Saturday, September 27, 2014

Terriers cruise to 49-15 victory over DII Virginia-Wise

This evening at Gibbs Stadium, Wofford kicked off their final non-conference game before the advent of the SoCon schedule, one against the Division II UVA-Wise Highland Cavaliers.

Despite bevy of pass interference calls, Terriers come up big in first half

Ty Ryans and his Highland Cavaliers squad came out generally faltering with the pass, their greatest weapon, causing them to send Trent Martin out to punt after converting for a single first down.

During their first offensive series, the Terriers made the divisional gap evident as a 5-play, 81-yard drive powered by a fifteen-yard Ray Smith rush, and a pair of completions from Evan Jacks culminated in an impressive 44-yard breakout touchdown run from Octavius Harden.

Another welcome sight on the drive was the appearance of David Marvin, the redshirt freshman kicker who was out with an injury sustained in Wofford's season opener with Georgia Tech, on the point after attempt.

Despite some early promise in the Highland Cavaliers' next drive, the visitors were stymied near midfield, and forced to punt it away from their own 40 yard line.

Freshman Bryce Motes then came on the scene for the Terriers, as he caught a 43-yard pass from Evan Jacks, one that not only gave Wofford a 14-0 lead, but also served as his first collegiate reception.

On the ensuing drive for the Highland Cavaliers, Jaleel Green intercepted a pass tipped by a UVA-Wise defender, and returned it 40 yards for a much welcome sighta Terrier defensive score.

In six plays, UVA-Wise was again forced to punt, but Wofford's next possession did not last long. Evan Jacks' pass was picked off by Zack Blair, whose return of the interception was hampered by a personal foul penalty that occurred after the play was over.

The Highland Cavaliers began to take advantage of that Terrier miscue, and soon found themselves with a first-and-goal at the Wofford four yard line.

The Terrier defense would not be swayed, though, and came up with a huge stop, as UVA-Wise gave the up the ball on downs at the Terrier two yard line.

Wofford couldn't get anything going, unfortunately, and were forced to send out Brian Sanders for the first Terrier punt of the evening.

UVA-Wise's next series was stopped up in the red zone, and what followed was a quick 4-play, 31-yard drive for the Terriers that was capped by Octavius Harden's second touchdown run of the game, this one from four yards out.

The visiting squad then embarked on a long, pass-heavy drive that saw three different penalties—including one of the Terriers' five pass interference calls during the first half—and was capped by a 9-yard touchdown pass from Ty Ryans to James Cousins. UVA-Wise successfully rushed for the two-point conversion, bringing the score to 28-8 at the half.

Despite the score, Wofford has only outgained UVA-Wise by twenty yards (188-168), and both have their niche with either the pass attack (UVA-Wise) or the ground game (Wofford).

Hopefully, this contest will continue to see the Terriers churn out big plays on offense while defensively settling down and strengthening against the pass-heavy Cavalier offense.

Terriers pull away in the second half, win with relative ease

Following a mildly successful series, Wofford found themselves mired near midfield with a 28-8 lead. Evan Jacks kicked a pooch punt that went 24 yards to the UVA-Wise 21-yard line.

During their first drive of the half, the Highland Cavaliers used a pair of Ty Ryans to James Cousins connections (20 yards, 49 yards), to kickstart a 6-play, 79-yard drive that was completed by a 5-yard touchdown run by Javonte Latney that cut the Terrier lead to 28-15.

A 37-yard pass from Evan Jacks that was complete to tight end Zach Muller brought a welcome momentum shift, and three plays later, Lorenzo Long's score from two yards out helped the Terriers gain a sense of separation from the unyielding Cavaliers.

That sense of separation was further increased by Chris Armfield's 60-yard interception return, which he brought back to the UVA-Wise seven yard line.

Nick Colvin ran it in from nine yards out to put the Terriers ahead 42-15.

The Highland Cavaliers were then forced to punt it away, and on Wofford's next offensive series, the Terriers, led by Michael Weimer, converted for three first downs before giving up the ball on downs at the UVA-Wise 37 yard line.

Following another UVA-Wise punt, Michael Weimer capped off a 9-play, 75-yard drive with a six yard rushing touchdown.

The Terriers would stop the Cavaliers on their next possession, and run out the clock with Brandon Goodson in the quarterback spot, clinching a 49-15 victory.

Following the conclusion of the contest, Mike Ayers noted to the Wofford/IMG Sports Network that "the game we thought we were going to have we didn't have; it was a lot harder than we thought."

Here's a look at some additional points of interest:
  • Wofford outgained UVA-Wise in total offense 414 yards to 307 yards. For the Terriers, 267 were rushing yards and 147 were passing yards. They averaged 6.1 yards per rush (in 44 rushing attempts), and 10.5 yards per pass (they were 9-for-14 on the evening).
  • Evan Jacks was 7-for-10 tonight, passing for 134 yards (13.4 average) and a touchdown. Michael Weimer was 2-for-4 with 13 yards (3.3 average). Jacks only rushed for 11 yards, while Weimer logged 15 rushing yards. 
  • Octavius Harden rushed for 80 yards and a pair of touchdowns on four carries, leading the team. Ray Smith had five carries for 58 yards, while Nick Colvin, Michael Weimer, and Lorenzo Long all had a single rushing touchdown.
  • Bryce Motes, with his first ever collegiate reception and his only one of the game, led the team in reception yardage with 43 yards. Zach Muller had a much-needed catch for 37 yards, while Logan Christian notched three receptions for 29 yards. Wade Francis, Will Irwin, and Philemon Permis all had an additional reception.
  • Paul Nelson returned two punts for 12 yards (6.0 average), and Nick Colvin returned a kickoff for 21 yards.
  • On defense, Jaleel Green (40 yards, returned for touchdown), Chris Armfield (60 yards), and Brion Anderson (20 yards) all logged an interception tonight.
  • It was refreshing to see David Marvin, who was a perfect 7-for-7 on his extra point attempts. 
  • Wofford's lone turnover was Evan Jacks' interception thrown in the first half.
  • The Terriers were penalized 6 times, costing them 48 yards; UVA-Wise, on the other hand, was flagged for 10 penalties, costing them a whopping 108 yards.
  • UVA-Wise led the time of possession battle, 31:31 to 28:29.
  • The Highland Cavaliers made 22 first downs, while the Terriers only converted for 20. Wofford was 5-for-9 on third downs, and failed to convert in the only instance that they went for it on fourth down.
  • Wofford improves to 2-2 on the year, while the Highland Cavaliers drop to 0-4.
Next Saturday, the Terriers will enter SoCon play, as they welcome The Citadel Bulldogs (1-3) into Gibbs Stadium. Earlier today, the Bulldogs took down Wofford's opponent of last week, Gardner-Webb, 37-14.

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