|September 02, 2017||1st||2nd||3rd||4th||Final|
|CIT||TD||07:14||Drakeford 29 Yd Run (Godek kick)|
|NBY||TD||10:30||Darius Clark 3 Yd Run (Shea Rodgers kick)|
|CIT||TD||01:28||Black 1 Yd Run (Godek kick)|
|CIT||TD||00:37||Jackson 74 Yd Run (Godek kick)|
|CIT||TD||07:22||LeBlanc 6 Yd Pass From Black (Godek kick)|
|NBY||TD||04:28||Chance Walker 26 Yd Pass From Nick Jones (Shea Rodgers kick)|
|CIT||FG||00:17||Godek 37 Yd|
|Stats at a Glance||NBY||CIT|
|3rd Down Conversions||3-10||8-16|
|4th Down Conversions||1-1||1-2|
|Passing (Comp-Att)||210 (16-29)||80 (6-13)|
|Rushing (Att)||66 (26)||374 (63)|
CHARLESTON – For over 44 minutes, Newberry proved it belonged on the field with its counterparts from The Citadel, the 12th-ranked team in Division I’s Football Championship Subdivision.
But as the clock wound down inside the final minute of the third period, a 74-yard touchdown scamper by Cam Jackson—the first big gain of the day by the Bulldogs’ (1-0) patented triple-option attack—put The Citadel ahead 21-7 and the game out of reach for Newberry (0-1) in an eventual 31-14 decision.
The Wolves’ day was not without its highlights, however. A Will Elm interception at the 40-yard line was returned 31 yards to give the Wolves excellent starting field position. Newberry appeared to go three-and-out on the drive, but a pass interference penalty in the end zone gave the offense new life. Darius Clark called his own number on a direct snap two plays later, tying the game at seven with 10:30 remaining in the second.
Redshirt freshman running back Chance Walker hauled in a 26-yard fourth-quarter pass from Nick Jones in tight coverage in the back of the end zone with 4:28 to play. And the Wolves’ longest play from scrimmage came on a 42-yard catch-and-run from Jones to Markell Castle, who slipped two tackles to give the Wolves their first significant gain of the day.
“I think early on the defense really sparked us,” said head coach Todd Knight. “I thought those guys played well early on, but we sputtered offensively. If we had both come out clicking I think we could have had a little different outcome today. The offense finally found its way and the momentum almost flipped on us.”
The Wolves’ defense turned in a gritty performance, allowing two scores but forcing four punts, a turnover on downs, and an interception in The Citadel’s first eight possessions before notching 17 points over the final 15:37. Newberry’s offense came to life as the game grew longer, outgaining The Citadel 230-222 in the second half.
Castle finished with 78 yards on five receptions to lead the Wolves, the first time since October 2016 he has been held below 100 yards. Joe Blue and Jawanza Adams each finished with nine tackles to tie for the game high and each tallied one-half of a tackle for loss. Elm had seven tackles, two for loss, to go with his interception. And Jones matched his career high with 16 completions on the evening.
The Wolves averaged 5.0 yards per play against a defense that finished the 2016 season eighth in the Division I Football Championship Subdivision in total defense. The win pushed the two-time defending Southern Conference champions to 17-3 in their last 20 games, while Newberry fell to 14-4 in its last 18. The Wolves are 9-12 in their last 21 games against Division I competition.
Knight was upbeat about his team’s performance heading into next week’s matchup with Virginia Union. “This game was a measuring stick. I don’t think anyone outside our locker room thought it was going to be this close. This was a really good team we played today and they’re not ranked No. 12 in the nation for nothing. So there’s no shame in it.
“I think our kids are going to be ready for Virginia Union. They’re hungry for a victory and I have no reason to believe we won’t show up next week.”