Kansas Wesleyan had the cards stacked against the Coyotes.
Seven turnovers, three different quarterbacks and penalties all were negatives on Saturday night.
It didn’t matter.
After trailing 35-14 in the third, Wesleyan roared back to stun McPherson 42-35 in overtime in front of a packed crowd for homecoming at the Graves Family Sports Complex.
McPherson was locked in early. The Bulldogs capped off a 13-play drive with a three-yard touchdown run by quarterback Ed Crouch. The Coyotes answered with back-to-back scoring drives. Sophomore running back Jerrod Ferguson scored on a six-yard plunge with 5:58 left in the first. Later, KWU safety Carlos Mendoza forced a fumble in McPherson territory. Two plays later, Ferguson sniffed out the end zone for a three-yard scamper.
Things went south from there. The Bulldogs had the next three scores. On a fourth-and-two, Crouch found tailback Tyrone Campbell for a 25-yard score. After an interception, McPherson turned to Campbell for a nine-yard rushing score, giving Mac a 21-14 advantage with 11:52 to go in the half. Kansas Wesleyan senior quarterback Kelly Cordova went down in the second frame, forcing in Chase Gempeler. He threw a pass that went to McPheron’s Tanner Williams and he took it 33 yards to the house for a TD.
After a 28-14 cushion at halftime, Crouch made KWU pay again, carrying the ball 19 yards to balloon the lead to 25-14 with 12:21 remaining in the third. Kansas Wesleyan calmed down and started to rally. Junior quarterback Wesley Geisler threw a three-yard TD pass to sophomore Demarco Prewitt on a fourth-and-goal at the three. On the next Coyote drive, Geisler scrambled left, but fumbled the ball in the end zone. Tight end Trenton Poe-Evans recovered to make it 35-28 McPherson with 10:22 left in the game.
Following a McPherson punt, Kansas Wesleyan marched down the field for an 8-play, 63-yard drive, concluding with a six-yard TD throw from Geisler to tight end Alex Kiriluk. That tied the score at 35-all with 4:23 to go in the game.
Once overtime hit, KWU scored on a 10-yard rush by Ferguson, his third of the night. McPherson received a scramble by Crouch for a first down, but it was called back because of a penalty. Wesleyan’s defense stiffened to hang on to the victory.
Despite six interceptions and one fumble, Kansas Wesleyan picked up the victory. Ferguson had 67 yards and three touchdowns on 16 rushes. He also picked up 52 receiving yards on five catches. Geisler settled in to go 14-of-22 passing for 191 yards and two scores.
Defensively, KWU held Crouch to 105 yards and two scores on the ground while he tossed for 97 yards and a touchdown. Linebacker Pierce Williams led the charge for KWU with nine tackles, a sack and two tackles for loss. Safety Zeriam Jackson had nine tackles as well.
KWU (4-2, 3-1) stays at home next Saturday for an early kickoff. The Coyotes face the Friends Falcons at 1:30 on FM 104.9.