Stony Brook Wins Big South Football Championship
STONY BROOK 41, LIBERTY 31 | GAME STATS
Stony Brook's football team finally can lay claim to an outright Big South Championship as the Seawolves upended Liberty, 41-31, at Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium on Saturday. The victory gives Stony Brook the Big South's automatic bid to the FCS Playoffs for the first time in school history.
Stony Brook, which won its eighth-straight game, ties a program record with its eighth win of the season, set in 2002 (8-2). The Seawolves will have their postseason fate decided Sunday at 10 a.m., with the NCAA FCS Selection Show on ESPNU.
Stony Brook (8-3, 6-0) was helped by the powerful 1-2 punch of junior Miguel Maysonet and senior Brock Jackolski. Maysonet rushed for 158 yards and a touchdown, and Jackolski added 121 yards and a score.
Jackolski caught a 14-yard touchdown, his second of the year, in the third quarter as he's tied with Maysonet for the team lead in touchdowns.
Jackolski, who totaled 242 all-purpose yards, is in the top 25 all-time in FCS history with 6,007 all-purpose yards for an average of 136.5 per game.
Maysonet has 1,485 yards for the season, 16 shy of the Big South record for rushing yards in a season, held by former Liberty and current Jacksonville Jaguar Rashad Jennings, and 15 touchdowns. Jackolski has totaled 1,229 yards and 13 rushing touchdowns.
Junior Kyle Essington completed 14 of 20 passes for 250 yards and three touchdowns. He threw touchdown passes of 26, 49 and 14 yards. Since taking over as the starting quarterback against Presbyterian on October 8, Essington is 84 of 127 (66.1) for 1,371 yards and 15 touchdowns against just one interception. He's also rushed for three scores.
Stony Brook scored more than 40 points for a seventh straight game. It has scored 436 points this season for an average of 39.6 points per game, which leads FCS. The Seawolves' rushing attack, which gained 287 yards today, ranks fourth in FCS (287.4 ypg). Liberty came into the game averaging 161 yards on the ground. Stony Brook held the Flames to 101 yards.
Three of Stony Brook's five touchdowns came on drives of five plays or less.
Stony Brook was able to overcome a solid performance from Liberty quarterback Mike Brown. The senior quarterback, who rushed for two touchdowns, passed for 361 yards, 287 in the first half, but only one touchdown. Chris Summers caught 10 passes for a Big South single-game record 240 yards.
But the Stony Brook defense was up to the task. Junior Dominick Reyes made one of the biggest plays of the game in the fourth quarter. On Liberty's second-to-last drive, Reyes hit Brown, forcing a fumble and then recovering it. Sophomore Grant Nakwaasah also forced a fumble by Brown.
Junior Craig Richardson stalled a red-zone drive from Liberty in the first quarter. The Flames had first and goal from the nine. Two plays later, Richardson intercepted Brown at the two. Essington then found junior Chris Fenelon for a 39-yard bootleg play, and Jackolski scored on a 39-yard run as Stony Brook scored in just 34 seconds.
Maysonet's one-yard touchdown gave Stony Brook a 38-31 lead with 9:39 left in the game. Junior Wesley Skiffington, who made all five PATs and two field goals, kicked an 18-yard field goal to make it a two score game with 4:57 left.
Senior Al-Majid Hutchins led Stony Brook with 11 tackles.
VMI 31, GARDNER-WEBB 24 | GAME STATS
Surviving a late charge by the Gardner-Webb Runnin' Bulldogs, the VMI Keydets pulled out their second win of the 2011 season, 31-24, over the Bulldogs on Saturday afternoon at Foster Stadium in Lexington.
The victory marked VMI's first-ever win over Gardner-Webb, who was 8-0 against the Keydets coming into Foster Stadium. Two Bulldog touchdowns in the middle of the fourth quarter kept things interesting, in a game the Keydets led 31-10 with five minutes to go in the contest, which was the Keydets' final action of the season. Byron Allen, however, picked off a Jordan Paul pass in the closing moments to secure the victory.
