College Football Roundup.... (2018-10-07 14:08:50)

Dugger's Historic Night Sends Bears Past Newberry

NEWBERRY, S.C. – Despite trailing 14-0 after 21 minutes of play, the Lenoir-Rhyne Football Team rallied to defeat Newberry 34-21 thanks to a pair of punt returns from Kyle Dugger. Dugger became the first player in program history to return two punts for a touchdown in a single game and his performance kept LR atop the league standings at 4-0. 

Final: Lenoir-Rhyne 34, Newberry 21
Records: Lenoir-Rhyne (5-1, 4-0 SAC), Newberry (3-3, 1-1 SAC)
Location: Setzler Field | Newberry, S.C.
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•   Dugger was the star of the game, returning a pair of punts for touchdowns to keep the Bears in the game. Trailing 14-7, Dugger took one 69 yards to even the score midway through the second quarter. After Newberry took a seven-point lead, Dugger ran one 64 yards to the house to start a 20-0 second half scoring run for the Bears.
•   The drive of the game came after Dugger's second TD return when Xzavion Huff capped a nine play, 80-yard drive with a seven-yard run. The Bears didn't attempt a single pass on the drive and only attempted four passes in the second half.
 •   Making his first career start against a top-10 defense in points allowed, Gunnar Anderson led the Bears to their fifth straight victory. The freshman went 8-for-16 for 88 yards and didn't turn the ball over to help LR to its first win over Newberry in three years.   
•   Ameen Stevens led a rushing attack that ran the ball a whopping 52 times for 250 yards on the day. Stevens ran 19 times for 84 yards and a touchdown and Huff added six carries for 32 yards to go with his TD.
•   Markell Castle kept Newberry in the game with his performance. The WR caught six balls for 193 yards and a score but was contained in the second half as Newberry struggled to find a rhythm in the final 30 minutes.
•    Dugger has had a handful of touchdown returns called back due to a penalty, but tonight his two returns held up, giving him four career punt returns for a touchdown in his career.
•    The Bears bring home the Bishops' Trophy with the victory. LR owns the all-time series 45-33-7 but had lost the last three straight matchups against the Wolves.
•   LR entered play ranked 16th in Division II in rushing yards. LR has rushed for multiple touchdowns in every game this season. In total, four different Bears have four rushing touchdowns on the season.
•    Dugger added seven tackles and a pass breakup to complete a terrific all-around effort.
•    This is LR's first five-game winning streak since winning 11 straight to open the 2014 season.

LR will host Limestone on Homecoming a week from today. Kickoff is scheduled for 2 p.m. at Moretz Stadium.


Early Turnovers Prove Costly in Road Loss at Samford, 66-28

Birmingham, Ala. – Three lost fumbles in the first quarter by Western Carolina aided a strong offensive output by Samford on Saturday afternoon as the Bulldogs claimed a 66-28 victory over the Catamounts at Seibert Stadium. Samford cashed in the early takeaways that came on three of WCU’s first four possessions for a decisive 35-0 first quarter lead in halting a four-game slide with the victory.

Samford’s Devlin Hodges – the SoCon preseason Offensive Player of the Year – set or tied six school records and a pair of SoCon benchmarks in the win. Hodges set or tied school records for passing yards (562), total yards (586), touchdown passes (6), touchdowns responsible for (7), completions (44) and consecutive games with a touchdown pass. He set SoCon records for passing yards (562) and total yards in a single-game (586).

Hodges spread the football around to 11 different receivers with two – Kelvin McKnight (8-for-138) and Jai’rus Creamer (9-for-101, TD) eclipsing the century mark. Hodges added 24 yards rushing despite a pair sacks and a rushing TD.

Ailing from the lingering effects of a chest injury suffered last week at Furman, WCU starting quarterback Tyrie Adams attempted to play on Saturday, guiding the offense on its first four possessions before being lifted in place of redshirt freshman backup Will Jones. The Greensboro, N.C., native threw for a career-high 210 yards and two touchdowns while adding 46 yards rushing and a score on the ground in the loss.

Adams finished 3-for-3 for a career-low 14 yards passing and rushed three times for a negative-9 yards on the ground before being lifted.

