Home William & Mary crushes Gardner-Webb, 54-14, advances to FCS quarterfinals

William & Mary crushes Gardner-Webb, 54-14, advances to FCS quarterfinals

Chris Graham

William & Mary footballWilliam & Mary, the fifth seed in the 2022 FCS playoffs, rested and ready off a bye week, was dominant from start to finish in a 54-14 win over Gardner-Webb on Saturday.

Mike London’s Tribe will next face #4 seed Montana State, a 33-25 winner over Weber State, next week.

The win improves W&M to 11-1 on the season, tying a school record for wins in a season (2004 and 2009).

London took over in 2019 for Hall of Fame coach Jimmye Laycock, who had last led the Tribe to a playoff berth way back in 2015, and put up 5-6, 2-9 and 4-6 seasons in his last three years at the school before retiring in 2018.

London, who famously flamed out at Virginia, going 27-46 in six seasons, came on in 2019, leading W&M to a 5-7 record in his first season, a 1-2 mark in the limited spring season in 2021, then a 6-5 record last fall.

The 2022 Tribe has won eight straight since a 35-31 loss to Elon on Sept. 24, and is now set for the program’s first appearance in the FCS quarterfinals since 2009.

In Saturday’s win, William & Mary set school records for points, total yards (608), rushing yards (302) and forced turnovers (six) in a postseason game.

QB Darius Wilson was 14-of-24 for 240 yards and three TDs and ran for 89 yards.

The offense, which came into the game ranked third nationally in rushing yards, put up 306 yards on the ground.

“When it started, it just kind of never stopped,” London said. “That was fun, fun to watch. But what a long journey this has been. In the playoffs, you’ve got to be at your best. And we were at our best today.”

Chris Graham

Chris Graham

Chris Graham is the founder and editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1994 alum of the University of Virginia, Chris is the author and co-author of seven books, including Poverty of Imagination, a memoir published in 2019, and Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, and The Worst Wrestling Pay-Per-View Ever, published in 2018. For his commentaries on news, sports and politics, go to his YouTube page, or subscribe to his Street Knowledge podcast. Email Chris at [email protected].