VMI quarterback Eric Kordenbrock capped his sophomore campaign with a solid outing, completing 24 of his 38 pass attempts for 278 yards and three touchdowns. His favorite target of the day was Aaron Lewis, who reeled in eight catches for a career-high 138 yards, including an 83-yard bomb, setting up a touchdown.
Defensively, senior A.J. Gross had 12 tackles, moving him into eighth on the all-time school list, while he wrapped up his career ranked third in the Big South in that category with 353 career stops.
Opposite Kordenbrock, Bulldog quarterback Chandler Browning threw for 150 yards, completing 13 of his 19 passes. Lyndon Leslie caught seven of those passes for 61 yards. The Bulldogs utilized their running game as Kenny Little scampered for 142 yards on 29 attempts, one of which was for a touchdown. Little also caught a pair of passes for 20 yards in the game. GWU rushed for 172 yards in the game.
Little finishes the season with 1,042 yards on 200 carries (5.2 ypc) and seven scores, and is the first Gardner-Webb back to top the 1,000-yard mark since Justin Richardson gained 1,110 yards in 2000. Little, a redshirt junior, is the seventh GWU back to top 1,000 yards in a season.
Marty Patterson had 11 total tackles, 3.0 tackles for loss and a sack - finishing with 102 total stops for the season, his second season with at least 100 total tackles.
The Keydets struck first on their first drive of the game, capping a 61-yard drive in just 2:06. The drive needed just five plays to reach pay dirt, as Kordenbrock threw three times, completing all his attempts for 43 yards. Running back T.J. Talley joined in the action, gaining 18 yards on two carries. Talley's first run of the day was for 12 yards and scampered for another six and the touchdown.
VMI extended its lead to 10-0 at the halfway mark of the first quarter after the defense forced the Runnin' Bulldogs to punt. Gardner-Webb punter Graham Purvis booted it 32 yards, but the Keydets got excellent field position on a 16-yard return from James Fruehan to the Bulldogs' 28-yard line.
Kordenbrock scrambled to his right before hitting Tracy Hairston on a six-yard pass. The Keydet drive stalled on the Gardner-Webb two yard line before Jeff Sexton punched a 19-yard field goal in for the 10-point lead.
Special teams once again gave the offensive unit great starting position after blocking a punt, setting up Kordenbrock on the Bulldogs' 24-yard line. The sophomore gunslinger continued to throw at a torrid pace, leading the Keydets down the field for their second touchdown of the day.
Kordenbrock connected his 11th pass of the afternoon, on just 12 attempts, finding Dexter Bridge wide open in the endzone. The 17 points marked the highest scoring quarter for VMI this season.
VMI's defense came to play, holding the Bulldogs to just 18 yards of total offense, dropping Gardner-Webb for negative rushing yards in the first stanza. On the offensive side, the Keydets piled up 122 yards, 103 of which were through the air.
Gardner-Webb came out running to start the second quarter, covering 52 yards from its own 47 yard line in the opening minutes of the second quarter. But on third and one, the VMI defense made an enormous stop, forcing the Bulldogs to kick a field goal. Trever Austin hit the field goal for Gardner-Webb's first points of the day, but VMI still held a 17-3 advantage. The Bulldogs chewed up 4:30 on the clock while covering 67 yards for their points.
After the two teams traded punts in the middle of the second quarter, Gardner-Webb mounted another drive, this time reaching the end zone. The Bulldogs capped an 11-play, 71 yard drive to make it a one-score game, 17-10 in favor of the Keydets. Little punched in a six-yard run for the Bulldogs' first touchdown of the afternoon.
With less than three minutes left to go in the first half, the Keydets got an electrifying play from Kordenbrock, who hit Lewis in the flats, but Lewis continu ed down the field for an 83-yard catch, VMI's longest play of the season. The Keydets' two longest plays of the season have both involved Lewis, who caught an 81-yard pass against Stony Brook. The 83-yard hook up between Kordenbrock and Lewis was the seventh-longest play in school history.
