LEXINGTON, Va. – Washington & Lee escaped with a 14-13 victory over Franklin & Marshall in the 2013 season opener for both teams. A failed two-point conversation and an interception in the final 30 seconds proved to be the difference as the Diplomats dropped to 0-1 this season.
Trailing 14-7 with 4:07 left in the game, F&M started the drive on the W&L 46 and seven plays later faced a fourth-and-six on the 12-yardline with 35 seconds left in the game before E.J. Schneider fired a bullet to Paul McGann on the next play to bring the Diplomats within a point, 14-13.
Following a timeout, F&M decided to go for the win with a two-point conversation attempt. Schneider rolled right and passed back to his left on a tight end throw back, but the ball fell just short of the open receiver as two Generals applied pressure from the left and force Schneider to throw early.
F&M recovered the onside kick on the ensuing kickoff on their own 48 with 28 seconds left and one timeout. On the next play however, Schneider was intercepted by Brandon Taylor and secured the win for the Generals.
The Diplomats struck first with an 11-play, 67-yard drive on their first possession in the opening quarter. Schneider hooked up with McGann for a two-yard touchdown to cap off the drive with 2:32 left in the first. W&L made it 7-7 with 5:10 left in the second quarter with a 30-yard jaunt by Luke Terna.
F&M had a chance to go ahead early in the third when the Diplomats opened the second half with a 13-play, 67-yard drive that took nearly seven minutes off the clock. The Diplomats drove down to the W&L two and went for it on fourth down. Schneider rolled to his right and found an open McGann, but the ball slipped out of his hand, giving the ball back to the Generals.
W&L broke the 7-7 tie with 4:16 left to play in the fourth quarter off a 23-yard run from Austin Eisenhofer, which set up the dramatic finish.
Nick Lombardo led the Generals with a team-high 86 rushing yards on 23 carries and completed 3-of-8 passes for 19 yards. Terna added 85 yards on the ground while Eisenhofer fished with 61 yards for W&L.
F&M returns home next Saturday to host Muhlenberg in the Centennial Conference opener at 1:00 p.m.