Written by Sean Dahlin and Chris Pendleton
BUENA VISTA, Va.—Despite a solid defensive preformance, the Southern Virginia University football team fell to Concordia College of Selma 20-14 at home on Saturday as the Knights' offense gained only 120 total yards on the afternoon.
"It's difficult to lose a close game like today," said fourth-year Head Coach DeLane Fitzgerald. "Our defense and special teams did a great job of keeping us in the game by forcing timely turnovers."
Down 20-14 with 3:14 left in the game, Southern Virginia freshman defensive back Matt Gregory (Staunton, Va.) blocked a Concordia-Selma 21-yard field goal attempt—the Knights' 11th blocked kick of the season—followed by a 61-yard return from junior defensive back Jake Palmer (Alpine, Utah) to the Hornets' 33-yard line.
Southern Virginia's comeback fell short, however, as Concordia-Selma's Shawnte Leonard picked off a pass from freshman quarterback Andy Jones (Salt Lake City, Utah) three plays later allowing the Hornets to run out the clock sealing their fifth (5-2) victory of the season. The game-ending interception was the fourth of the afternoon from Jones, who completed 10-of-24 passes for 90 yards and two touchdowns to go along with his four picks.
Capitalizing on a Hornets fumble recovered by sophomore linebacker Robert Robbins (Glendale, Ariz.),—who led the Knights with 15 tackles—Southern Virginia (2-6) struck first on Saturday going up 7-0 as Jones hit senior tight end Jeff Waldron (Costa Mesa, Calif) for a nine-yard strike just under three minutes into the first quarter.
Concordia-Selma responded to its early deficit by rolling off 20 unanswered points over the next three quarters, including two interceptions returned for touchdowns—one by Stephan McCord for 40 yards in the first quarter and the second by Evens Yoyo for 82 yards in the third quarter.
Southern Virginia's senior captain Dylan Hall (Redding, Calif.) recorded his fourth blocked kick of the season on an extra point attempt after Condordia-Selma's lone offensive score of the day at the 9:07 mark in the second quarter. Hall also took down quarterback Immoni Carswell in the third quarter improving his team-high sack total to 7.5 this season.
"Our offense's struggles will be addressed this week in practice," said Fitzgerald. "Jeff [Waldron] and Cameron [Williams], however, had solid performances for us today."
Senior wide receiver Cameron Williams (Sacramento, Calif.) led the Knights with 58 yards on four receptions and one touchdown, highlighted by a nine-yard screen pass from Jones for Southern Virginia's final score with 12-plus minutes left in the game. Waldron added four catches for 25 yards and a touchdown.
Concordia-Selma outgained Southern Virginai 390-120 in total offensive yards, including Carswell's 253 yards passing on 21-of-38 completions, one touchdown and two interceptions. The two teams combined for nine total turnovers on Saturday—five interceptions by Southern Virginia plus two fumbles and two interceptions for Concordia-Selma.
The Knights travel to their only game north of Virginia next Saturday, Oct. 27, in Alfred, N.Y., to take on NJCAA Alfred State College—the second straight opponent Southern Virginia will be playing for the first time.