On the ensuing play, the Keydets extended their lead to 24-10 as redshirt freshman tight end Conner Mays caught his first career touchdown pass with one minute to go in the first half. VMI's defense did not allow any kind of drive to round out the second quarter as the Keydets' lead held up going into the break.
The Keydets were an offensive juggernaut in the first 30 minutes, collecting 232 yards on offense on just 27 plays, averaging well over eight yards per play. Kordenbrock was nearly automatic, connecting 15 of his 20 passes for 202 yards. The Keydets went four-for-four in the red zone, collecting three touchdowns and a field goal.
Gardner-Webb overcame a slow start in the first half, picking up 175 yards, 111 of which came on the ground, led by Little's 96 first half yards. Browning went six-for-eight in the opening half, passing for 58 yards, but was sacked twice.
Neither offense could gain traction in the third quarter, swapping punts for a majority of the period. But with four minutes to go in the third stanza, the Bulldogs were halted on a fourth and four on the Keydet 49 yard line. Browning was looking for Lyndon Leslie, but the Keydet secondary had him covered and forced the turnover on downs.
Both teams could not find pay dirt in the third quarter as the Keydets clung to a 24-10 lead heading into the final act of the game.
In the middle of the fourth quarter, the Keydet offense put together the first sustained drive of the second half, benefiting from an illegal substitution call against Gardner-Webb on a fourth-and-four situation with VMI set to punt. The Keydets marched 80 yards down the field, chewing up nearly six minutes of clock before Kordenbrock hit Lewis for his second touchdown of the afternoon, putting VMI up 31-10.
The Bulldogs, down but not out, answered back on the kickoff as J.J. Hubbard ran back a 79-yard touchdown, making it a two-score game with just over five minutes left, VMI ahead 31-17.
Gardner-Webb, forced to take a risk, opted for an onsides kick after the touchdown. But the gamble paid off for the Bulldogs as cornerback Donald Buie III recovered the kick, setting up the offense on the Gardner-Webb 44.
The Bulldogs pulled within one touchdown of the Keydets as Paul punched in a one-yard run. The Bulldogs moved 56 yards down the field on seven plays and enjoyed a fresh set of downs after VMI was called for pass interference.
For a second-straight kickoff, Gardner-Webb went for the onsides kick, but on the second try, VMI recovered the kick after the ball bounced first off a Gardner-Webb player and final pulled out of the pile by the Keydets' Miguel Marshall.
The Bulldog defense held strong on a Keydet third-and-nine, forcing VMI to punt the ball away with 2:25 left in the game. Cameron Murray got a good foot on it, pinning Gardner-Webb down on its own 13 yard line. After GWU was able to convert on a fourth down, thanks to a penalty, Paul threw three straight incompletions, setting up another fourth down. This one went to the quarterback's left, but Allen stepped in front of it for the pick, securing the VMI triumph.
In addition to Lewis, Hairston had six catches for 79 yards, while Talley led the Keydets on the ground with 45 yards rushing. Allen had 11 tackles, while Greg Walker chipped in with nine.
Both teams' seasons are complete. The Big South All-Conference Team will be announced on Tuesday afternoon.
PRESBYTERIAN COLLEGE 45, CHARLESTON SOUTHERN 14 | GAME STATS
The Presbyterian College football team capped its 2011 season by giving its seniors a season finale to remember on Saturday, cruising to a 45-14 win over visiting Charleston Southern on Senior Day.
PC ends the year at 4-7 overall and 3-3 in Big South Conference action, marking the best record since 2008 and the best Big South Conference record in program history. The result also gives the Blue Hose their first back-to-back wins since the 2008 season. Charleston Southern ends its year at 0-11 and 0-6 in League play.
