Saturday, October 25, 2014

Wofford disposes of returning SoCon member VMI on homecoming

The Terriers welcomed VMI, an opponent that hasn't met Wofford since 2005, into Gibbs Stadium this afternoon, as they look to build off of a nice win over Samford last week.

Terriers in control with 24-3 halftime lead

Although Wofford's first play from scrimmage, a strong 14-yard run for Will Gay, was called back on holding charges, that didn't stop the Terriers from quickly coming out in full rushing power, using a subsequent 15-yard Will Gay rush to spur a series of strong runs from Lorenzo Long, the largest of which was 38 yards, to set up a score from a single yard out. Long's touchdown capped off a 10-play, 75-yard drive that took over five minutes off the clock and put the Terriers ahead 7-0 early.

VMI's first series didn't last long before Al Cobb's pass was picked off and returned right up the middle by Drake Michaelson, who brought it back to the Keydet 18-yard line.

That turnover was quickly converted into Terrier points, as Michael Weimer lifted a nice 20-yard touchdown pass to Will Irwin, who himself made a great catch, just two plays later to extend the Wofford lead to 14-0.

After forcing a VMI three-and-out, Wofford looked poised to amass more points.

Octavius Harden broke things open quickly with a 41-yard scamper, but all the momentum that had been picked up by the Terriers was shattered and picked up by the Keydets, who picked off Weimer's pass in the end zone and began to find some rhythm in the passing game.

Nonetheless, after moving the ball 42 yards, VMI was again stymied and forced to punt it away.

Then Wofford embarked on one of the most strenuous possessions we've seen in a long time.

In a drive that began in the first quarter and didn't end until a lengthy twelve minutes later, the Terriers ran twenty-one plays, mainly short gains shared by Lorenzo Long, Will Gay, and Jonny Martin, and kept the series alive with plays like a 22-yard run for Harden, among similar rushes. However, the possession was also marred by penalties, and the Terriers were forced to settle for a 27-yard field goal from David Marvin.

One good thing that was confirmed from this long stretch of gameplay was the fact that methodical, time-consuming drives are back with the Terriers.

The Keydets came out with a drive of their own, stringing together many short completions from Cobb to traverse 62 yards of field in 12 plays, getting on the scoreboard with Dillon Christopher's 41-yard field goal.

Wofford wasn't done, though, and thanks to a 40-yard connection from Weimer to Will Irwin, the Terriers were able to set up a one-yard touchdown run for Weimer, capping off an 8-play, 77-yard drive that left only one second on the clock.

Although some momentum was damaged with the interception, and the Keydets were allowed to build up some of their own, the Terriers ended the half, dominated by the home team, on a strong note, and they look to continue a good performance into the second half.

Terriers complete a great game on homecoming Saturday, win 38-3

VMI obviously couldn't rekindle any spark they may have been building in the first half, as they, down 24-3, were forced a disappointing three-and-out on the second half's first possession.

Weimer connected with Will Irwin for fourteen yards, and Lorenzo Long and Will Gay's rushes helped power an 11-play, 68-yard drive that was capped off by Long's 2-yard rush. Effectively, this drive, and the failure of the ensuing one, took out any character and hope, while already slim, that the Keydets had left.

The Keydets used short rushes and a Terrier holding penalty to help drive 63 yards to the Wofford 6-yard line, where Al Cobb's throw on fourth-and-two fell incomplete.

Although Wofford converted for three first downs on their next series, which saw Brad Butler in at quarterback, the Terriers were stymied around their own 35-yard line, and Brian Sanders was brought on to punt for the very first time of the afternoon.

Said punt was traded back to the Terriers after the Wofford defense forced a three-and-out.

VMI's defense stopped up the Terriers on their next set of downs, forcing Sanders to punt after a net gain of eight yards on the drive.

The Keydets went backwards on the ensuing possession, and Hayden Alford was brought out to punt it away.

Wofford, led by Brandon Goodson and the rushing power of Chris Martin and Chase Nelson, drove 62 yards in nine plays, extending their lead to 38-3 on a four-yard Chris Martin run, which was his first collegiate touchdown.

Linebacker Lincoln Stewart ended VMI's afternoon with an interception and subsequent return for 33 yards.

Here's a look at some additional points of interest.
  • The Terriers ran 76 total plays, gaining 499 yards (374 rushing, 125 passing) and converting for 23 first downs.
  • Wofford was 9-for-15 on third-down conversions, and a perfect 3-for-3 on fourth-down conversions.
  • Wofford's lone turnover, the interception of Weimer's pass in the end zone, hurt Wofford's early power and momentum and allowed VMI to get into a rhythm--however, that ultimately didn't matter. 
  • There were a few times when the Terriers put the ball on the ground, whether it was on a bad pitch or a special-teams return. Thankfully, no fumbles were lost by Wofford in the contest.
  • Wofford was flagged for six penalties (74 yards), while VMI only committed two (5 yards).
  • Michael Weimer was 5-for-7, passing for a viable 85 yards and a touchdown. Brandon Goodson complete one pass for 24 yards, while Brad Bulter was 2-for-3 for only sixteen yards.
  • Lorenzo Long rushed for 125 yards (long of 38 yards) and two touchdowns on 19 carries, leading the squad. Octavius Harden went 100 yards (long of 41 yards) on seven carries. Will Gay gained 77 yards on his 13 carries, while both Weimer (32 yards, 9 carries) and Chris Martin (19 yards, 3 carries) punched in a rushing touchdown.
  • Will Irwin led the Terriers in receiving, catching four passes for 75 yards and a score. Hunter Windham brought in a late pass for 24 yards, while Wade Francis caught two for nineteen yards and Logan Christian caught a single pass for seven yards.
  • David Marvin was a perfect 5-for-5 on his extra point tries, and made his only field goal (27 yards). Brian Sanders punted twice, both in the fourth quarter, for a total of 82 yards (average of 41 yards).
  • Paul Nelson was the return man today for Wofford on kickoffs and punts.
  • The win was the program's 500th victory, dating back all the way to 1889.
  • Mike Ayers improved to 21-6 on Wofford homecoming games.
  • In June, this writer predicted the final score of this game as 35-7.
The injury-plagued Terriers are looking forward to a welcome bye week before taking on the SoCon-leading Chattanooga Mocs on Nov. 8th at Finley Stadium in Chattanooga. The Mocs take on Western Carolina next Saturday.

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