Samford (2-4, 1-2 SoCon) enjoyed short fields for three of its first-quarter scores thanks to the turnovers, posting drives of 24, 35, and 33 yards as a part of its opening barrage. Trailing by five scores after the opening 15 minutes, the Catamount offense got on track in the second quarter, outscoring Samford, 21-to-7, in the second stanza to close to within 21 points. It marked the second-straight week WCU had a 21-point deficit at intermission.

Jones converted the second career interception by Ty Harris into points with a 26-yard scoring romp to put WCU on the board early in the second quarter. The Bulldogs responded with its longest drive of the day with a 10-play scoring drive to push the margin to 42-7. A second Hodges’ interception set-up the Catamounts’ next score as A.J. Rogerstallied his first career pick at the 4:35 mark of the second quarter. Jones and the WCU offense marched 43 yards in six plays spurred by a 26-yard pass completion to tailback Corey Holloway to the one-yard line before the he finished-off the drive with a one-yard TD run.

A third, second-quarter pick by Hodges’ gave the Catamounts a chance to trim the deficit back to 21 before the break. Marvin Tillman jumped a rout on the near sideline for the INT, the seventh of his Catamount career. Jones connected with tight end Owen Cosenke who hit the right pylon for the score with under a minute to play before halftime to make it 42-21 at intermission. It was the fourth-straight game that Cosenke had recorded a receiving touchdown.

Western Carolina was unable to capitalize on the defensive stop out of the halftime locker room, keeping the margin at 21 until the second time the Bulldogs touched the football. Hodges connected on three-straight passes including a 68-yard pitch-and-run to Yassar El-Amin to push the margin to 49-21 and the Catamounts would get no closer.

Freshman Kenny Benton tallied the final TD for WCU with his first career score on the first play of the fourth quarter. Coming in motion across the formation, Benton took a forward under-hand pitch from Jones for the pass completion, scooting around the right edge for the three-yard touchdown reception. Samford closed scoring with a 40-yad Mitchell Fineran field goal and a 19-yard scoring run by DeMarcus Ware.

Senior Mitchell Chancey led three WCU defenders with double-digit tackles with 15 stops while Ty Harris (14) and Michael Murphy (12) also reaching double figures. It was the fifth-straight game that Chancey has reached double-digit tackles. Harris came up with his second career interception as a part of three picks for the Catamount defense, joined by Tillman and Rogers.

For the Bulldogs, Aaron Harris recorded a team-best 10 tackles including one for loss while Tre’Shun Floyd finished with a pair of interceptions as Samford recorded five takeaways with the three fumble recoveries.

Western Carolina (3-2, 1-2 SoCon) returns home to host the Chattanooga Mocs (4-2, 2-2 SoCon) next Saturday, Oct. 13 at E.J. Whitmire Stadium / Bob Waters Field with a 3:30 pm kickoff. Saturday’s game has been billed the “Celebrate 828 Game” with fans across Western North Carolina invited to the game. WCU will also celebrate the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI) with special tribal ticket prices in advance. On Saturday morning, WCU will induct its 29th class into its Athletics Hall of Fame including the 1969 football team and two former football student-athletes in Keith Elliott (1965-68) and Joe D’Alessandris (1972-76).


Post-Game Notes: Western Carolina at Samford

Courtesy Catamount Athletics

Samford 66, Western Carolina 28

Seibert Stadium

Birmingham, Ala. – Oct. 6, 2018

Att. – 3,178


With the Loss…

  • Western Carolina fell to 3-13 in the all-time series against Samford including a 2-9 mark since the Bulldogs joined the Southern Conference in 2008;
  • The Catamounts remained winless against Samford in Birmingham since 1969, suffering its eighth-straight defeat on the road in the series;

