LEXINGTON, Va. - Drew Hutcheon dropped Washington & Lee quarterback Charlie Westfal just short of the goalline to snuff out the Generals two point conversion bid in the waning moments of Franklin & Marshall's season opener. Hutcheon's last stop of the day secured a 29-27 win for the Diplomats (1-0), giving F&M its first back-to-back wins over the Generals (0-1) in a half century.
Westfal had orchestrated Washington & Lee's longest drive of the afternoon on the Generals' final possession. He marched his team 82 yards in 1:21, finishing the drive with a 19-yard pass to Harrison Hudson in the endzone to give W&L a crack at tying it. The Generals opted for an option from the shotgun, and Westfal kept it himself, setting up Hutcheon's stop.
It was the second time the Diplomats' defense stood tall at a critical moment. On W&L's previous possession, F&M held on fourth and inches on their own 31. That short field was setup by John Harrison's lone miscue of the afternoon. He threw a midfield interception to David Sternlicht.
Harrison otherwise looked sharp on a record breaking day. The sophomore connected on 35 passes to put his name at the top of the record books for completions in a contest. The connections yielded 295 and three touchdowns. All of the touchdowns were pulled in by George Eager, who racked up 104 yards on 13 catches.
Eager became the first Diplomat to score twice in one game by the same means since the 2007 season finale when Ryan Murry rushed into the zone five times. He is also the first Diplomat to catch three touchdown passes in a game since he did it back on September 22, 2007 at Juniata. Eager is the 13th player to catch three touchdown passes in a game, tying F&M's record.
Harrison's first scoring strike came on the Diplomats' first possession. His 12-yard reception capped a 12-play, 76-yard drive. The Diplomats ran the lead out to 16-0 on a 23-yard Devin Hunter field goal followed by Eager's second score nine yards out, but F&M opened the door late in the second quarter with a special teams miscue. Return man Jarrell Diggs saw a short punt squirt off of his shin before the Generals' recovered at F&M's 29. Five plays later, W&L got on the board when Jonathan Clemo punched in from two-yards out, making it 16-7 with 6:50 to play in the first half.
The Diplomats gave W&L a short field on the next possession. With a fourth and 10 on its own 40, F&M opted for the fake punt. Brian Prater completed a pass to Michael Deutch for a pickup of five before he was dragged down. Seven plays and 44 yards later, Westfal called his own number, plunging in with 1:05 left in the half to make it 16-14, F&M.
Eager and Alan Williams combined for 33 yards on reverse on the ensuing kickoff return, leaving the Diplomats 57 yards from paydirt with 58 seconds on the clock. Harrison completed six of seven pass attempts, including a pair of 11 yard receptions on the drive, but it was Eager he found open in the endzone from nine yards out with 13 seconds left in the half. F&M carried a 23-14 lead into the locker room.
F&M possessed the ball for 12:05 of the third quarter, but failed to cash in. The Diplomats finally extended their lead to 29-14 early in the fourth quarter when John Kaschak plunged in from a yard out. Diggs set up the score with an 11 yard catch and run that landed inside of the W&L one.
W&L responded quickly with a scoring drive set up by John Kavanagh's 66-yard kickoff return. Westfal once again plunged in from a yard out with 9:07 remaining to make it 29-21. The Generals got the ball back twice more in the game. The first possession ended with the turnover on downs, while the second ended in the endzone and saw the two-point try fail.
Westfal completed eight of 20 passes for 113 yards and a touchdown. He threw four interceptions to four different Diplomats. Jeffrey Liberatore, Barry Lovett, Sam Massaro, and Ty Savastio were on the receiving end of Westfal's errant tosses. Massaro was the Diplomats' leading tackler eight stops. Savastio also broke up a pass that was destined for a touchdown in the second quarter. C.T. Marsh chimed in with F&M's lone sack of the day.
The Diplomats return to Lancaster for the home opener next week against Catholic. Kickoff is set for 1:00 p.m.