Wofford has made the trip to Boiling Springs, N.C., to take on the Gardner-Webb Runnin' Bulldogs. The Terriers hope to avenge a 3-0 loss last season, while also improving their record to 2-1. Unlike last year's game, which was played in a rainstorm, the weather is clear and the Terriers are ready to play some football.
Long, Jacks lead Terriers to 28-20 halftime lead
With the aid of Lucas Beatty's arm and the rushing combo of Juanne Blount and J.J. Hubbard, the latter of which returned Ben Bruggeworth's opening kickoff for 24 yards, the Runnin' Bulldogs drew first blood on a 10-play, 72-yard drive that ended with Blount's score from two yards out.
The Terriers unfailingly responded; after just five other plays from scrimmage, Evan Jacks traversed the field for 45 yards straight up the middle to even the score.
During Gardner-Webb's next offensive series, the Runnin' Bulldogs converted for three first downs, before the drive stalled near midfield. Dustin Holder's punt, despite a valiant effort to stop it by the GWU special teams coverage, went into the endzone for a touchback.
Wofford then grinded out the final four minutes of the first quarter in an 8-play, 80-yard drive that was completed by a Lorenzo Long touchdown on third and goal.
Following J.J. Hubbard's 36-yard kickoff return to the Bulldog 42-yard line, Gardner-Webb proceeded to march down the field in six plays - the last of which was a close call. Lucas Beatty threw the ball as he was falling towards the ground, a pass that was caught by Seth Cranfill, who was very close to goal-line as he was thrown backwards by a Terrier defender. Nevertheless, it was ruled a touchdown, and the Runnin' Bulldogs had effectively tied up the game at 14-14.
The sides then traded three-and-outs, the latter of which's punt gave Wofford the ball at their own 36-yard line. After a 6-yard rush, Lorenzo Long showed characteristics of the now-famous Ray Smith run at Georgia Tech, as he blasted up the middle for 58 yards and a 21-14 Terrier advantage.
Gardner-Webb would be forced to punt on their next series, and Wofford embarked on an 8-play, 42-yard drive that saw Chase Nelson's first-ever carry as a Terrier - a conversion on fourth-and-two - and five different Lorenzo Long rushing attempts. Evan Jacks launched a 28-yard strike to Wade Francis that put Wofford ahead 28-14 with 1:12 left before the half.
The Runnin' Bulldogs used up a little less than a minute of the clock on a 6-play, 52-yard drive that was capped off by a 3-yard touchdown pass from Beatty to Cranfill. Paul Schumacher's extra point kick hit and bounced off the upright, leaving Gardner-Webb with a 28-20 deficit.
Wofford used up the few remaining seconds with a 13-yard Lorenzo Long kickoff return and a 17-yard Jonny Martin rush.
Wofford finished the first half with 266 yards (204 rushing, 64 passing), while Gardner-Webb amassed 169 yards (38 rushing, 131 passing).
Travis Thomas and Chris Armfield were forced to leave the field a bit earlier than expected, while Will Irwin has been reported as out for the remainder of the game.
Disappointing second half, failed comeback attempt contribute to Terriers' demise
Wofford looked promising up until the end of their first drive of the second half, a 5-play span that was electrified with Lorenzo Long's 45-yard scamper and ended on a failed fourth-down conversion attempt.
On the ensuing series for the Runnin' Bulldogs, the Terriers were flagged for two penalties (encroachment, roughing the passer) as Gardner-Webb drove 77 yards in 8 plays to make it a two-point game on a 29-yard rushing touchdown for Tyrell Maxwell, and a failed two-point conversion.
It wasn't long until Gardner-Webb again found themselves in possession of the football, as Evan Jacks' pass was intercepted by Spencer Havird.
Although the Runnin' Bulldogs were faced with excellent field position following the turnover, Wofford's defense held, and Gardner-Webb was forced to settle for a field goal, a 22-yard kick from Paul Schumacher. With it, the home squad took the lead by one point.
Following a Terrier punt, Lucas Beatty punched it in from two yards out to make it a 36-28 game in favor of the Runnin' Bulldogs.