Post-Game Notes

  • Western Carolina fumbled on three of its first four offensive possessions on Saturday afternoon at Samford with the Bulldogs converting each into touchdowns;
  • WCU’s defense intercepted Samford QB Devlin Hodges three times on Saturday afternoon, the most INTs by the Catamounts since also picking off three last year against The Citadel (Nov. 4, 2017);
  • Seeing his most extensive action of the season, redshirt freshman QB Will Jones set career highs in most every offensive category … Jones finished 22-of-41 for 210 yards with two touchdown passes and a pair of interceptions … He also rushed a career-high eight times for 46 yards and scored his first career rushing TD … Jones was also credited with a reception on a would-be trick play by the offense, catching a throw-back from Jordan Mathis;
  • Redshirt senior RB Corey Holloway scored his 13th career rushing touchdown on Saturday afternoon … For Holloway, it was his first rushing TD since Oct. 28 against Furman last season … Sophomore WR Kenny Benton recorded his first career touchdown, taking a forward pitch from Will Jones in the backfield and scoring from three yards out early in the fourth quarter;
  • Sophomore TE Owen Cosenke hauled in a 21-yard touchdown reception in the final minute of the first half … the TD reception was his fifth of the season … Cosenke has caught TD passes in a team-best four-straight games;
  • Redshirt sophomore RB Donnavan Spencer recorded a career-long 49-yard rush on Saturday, the longest play from scrimmage for WCU in the road loss … Spencer’s previous career-long run was 46 yards earlier this season at Gardner-Webb;
  • WCU’s defense recorded two sacks on Saturday afternoon giving the squad 18 through five games on the year … the Catamounts finished last season with 21 total sacks in 12 games;
  • Senior LB Mitchell Chancey reached double-digit tackles for the fifth-straight game to start the season, finishing with a career-high 15 tackles to lead a trio of Catamounts in double-figures … Sophomore LB Ty Harris finished with his career-best 14 tackles in his first double-digit tackle performance while DB Michael Murphy was a third defender with a career-high in tackles with 14 total stops;
  • Redshirt senior punter Ian Berryman matched a career-high with 10 punts in Saturday’s loss at Samford, matching his previous high set at Tennessee back in 2015 … Berryman downed three of the 10 punts inside the Bulldogs’ 20-yard line … Of his 21 punts on the season, Berryman has downed eight inside the opposition’s 20-yard line.


Miscellaneous Notes

  • WCU’s game captains on Saturday were its season team captains: senior RB #7 Corey Holloway, senior DB #29 Marvin Tillman, senior OL #63 Zach Weeks, and senior P #83 Ian Berryman;
  • Western Carolina WR #86 Tyran Reynolds carried the American flag and DL #49 Nate Link carried the “All You Got” flag when the Catamounts took the field on Saturday;
  • Samford won the opening toss and elected to defer to the second half … WCU received the opening kickoff.


Post-Game Quotes: Western Carolina at Samford

Courtesy Catamount Athletics
Sat, October 06, 2018

Post-Game Quotes

Samford 66, Western Carolina 28

Seibert Stadium

Birmingham, Ala. – Saturday, Oct. 6, 2018

Att: 3,178


Western Carolina head coach Mark Speir

Opening Statement on the Catamount Sports Network:

“This was probably one of the poorest football games in my tenure. I am unbelievably disappointed in the way we coached. We couldn’t do things that even pop warner teams can do – we didn’t snap the ball (well), we couldn’t tackle. I’m not sure; this was not our team. I was thoroughly disappointed in our coaching; we don’t get the right guys on the field ends up with a substitution infraction after a timeout. We had poor snaps today, we turned the ball over today; we don’t tackle, we let them go over the top on us. We’re an inexperienced defense, but there are a lot of other inexperienced defenses and inexperience players in this country that don’t get beat like we did today. 

“Samford’s got a good football team; they’re an explosive team. But we did not get our football team prepared; probably the worst job since I’ve been here.”


“I just don’t think it was our best effort coaching and it was not our best effort playing. Again, we’re a young football team. You look out there and there’s three true freshmen in your secondary. We’re rolling a lot of inexperience players out there on defense. Offensively, we’re experienced and we’re turning the ball over, not making the right reads – we dropped balls that we haven’t this year. I don’t know what it was today. This wasn’t who we are and then it just seemed to get worse.” 

“We’ll go back and look at the film for our effort – but effort only gives you a chance, you’ve got to execute. Today was the most disappointing day in my seven years as far as executing and just playing sloppy, sloppy uninspired football.”


On looking ahead to Chattanooga next weekend:

“We’ve got fall break so we’re not in class. We’ve got to soul search about who we’re going to be as a football team.”