Wofford blasts VMI football, 38-3

vmi_logo2The Wofford College Terriers scored the first 17 points of the game to take the lead for good, and went on to a 38-3 win over the VMI Keydets in Southern Conference football action Saturday at Gibbs Stadium in Spartanburg, S.C.

Wofford (5-3, 3-1 SoCon) finished the game with 374 yards on the ground and a 499-197 edge in total offense. The Keydets (1-8, 0-4) were led in defeat by Sam Patterson, who caught five passes for 58 yards, and Alex Keys, who posted a career-high 11 tackles.

The Terriers dominated time of possession holding the ball 36:18 that was also aided by 9 of 15 conversions on third down. The Keydets ran 24 fewer snaps that the Terriers and were held to 139 yards passing -the second lowest output of the year.

Wofford opened the game by marching 75 yards in 10 plays and was keyed by “B” back Lorenzo Long who rushed six times for 64 yards including a one-yard dive into the end zone on a fourth and goal. Long had a 38-yard burst to the VMI 21 and another third down conversion end run by slotback Will Gay successfully converted a third and 15 from the Terrier 20. David Marvin’s extra point was good and the hosts assumed a 7-0 lead with 9:23 left in the opener quarter.

Cobb was picked off by linebacker Drake Michaelson on VMI’s third play from scrimmage and the Keydet defense was back on the field with Wofford in possession at the VMI 18. The Keydets nearly got the ball back when Weimer coughed up the ball five yards deep in the backfield but Wofford lineman T.J. Chamberlin was able to pounce on the football at the VMI 19. On the next play, Weimer was able to convert a third and 11 scoring pass to wide out Will Irvin who made an over the shoulder snag at the VMI 5 before striding in the right corner of the end zone for his second touchdown reception of the year. Marvin tacked on the extra point to extend the lead to 14-0 with 7:21 remaining in the opening period.

Following a three and out by the Keydets on the next possession, VMI punted the ball away to the Wofford 22. Terrier slotback Octavius Harden ripped off a 41-yard run to the VMI 37 to threaten the red zone again, but on the next snap  freshman defensive back Greg Sanders picked off a Weimer pass in the end zone for his second interception in as many weeks.

The Keydets moved the ball to the Wofford 32 as the first quarter entered its final minutes, but had to punt away to the Wofford 3 following a well-executed effort by VMI punter Hayden Alford.

The Terriers then embarked on their longest drive of the day – 22 plays, 88 yards, and 12:02 consumed off the second quarter clock before settling for a 27-yard field goal by David Marvin which pushed the lead to 17-3 at the 5:08 mark of the first half.

VMI’s lone scoring drive of the day took place on the ensuing possession when sophomore Dillon Christopher converted a 41-yard field goal with 1:24 left in the second quarter. It was Christopher’s fourth successful field goal attempt and first since the Mercer game in week five of the season.

Wofford, sparked by a 40-yard pass play to Irwin at the VMI 27, was able to punch in a final TD with :01 left in the first half when Weimer reversed course on a scramble to the wide side of the field and dove in for the score on a third and goal from the VMI one yard line. Marvin’s extra point sent the teams to the locker room with a 17-3 Wofford lead.

VMI took opening possession in the third quarter for the first time this season but had to punt away to the Terrier 32. The Terriers then assembled an 11-play, 68 yard drive highlighted by Long who rushed seven times for 33 yards and punched in his second TD of the game with a two-yard dive at the 7:41 mark of the third quarter that extended Wofford’s lead to 31-3 with 7:41 left in the third quarter.

VMI’s deepest penetration into Wofford territory was on its next drive that wrapped around the final minutes of the third period and opening moments of the fourth quarter. The Keydets pounded the ball on the ground including seven straight rushes by Watts and moved the ball to the Wofford 6. On the opening play of the fourth quarter and facing a fourth and 2 from the Wofford 6, Cobb’s completed pass to Sam Patterson in the back of the end zone was ruled out of bounds – ending VMI’s best touchdown threat of the day.

The Terriers capped the scoring when reserve “B” back Chris Martin punched in a four-yard burst of the middle with 2:04 left in the game.

Long (125 yards, 2 TDs) and Harden (100 yards, 1 TD)  both hit the century mark in rushing yards while Weimer, making his second consecutive start at QB for Wofford, completed five of seven passes for 85 yards and a touchdown and rushed for 32 yards and a score.

VMI returns home to Foster Stadium next week to face SoCon rival Furman in the first meeting between the teams since 2002. Kickoff is 1:30 p.m. and the game will be carried by ESPN 3.

 

VMI HEAD COACH SPARKY WOODS –

“We got in a hole early and knew they would keep the ball. When they were able to keep it and then score, it made it tougher. I thought we had a stop early (first drive) but an illegal substitution penalty gave them another shot at it.  Credit Wofford, they have a good program. They don’t beat themselves and they find ways to get ahead and it makes those fourth down decisions to go for it pretty easy to make. It got out of hand real early and we were just never able to get it back in gear.”

“Looked like we did better today in special teams and it looked like we continued to play hard in the second half. However we didn’t get the short field and always had the long field. We couldn’t put enough plays together on offense to make it happen and after Wofford got the lead they just got back there in that two-deep coverage  and they were able to bring in a fourth linebacker and bring a four-man rush. They have a good defensive line.”

“We’ve got to get off the field on defense. We’ve got to find a way to stop them from converting third downs. On offense, we’ve got to stay in the game close enough to where we can run the ball and then be able to mix the run and pass and not be one dimensional. “

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