Pierson’s kick lifts Valparaiso over Indiana Wesleyan 20-17

VALPARAISO, Ind. (AP) — Freshman Dawson Pierson kicked a 50-yard field goal with 1:36 remaining and Valparaiso escaped with a 20-17 victory over NAIA-member Indiana Wesleyan in a season opener on Saturday.

Freshman Michael Appel Jr. connected with Solomon Davis for a 58-yard score to give Valparaiso a 10-3 lead early in the second quarter. Freshman Mason Kaplan ran 20 yards for a TD on his only carry of the first half and the Beacons led 17-3 at halftime.

Xander Stokes passed to freshman Markell Stephens-Peppers for a 72-yard score in the third quarter to get Indiana Wesleyan within 17-10. Daniel Weems, another freshman, scored on an 8-yard run following a 59-yard punt return by Justin Johnson to knot the score at 17-17.

Indiana Wesleyan beat Valparaiso 28-10 to open last season in the only other meeting between the schools.

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