Wilkes upped their overall record to 2-3 and moved to 2-0 in the conference. The Colonels, the defending MAC champions, have now won 18 straight games in conference play. FDU-Florham, who suffered their 17th straight loss to Wilkes, saw their records drop to 2-3 overall and 0-2 in the conference.
The Colonels were able to march into FDU-Florham territory on each of their first three offensive possessions only to see the Devils step up defensively and thwart the drives.
With the score 0-0 heading into the second quarter the Wilkes defense came up with a big play on the first play of the second stanza. Jason Acquaye stripped the ball free from FDU-Florham running back Adam LaValley, and the Colonels’ Jacob Roberts recovered at the Devils 15-yard line. Jamar Beverly would do the rest for Wilkes, picking up eight yards on his first run following the turnover, and then scampering seven yards for a score with 14:03 remaining in the period. The extra point by Mario Della Fortuna was off target and Wilkes led 6-0.
After forcing an FDU-Florham punt on their next possession, Wilkes took over on their own 49-yard line. Karaffa hit tight end Drew Letcavage for an 18-yard gain to advance the ball to the Devils 33. The Wilkes ground attack then took over. Beverly had four carries for 16 yards, Sean Madden added one run for seven yards, and Karaffa rumbled twice for 10 yards, including a five-yard TD jaunt with 8:45 showing on the clock. Della Fortuna tacked on the PAT and Wilkes had a 13-0 advantage.
The Colonels defense forced another punt on FDU-Florham’s next set of downs. Following the punt Wilkes would begin their final scoring drive of the half from their own 20.
Karaffa completed four-of-six passes during the 11-play drive, including a 34-yard strike to Jason Prushinski that placed the ball at the Devils 21. Six plays later, on a third-and-goal from the one, Karaffa called his own number and bulled his way into the endzone for his second TD run. Della Fortuna’s extra point extended the Wilkes lead to 20-0 at intermission.
Wilkes took the opening kickoff of the second half and Kevin Gerhart’s 25-yard return placed the ball at the Colonels’ 37-yard line. Alex Pearson rushed for three yards on first down before the Colonels turned to some trickery. Pearson took a handoff from Karaffa and then flipped the ball back to his signal-caller. Karaffa would then launch a pass that found Prushinski behind the Devils defense for a 60-yard touchdown just 52 seconds into the third quarter. The extra point by Della Fortuna made it 27-0.
Later in the third period the Colonels would put together a six play, 59-yard scoring drive. Karaffa was successful on all three of his pass attempts during the drive, including a 36-yard toss to Gil Flores with 3:55 left. The extra point by Della Fortuna was perfect and the lead grew to 34-0 after three quarters.
The next Wilkes scoring drive began late in the third under the direction of backup quarterback Jonathan Stroup. Stroup would lead the team on a eight play, 67-yard drive by connecting on two passes for 20 yards. Beverly also carried the ball three times for 24 yards before Zack Latourette came on to replace him. Latourette got the call on the final three plays of the drive, gaining 20 yards and scoring on a 13-yard sprint on the second play of the final quarter. Della Fortuna’s extra point gave the Colonels a 41-0 lead with 14:29 left.
The final Colonels touchdown came courtesy of the defense. On a second-and-13 play from the FDU-Florham 39, quarterback Louis Pietrangelo had his pass intercepted by Wilkes defensive back Ray Taylor. Taylor would weave his way down the field for a 54-yard touchdown return with 2:25 remaining. The extra point by Brett Feeger was no good and Wilkes had a 47-0 lead.
Karaffa finished the afternoon 15-of-23 through the air for 256 yards for the Colonels, who amassed a season-high 486 yards in total offense. Prushinski hauled in four passes for 131 yards, while Letcavage had four catches for 54 yards. Beverly had 57 rushing yards, Pearson finished with 47 yards running the ball, and Latourette had 46 yards rushing for Wilkes.
Starting quarterback Bill Winters hit on 15-of-26 passes for 132 yards for FDU-Florham. David Nemeth led the receivers with four catches for 41 yards. The Devils, who were limited to 178 yards in total offense, had only nine yards rushing in the game.
Kyle Follweiler finished with 10 tackles and a sack to pace the Wilkes defensive effort. Kevin Gerhart chipped in with six stops. Taylor had two interceptions and 120 yards in returns.
Derek Gregory had a game-high 11 tackles for FDU-florham. The Devils also got six tackles apiece from Jason Stopper and Robert Bailey.