Written by Sean Dahlin
Senior wide receiver Dewayne Beamon (Eastern Wayne, N.C.) made 4 catches for a career-high 146 yards on Saturday while scoring two times, highlighted by a 68-yard touchdown pass—the longest catch in his four years at Southern Virginia—from quarterback Bruce Eisenhauer (Phoenix, Ariz.) at the end of the third quarter.
First-year wide receiver Frank Taitano (Washington, D.C.) broke off an 85-yard kickoff return—only the third kickoff return for a touchdown in Southern Virginia football's ten-year history—at the 5:50 mark in the third quarter. Taitano finished with a career-high 198 all-purpose yards (102 return yards, 69 receiving, 27 rushing) including the Knights' first score of the game on a 30-yard touchdown run just before halftime.
The Southern Virginia special teams unit blocked two Ave Maria extra-point attempts on Saturday. One block came from senior Luke Herndon (Mechanicsville, Va.), who has already blocked three kicks (two extra points, one field goal) in four games this season.
Junior Eisenhauer made his first start at quarterback for Southern Virginia finishing the game 7-for-11 for 147 passing yards while also throwing his first touchdown as a Knight, hitting Beamon for a 68-yard score. Freshman Andy Jones (Salt Lake City, Utah) also threw his first collegiate touchdown connecting with Beamonn for a 14-yard score with 3:12 left in the game.
The Southern Virginia defense struggled to stop a hot Gyrenes offense giving up 623 yards of total offense (381 passing, 242 rushing), its highest yardage total given up since September 3, 2011, when the Knights defense also allowed Pikeville University to gain 623 total offensive yards (414 passing, 209 rushing).
The Knights racked up a season-high 351 total offense yards (256 passing, 95 rushing), eclipsing its 284.5 total yards-per-game average through four games in 2012. Southern Virginia's 30 points was also a season high.
Senior defensive lineman Dylan Hall (Redding, Calif.) added another sack taking down Ave Maria quarterback Drake Sunderland for his team-leading fourth sack of the season.
Southern Virginia Head Coach DeLane Fitzgerald
On the offense's improvement:
"We made some big strides on the offensive side of the ball and we're pleased with our quarterbacks making the necessary throws in key situations. Our offensive line gave our skill players the time they needed to make big plays and put points on the board."
On the defense's struggles:
"It was frustrating to see our defense fail to execute the game plan after they played so tough the week before against Ferrum [College]. We regressed defensively missing several tackles against Ave Maria that were made in our two previous contests."
On special teams play:
"There were some positives in the kick return game that we worked all week to improve upon, and I'm proud of our players for blocking two extra points in the game; however, our effort level was inconsistent and that needs to be fixed before this Saturday against Virginia-Lynchburg."
Southern Virginia Wide Receiver Dewayne Beamon
"We weren't able to achieve our ultimate goal of winning the game, so in that respect I'm disappointed."
On his performance:
"It was our team's goal this past week to stretch out the field against our opponent, and I was fortunate enough to contribute by making some plays to help execute that game plan."
Southern Virginia Wide Receiver Frank Taitano
"It was difficult to go on the road and lose a tough game like we did on Saturday after we worked so hard in practice last week leading up to it."
On his 85-yard kickoff return for a touchdown:
"Coach [Fitzgerald] told me before the kickoff to follow the wedge that my blockers would set up, and then hit the open lane and run. My blockers did a great job in giving me the open hole to run through so I could make the touchdown run."