Tuesday, June 7, 2016

In 2000, Wofford heated up in ice storm

Wofford's history against FBS opposition is rocky, dashed with a hint of heartbreak.

Since moving up to Div. I-AA in 1995, the Terriers are just 1-20 against upper division teams and have dropped seventeen straight such games since 2000.

In the 2000 season finale, Wofford accomplished what has eluded it for now fifteen years. And it came in conditions icier than the Terriers' dismal track record against FBS members.

The Terriers were scheduled to collide with a struggling La.-Monroe team, which had lost seven consecutive contests and were 1-9 entering the season's final weekend. Although Wofford's playoff hopes had been snapped a week earlier against Furman, players undoubtedly viewed the game as a good opportunity to score a win against an FBS team.

When the team arrived in Monroe, though, there was a fiercer foe that couldn't be prepared for in the film room -- the weather. "I remember getting off the plane and thinking I was in Alaska," said Thom Henson, color commentator for the Wofford IMG Sports Network. "[It was] so cold and blowing ice."

The storm was so miserable that no more than a few hundred spectators braved the trip to 20,000-seat Malone Stadium.

Despite the cold conditions, the Terriers turned up the heat.

Wofford, led by quarterback Travis Wilson, opened its option attack early, striking twice in the second quarter off rushes by Wilson and standout fullback Tony Hudson, who led the team with 82 rushing yards. "[The La.-Monroe] players didn't appear to have interest in being there and clearly had no idea how to stop the option," Henson said. "...The game never seemed to be in any doubt for us."

The Terrier lead was bolstered by a Darren Brown field goal and another Wilson touchdown run, while Wofford's defense did its job, allowing only a single score. Wofford prevailed over the Indians, 24-6.

Wofford had fallen to three FBS squads in the previous two seasons, including a two-point decision in 1998 to former SoCon power Marshall and an overtime loss in 1999 to La.-Lafayette, which like the Indians was at the time among the I-A independent ranks.

The victory over La.-Monroe also put head coach Mike Ayers in the school record book. It was triumph No. 78 of Ayers' career, making him the winningest skipper in program history.

Of course, even that could not be as memorable about a trip to Louisiana as the food.

"The highlight of the game was the press box meal," Henson said. "Red beans and rice with jalapeno cornbread.

"Still stands out to this day as one of the best press box meals ever."

No comments:

Post a Comment