Turnovers Hurt Knights in Loss to EWC

Photo by Justo Photography
Photo by Justo Photography

Written by Chris Pendleton

BUENA VISTA, Va.—Turnovers hurt the Southern Virginia University football team on Saturday afternoon as the Knights gave the ball away six times during a 15-38 home loss to fellow NAIA-Independent opponent Edward Waters University.

Southern Virginia's leading rusher, freshman running back Jerry Washington (Gloucester, Va.), had another great outing on Saturday scoring both of the Knights' touchdowns and adding a two-point conversion, while finishing just shy of his fourth 100-yard rushing game of the season with 98 yards on the ground.

Senior linebacker Tommy Davidson (Paradise, Calif.) was again the Knights most dominant presence on defense recording a game-high 14 tackles (eight solo and six assists) in the loss. 

Edward Waters (4-6) jumped out to an early lead over Southern Virginia (3-7 overall, 1-7 NAIA) scoring on its first possession of the game as the Tigers strung together a 7-play, 67-yard drive that lasted 3:17.

After Southern Virginia forced the Tigers to punt on their second offensive possession, the Knights fumbled the return giving Edward Waters the ball back on the SVU 36-yard line. Edward Waters capitalized on its excellent field position scoring 5:14 later when Brandon Turman completed a 20-yard touchdown pass to Samuel Charles after the Tigers decided to go for it on 4th-and-9.

Running its fast-paced, no-huddle offense, Sothern Virginia responded quickly to its 0-14 deficit driving the ball 58-yards for a touchdown in only 1:58 on its ensuing possession. Washington finished off the Knights' lighting fast drive with a two-yard touchdown run and then took in Southern Virginia's two-point conversion making it 8-14 Tigers with 2:26 left in the first quarter.

After forcing turnovers on then next two Edward Waters possessions—junior cornerback Robby Williams (Philadelphia, Pa.) pulled down his third interception of the season on an underthrown pass from Turman followed by Davidson recovering a Reymond Berhane fumble—Southern Virginia put together another quick-strike scoring drive going 45-yards in 1:28 to take a 15-14 lead over the Tigers with 10:09 remaining in the half.

That would be Sothern Virginia's last score of the afternoon, however, as the Tigers began keying in on Washington, while the Knights struggled with their passing game—sophomore quarterback Mitch Stevenson (Muskagee, Okla.) completed only 15-of-41 passing attempts on the afternoon for 128 yards, while throwing three picks.

After losing its lead briefly to the Knights in the second quarter, Edward Waters would score on its ensuing possession taking a 15-21 lead into halftime. The Tigers added a field goal 2:24 into the third quarter pushing their advantage to 24-15.

Neither team would score again until the beginning of the fourth quarter when Edward Waters, backed up to its own 15-yard line, put together a 9-play, 85-yard touchdown drive that lasted 4:39. The Tigers would add another touchdown with 1:58 left in the game to reach the final score and secure their first win over Southern Virginia in three tries.

The Knights finished with a season low 258 yards of total offense compared to Edward Waters 405 total offensive yards.

Saturday marked the final game of the season for the Tigers, who secured their best record (4-6) since going 5-6 in 2007. Southern Virginia will close out its 2011 campaign next Saturday when the Knights host first-year program Ave Maria University (0-8) on Senior Night at 1 p.m. EDT.