falling to Lake Erie College 49-42 in their first Great Midwest Athletic Conference game of the season. The game was tied twice in the 4th quarter alone but the Panthers couldn't take the lead.
The Panthers quickly found themselves in a 14-0 deficit less than eight minutes into the game. Chris Mangold nailed a 44-yard field goal but the Storm held a 21-3 lead after the first frame.
Wesleyan bounced back with 21 points in the second quarter while holding the Storm to seven. Landan Newman punched in a 2-yard run while Chauncey Greer hauled in a 43-yard pass from Wiley Cain. That would shortly stand as Wesleyan's longest score of the day until the next drive. Cain connected with David Florence on a 70-yard pass to pull the Panthers within four at the half.
The first score of the second half came on a safety. The Storm took over at their own one after the Panthers turned the ball over on downs. Lake Erie reached the five yard line before the Panthers pounced on the running back for the two points.
The two teams traded touchdowns on the next two drives to keep it a two-point game. Cain connected with Peyton Peters for a four-yard score to close out the third quarter.
Wesleyan opened the fourth quarter with another safety, this time after Lake Erie snapped the ball over the punters head and into the end zone. The two points knotted the game at 35 with just over 11 minutes remaining.
A 32-yard run from Landan Newman put the Panthers on the one-yard line but they were unable to find the end zone. Mangold's 19-yard field goal attempt was blocked and returned 88-yards for a touchdown, giving Lake Erie a 42-35 lead with 6:33 left on the clock.
Lake Erie utilized 10 plays to storm 93-yards down field for a touchdown, taking a 49-42 lead. The Panthers got the ball back with 23 seconds left at their own 28-yard line. A pair of first downs put Wesleyan across midfield but they simply ran out of time.
Cain finished with a career-high 337-yards passing on 28 completions and three touchdowns. Florence led all receivers with 176-yards on nine catches for one touchdown. Johnson Jr. led the run game with 52-yards on 15 carries.
The Panthers recorded 473-yards of offense to Lake Erie's 327-yards. Wesleyan averaged 4.9-yards per play while missing five red zone chances.
Wesleyan remains on the road next week, travelling to Findlay, Ohio to take on the Oilers of the University of Findlay at 6 pm CT.