PHILADELPHIA, Pa. – The Westminster College football team won, 33-6, over Utica College in the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) James Lynah Bowl on Saturday at historic Franklin Field on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania.
Dahl finished four-for-four in field goals (29, 25, 26, 41), while breaking the school record for most made field goals in a single season with his first successful kick. Dahl was one field goal away from eclipsing Rob Dancu’s school-record five made in a single game during the 1991 season.
Junior Paul Columbo (Boca Raton, FL / West Boca Raton Community) went 9 of 23 for 105 yards, a touchdown, and no interceptions, while surpassing Sean O’Shea (1991-94) third all-time for most career passing yards in school history with 4,992. Columbo added 17 carries for a game-high 121 yards on the ground and two touchdowns. Junior Dominique McKinley (Greensburg, PA / Greensburg-Salem) added 85 rushing yards.
Sophomore Bryson Paulinellie (DuBois, PA / Dubois Area) added a career-long 81-yard punt return for a touchdown, the third of his career.
Westminster (8-3) out-gained Utica (7-4) 350 yards (235 rushing, 115 passing) to 213 (65 rushing, 148 passing).
Senior Mac Quinn (Pittsburgh, PA / Northgate) led the Titan defense tying a season-high with a game-high 14 tackles. Junior CJ Armstrong (Lake Worth, FL / Park Vista) added nine tackles, including a game-high three tackles for a loss. Junior Todd Jeter (Monroeville, PA / Gateway) and senior Gator Phillips (Deland, FL / Deland) each had an interception.
The Titans scored first on its first drive of the game with a 29-yard field goal by Dahl capping off an 11-play, 42-yard drive with 10:34 to play.
Utica answered on its first possession, taking a 6-3 lead after Teddy VanGalen found Jerred Beniquez for a 32-yard touchdown pass with 6:07 on the clock. A two-point try by the Pioneers was unsuccessful.
Early in the second quarter, Utica’s 36-yard field goal attempt was blocked by Titan senior Bobby Noble (Greensburgh, PA / Greensburg Central Catholic).
The Titans regained the lead after Columbo scored his first touchdown of the game with a 22-yard run with 5:55 remaining in the second. After a Dahl extra point, Westminster led 10-6. On Westminster’s ensuing drive, Columbo extended the Titans’ lead to 16-6 with a 16-yard touchdown scamper. Dahl’s extra point brought Westminster’s lead to 17-6 with 37 seconds remaining.
Jeter picked off VanGalen’s pass on Utica’s first play on its ensuing possession at the Pioneers 41-yard line. The Titans took advantage of the turnover with a 25-yard field goal by Dahl as time expired and led 20-6 at halftime.
Paulinellie extended Westminster’s lead with a career-long 81-yard punt return for a touchdown with 3:08 remaining in the third quarter.
Dahl made his fourth field goal, this time from 41 yards out, with 7:39 to play in the fourth.
Today marked the Titans’ second-straight ECAC Bowl victory as they won 42-21 over St. John Fisher College in the same bowl last year, which marked Westminster’s first postseason victory since 1996.
The Titans, under third-year Head Coach Scott Benzel, have posted back-to-back winning seasons for the first time since 1996 (9-3)–1997 (9-2).