A season-high 45 points and 516 yards of total offense helped PC to victory. The Blue Hose took a lead on their opening series and never looked back, building on a 24-7 lead at halftime for a 45-14 win.
Junior running back Lance Byrd led all rushers with 18 attempts for 133 yards on the ground and a touchdown. The day moved him to 910 rushing yards on the season and put him 51 yards shy of hitting the 2,000-yard mark for his career. Seth Moreland also ran for a touchdown as well, going for 48 yards. The Blue Hose end the season with 1,932 rushing yards, the highest mark in the Division I era.
Sophomore quarterback Ryan Singer racked up 212 yards passing and two touchdowns by going 12-for-20 through the air. He also picked up a rushing touchdown. Senior quarterback Brandon Miley completed both of his two passes on the day for 79 yards.
Two PC receivers went over 100 yards on the day as Michael Ruff caught five passes for 116 yards and Jeremiah McKie hauled in four passes for a career-high 116 yards as well. The feat marked the first time any Blue Hose receiver cracked the 100-yard barrier since Ruff tallied 122 yards in last year's season opener against Wake Forest.
Defensively, Donnelle Williams led PC with six solo tackles and four assists for 10 total. Derren Evans also contributed seven solo stops and an assist while Xavier Boatwright and Josh Polk each brought down a Charleston Southern quarterback for a sack.
Justin Bethel ended his PC career with three solo tackles to extend his Big South Conference record to 199 in his four years. He also intercepted his seventh career pass and fourth of the season. Matthan Burton registered five tackles and an interception as well.
Antarius Terrell returned an interception for his second touchdown.
Charleston Southern quarterback Malcolm Dixon led the team in passing with 79 yards on four completions. Keelyan Bryant led the team on the ground with 49 yards. Running back Teddy Allen threw for a touchdown and ran for one.
PC put the Buccaneers in a hole early, finding the end zone on its first drive. Ruff and Byrd set up a Miley pass that hit McKie for a 44-yard completion that put the Blue Hose one yard away from paydirt. Byrd cashed in from there and PC led 4:14 into the game, 7-0.
Byrd punished the Buccaneer defense the next time he touched the ball, streaking for a 68-yard run on the first play of PC's next possession. Two plays later, Singer ran in for a three-yard touchdown to extend PC's lead to 14-0 with 4:47 left in the first.
Charleston Southern cut the lead in half on their next series. A 21-yard pass to Chase Jones and a 52-yard completion to Carson Leshin put Teddy Allen in position to punch it in from two yards to make it 14-7 heading into the second quarter.
PC took three points back early in the second quarter on a 37-yard Aaron Mayes field goal following a Bryan Shepherd fumble recovery deep in Buccaneer territory.
The Blue Hose forced a punt and made quick work of its next possession. On PC's second play of the drive, Singer connected with Ruff over the middle out of play action and the redshirt junior outran the defense on his way to a 65-yard touchdown completion. The score gave PC a 17-point lead it would take into halftime, 24-7.
PC wasted little time scoring after halftime, taking two plays again to strike paydirt. After a three-yard completion to Byrd, Singer threw a long pass to McKie and the freshman refused to go down, carrying two Charleston Southern tacklers into the end zone to give PC a 31-7 lead early in the third quarter.
The Buccaneers answered with a six-play, 86-yard drive that ended with Allen's 34-yard pass to Corvaughn Archie. The score moved Charleston Southern back within 17 with 3:45 left in the third, 31-14.
Each side swapped possessions but the PC defense would give the Blue Hose their next score. After PC turned the ball over on downs on the Charleston Southern six-yard line, Terrell picked off a Richard Mounce second-down pass and ran it back 15 yards for his second career touchdown. The points extended PC's lead to 38-14 midway through the final period.
PC's defense held the Buccaneers scoreless in the final quarter and the Blue Hose tacked on one more touchdown in the final minute. A six-play, 73 yard drive ended with Moreland scampering for 16 yards to give PC a 45-14 lead that would stand as the final score.
