The Iowa Wesleyan football team traveled to Crown College to play their final game of the 2016 season. Both teams entered the day with a 2-6 UMAC record and were fighting for seventh place in the conference standings. After a tough fought game, Iowa Wesleyan was able to come out on top with a 19-13 victory over the Storm.
The Tigers won the toss and deferred to the second half, allowing Crown to take receive the opening kickoff. Both teams played solid on defense throughout the first quarter. At the end of the period, the score was locked in a 0-0 tie.
Crown was the first to get on the board with a touchdown on the first possession of the second quarter. They capped an eight play drive with a nine yard completion to take a 7-0 lead over the Tigers. The lead did not last long as Iowa Wesleyan was able to answer on the next drive. The Tigers ran seven plays in their first possession of the second quarter, picking up four first downs along the way. Raul Alvarez (SR/Visalia, CA) put IW on the board with a seven yard rush, and Kyle Divelbiss (SO/Des Plaines, IL) tied the game with a successful extra point attempt. Iowa Wesleyan's defense came up with a big stop on the next Storm drive. Crown was threatening to score with a first and goal situation. The Tigers forced Crown to settle for a field goal, and Darryl Smith (SR/Florissant, MO) was able to block the attempt. Quintin Walters (SO/Chicago Heights, IL) recovered the ball and returned it for 38 yards. Unfortunately for IW, there was a penalty on the play and they started their next drive on their own ten yard line instead of their own 38 yard line. The Tigers offense picked up where they left off and drove 90 yards down the field to take the lead. Jeremy Gomez (SR/Dinuba, CA) put the Tigers ahead when he hauled in a 15 yard reception from Raul Alvarez. The extra point was unsuccessful, and Iowa Wesleyan held a 13-7 advantage over the Storm with 33 seconds remaining in the first half.
The third quarter began with both defenses forcing punts in the opening possessions of the quarter. The Storm evened the score with a touchdown on their second drive of the quarter. They ran four plays and covered 49 yards ending with a 23 yard completion. Iowa Wesleyan blocked the extra point to keep Crown from taking the lead, and with 7:39 remaining in the third period, the score was tied at 13-13. The score would remain tied at the end of the period as both teams failed to find the end zone in the remainder of the quarter.
After two empty drives, one by each team to start the fourth, Iowa Wesleyan was able to take over possession with 5:14 remaining in the game. The Tigers began the drive with a 46 yard reception by Tyree Thomas (FR/Round Rock, TX) to put IW on the Crown 20 yard line. Iowa Wesleyan was set up for a first and goal on the ten yard line when Raul Alvarez found Rodolfo Amezcua (JR/Greenfield, CA) in the end zone to break the tie. Crown blocked the extra point attempt, but the Tigers took a 19-13 lead with the touchdown. The IW defense shut down the Storm on their final drive of the game. Crown picked up one first down, but the Tigers did not allow them to gain any more ground. Jaiya Garcia (JR/Brentwood, CA) and Larry Torbert (FR/Opelika, Al) each came up with sacks for IW to put the Storm back where they started the drive, and they turned the ball over on downs. Iowa Wesleyan took over possession and took a knee twice to run out the clock and secure the 19-13 victory.
Raul Alvarez led the Tigers with three touchdowns, one on the ground and two through the air. He was 22-34 in pass attempts on the day and threw for 320 yards. Alvarez also led the Tiger ground game with ten rush attempts for 44 yards. Rodolfo Amezcua led the team in receiving with 8 catches for 118 yards and one touchdown. Gordon Tui (FR/Anchorage, AK) had a team high 17 tackles on defense for Iowa Wesleyan. Andrew Terrell-Rodriguez (SR/Jonesboro, GA) finished right behind him with 13 tackles, three solo and ten assisted.
The Tigers ended the season with several players in the top five of the UMAC statistical leader boards. Raul Alvarez led the UMAC with 190 completions for 2,223 total yards. He averaged 222.3 yards per game and finished the season with 19 passing touchdowns. Jeremy Gomez led the conference in receiving with 56 receptions for 910 yards. He hauled in 13 touchdowns this season and averaged 91.0 yards per game. Gomez also ranked fourth in scoring with the 13 touchdowns. On special teams, Iowa Wesleyan had two players in the top five. Trinton Robinson (SO/Bessemer, AL) ended the season in fourth with 18 kick returns for 388 total yards. Omar Funches (FR/Chicago, IL) was right behind him in fifth place with 12 returns for 252 yards, averaging 21.0 yards per kick return. Andrew Terrell-Rodriguez ranked fourth in tackles in the UMAC. He recorded 78 tackles, averaging 8.7 per game and also finished the season with five sacks. Darryl Smith was fifth in the UMAC with four interceptions on the season.
Iowa Wesleyan finished the season with an overall record of 3-7 and a UMAC record of 3-6.