Wofford was forced three-and-out on their next series, and Gardner-Webb's ensuing 7-play drive was held up near the Terrier 37-yard line.
All hope was not yet lost for the Terriers, as a healthy combination of rushing and passing plays culminated into a 11-yard rushing touchdown by Evan Jacks that capped off an 11-play, 76-yard drive. Wofford tied up the game with Ray Smith's tumble into the endzone that equalized the scoreboard at 36.
Gardner-Webb took over at their own 41-yard line. Following four conversions for first downs, the Runnin' Bulldogs were mired between the Terrier 10 and 5-yard line, as they soon faced third down and goal. On that play, an incomplete pass that would have forced a fourth down, Wofford was flagged for an unmerited pass interference penalty that reset the downs and moved Gardner-Webb halfway closer to the goal-line. Beatty completed a 5-yard pass to Kenny Cook to give the Runnin' Bulldogs a 43-36 lead with a little under two minutes to go in the game.
Nick Colvin's 23-yard kickoff return marked the beginning of the Terriers' last chance. Three plays later, Wofford was faced with a fourth down and three. Evan Jacks connected with Wade Francis to keep the drive, and the Wofford's hopes alive. Following a bevy of incomplete passes, the Terriers had to brace themselves for a second fourth down play. Jacks' short pass to Francis wasn't enough this time.
Wofford fell at the hands of Gardner-Webb, 43-36.
Here's a look at some additional points of interest:
- The Terriers finished with 425 yards of total offense, 322 on the ground and 103 through the air. They outgained Gardner-Webb, who had 358 total yards of offense, with 232 passing yards and 126 rushing yards.
- Wofford logged 47 rushing attempts that averaged 6.9 yards per attempt.
- Gardner-Webb converted for 25 first downs, while Wofford converted for 18. Wofford was 7-for-15 on third downs (3-for-5 on fourth down conversions), and the Runnin' Bulldogs were 6-for-11 on third downs (they did not go for it on fourth down at all).
- The time of possession was much more closely contested than at the game last season, as Gardner-Webb held the edge, 30:22 to 29:38.
- Wofford was flagged for 10 penalties, costing them 91 yards. Gardner-Webb committed 6, only costing them 46 yards.
- Evan Jacks was 8-for-16 with 106 passing yards tonight, throwing both a touchdown pass and an interception, which was the only turnover committed by either squad. Jacks averaged 6.4 yards per pass. He racked up 97 yards on the ground (along with two rushing touchdowns), making this one of the rarer times that he gained more passing than rushing yards.
- Lorenzo Long continued to impress, as he logged 19 carries for 151 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
- Ray Smith (5 carries, 36 yards), Will Gay (2 carries, 31 yards), Jonny Martin (3 carries, 16 yards), and Chase Nelson (1 carry, 3 yards - first career carry) were the other members of the Terrier rushing corps to finish with a positive number of yards.
- Wade Francis was Jacks' favorite target tonight, as he caught 6 passes for 67 yards and a touchdown. He averaged 11.2 yards per reception.
- Will Irwin and Paul Nelson each had a reception.
- Michael Sarafianos was a perfect 4-for-4 on his extra point attempts, while Brian Sanders kicked 3 punts for 127 yards, giving him an average of 42.3 yards per punt. His long tonight was 52 yards.
- Will Irwin left the game with an injury, and Travis Thomas and Jaleel Green both left prior to halftime. No other information regarding injuries is available at the moment.
- Nick Colvin returned 5 kickoffs for 94 yards, and Lorenzo Long returned an additional 3 kickoffs for 38 yards.
- Wofford falls to 1-2 on the season, while Gardner-Webb advances to 2-2. Mike Ayers is 6-2 against Gardner-Webb on his career, and the Terriers are 16-8 (7-5 in Boiling Springs) against Gardner-Webb since 1972.
Next Saturday, Wofford will have Virginia-Wise to fall back onto, as this will be the Terriers' second game this season against a Division II opponent. The last time the two teams met, it ended heavily in Wofford's favor, as the Terriers notched a 47-14 in the first meeting between the two schools in 2011.