COASTAL CAROLINA 45, WESTERN CAROLINA 21 | GAME STATS
Coastal Carolina rushed for a season-high 279 yards and tied a single-game school record with seven sacks as the Chanticleers closed the 2011 season with a 45-21 win over Western Carolina Saturday afternoon at E.J. Whitmire Stadium.
Coastal Carolina, who had 492 yards of total offense compared to 261 by Western, closes the season with three consecutive wins and posting a 7-4 record, its most wins since going 9-3 in 2006.
Travis Small led the Chants with a career-high 109 rushing yards on 18 attempts (6.1 average), while Marcus Whitener chipped in 65 yards on just nine carries (7.2 average). CCU quarterback Aramis Hillary closed the season by completing 15-of-25 passes for 213 and three scores with an interception. Defensively, senior Dexter Holman made several key plays, including a tackle for loss, a half sack, a fumble recovery, a quarterback hurry and a blocked field goal.
Coastal took the opening drive and got into scoring position, but a sack forced the Chants out of field goal range and the team was unable to convert a fourth and 18. Western responded with a drive deep into Coastal territory, but Holman blocked a field goal attempt.
Coastal would take advantage. After Moon Edwards returned the blocked field goal to the Coastal 39, Hillary hit Chris Presley twice and Mike Limoli once while taking advantage of two Western Carolina offsides penalties to reach the WCU 15. On third and six, senior Jamie Childers got behind the defense and caught a Hillary pass for a 15-yard score.
The Chants increased their lead to 10-0 on their next possession as Grant Clayton capped an 11-play, 69-yard drive with a 26-yard field goal.
Western Carolina answered right back with a three-play, 75-yard drive to make the score 10-7. On the first play, the Catamounts ran a double-reverse as quarterback Brandon Pechloff hit Michael Vaughn for a 43-yard pass. Two plays later, Pechloff found George Richardson in the endzone for a 16-yard score.
The Catamounts would try on onside kick, but Tyler McCarthy recovered the ball. The offense would be forced to punt. However, on WCU's first play, senior Josh Norman forced a fumble, which Holman recovered. Starting on the WCU 27, Hillary would cap an eight-play drive with a three-yard TD run for a 17-7 CCU lead.
The teams traded punts and Coastal's Austin Cain had his punt downed inside the one yard line. Two plays later, Jeffery Salley pressured Pechloff in the Catamount endzone, forcing an under-hand pass. Coastal's Johnnie Houston was there to intercept the pass and he returned it three yards for a pick six for a 24-7 Chanticleer lead.
Western Carolina kept battling as the first half drew to a close. After a first down to get near midfield, Pechloff launched a pass downfield with Nate Harris coming down with it for a 49-yard touchdown, making the score 24-14 at the break.
On Coastal's first possession of the third quarter, Small starting things with a 13-yard run. After a 15-yard Hillary to Chris Floyd completion, Whitener gashed the Catamounts for a 27-yard run then had a nine yarder to get inside the WCU 10. Two plays later, Small took a sweep to the right and dove into the corner at the pylon for a three-yard score.
Defense would force a three-and-out on WCU's ensuing drive, but two 15-yard penalties on a Catamount punt allowed Western to retain possession. The Chanticleer defense responded, forcing another three-and-out. After a seven-yard Small rush, Hillary hit Matt Hazel in stride down the left sideline for a 58-yard score. The pass play gave Coastal 38-14 lead and marked a career long for both Hillary and Hazel.
Coastal pushed its advantage to 31, 45-14, early in the fourth quarter. Facing third-and-three from the 24, Hillary lofted a pass to the left corner of the endzone. Hazel was the intended receiver but he would tip the ball and Akeem Wesley came down with the ball in the endzone for the 24-yard score.
Western bounced back to put together an eight-play scoring drive. Pechloff hit Richardson for 24 yards, Gary Green for 14 and Green for a 26-yard score, providing the final score of 45-21.