Written by Sean Dahlin
Senior co-captain and defensive lineman 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 currently holds the program's single-season blocked kicks record with four while fellow co-captain Luke Herndon (Mechanicsville, Va.), has three blocked kicks this year, ranking him second on the all-time list. Hall also took down Hornets quarterback Immoni Carswell in the third quarter, breaking the program's single-season record with 7.5 sacks this season.
In addition to Hall's block in the second quarter, freshman defensive back Matt Gregory (Staunton, Va.) blocked a Concordia-Selma 21-yard field goal attempt with 3:14 left in the game followed by an exciting 61-yard return from junior defensive back Jake Palmer (Alpine, Utah) to the Hornets' 33-yard line. Southern Virginia has now blocked 11 kicks this year as a unit, shattering the previous program season record of six accomplished in 2007.
The Southern Virginia defense had a solid performance forcing four turnovers—two fumbles and two interceptions—while also allowing only one offensive touchdown to Concordia-Selma in the second quarter. Gregory had a 26-yard interception return—his second of the season—with 3:44 left until the half and sophomore Tyler Groves (Reno, Nev.) recorded his first interception this year.
Sophomore linebacker Robert Robbins (Glendale, Ariz.) led the Knight defense with 15 tackles (5 solo, 10 assisted) on Saturday—giving him a team-high 75 tackles on the season—while also recording 1.5 tackles-for-loss, four pass break-ups and a fumble recovery while fellow-sophomore linebacker Colter Evans (Wayan, Idaho) added 10 tackles (5 solo, 5 assisted).
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 quarterback Andy Jones (Salt Lake City, Utah) for Southern Virginia's final score with 12-plus minutes left in the game. Tight end Jeff Waldron (Costa Mesa, Calif.) added four catches for 25 yards including a nine-yard touchdown reception for Southern Virginia's first score late in the first quarter. Jones completed 10-of-24 passes for 90 yards along with two touchdowns and four interceptions on Saturday.
Freshman punter Jake Wyckoff (Holladay, Utah) had a solid outing in his first start as a Knight as he recorded seven punts for a 35.3 yards-per-punt average, including pinning the opposing Hornets within their own 20-yard line on two occasions.
Southern Virginia's offense finished with 120 total offensive yards (90 yards passing, 30 yards rushing) for its lowest output of the season while converting on 2-of-11 (.182) third down opportunities—the Knights have averaged a 34% success rate on third-down conversions in their eight games this year.
Southern Virginia Head Coach DeLane Fitzgerald
"Our defense and special teams played well throughout the game. We lost the turnover battle, however, having given up five interceptions which makes it difficult to win."
On the defense's performance:
"I was really proud of our defensive effort on Saturday. We allowed only one offensive touchdown by Concordia-Selma's offense and stuck with our bend-don't-break mentality, resulting in making key stops in the red zone. "
On the special teams:
"We were again able to penetrate our opponents' offensive line and make blocks to keep our team in the game. The results of our success, especially Matt [Gregory's] field goal block late in the game, is a testament to what effort can accomplish on special teams."
On the offense's struggles:
"Our offense made mistakes and wasn't able to move the ball consistently."
Southern Virginia Defensive Back Matt Gregory
On his blocked field goal in the fourth quarter:
"We knew we had to make a big play to try and keep the score close to give us a chance to win the game. We penetrated their offensive line on all sides and I was fortunate enough to get a hand on the ball."
On his second interception of the season:
"I wasn't playing aggressively enough at the beginning of the game and missed some opportunities to break up a few passes. So, when I played aggressively as the coaches had told me to, I intercepted a pass and tried to run for the score but was caught from behind.
Southern Virginia Defensive Back Jake Palmer
On his 61-yard return after the blocked field goal:
"My assignment on the blocked field goal was to pick up the loose ball and run. When I saw that Matt [Gregory] blocked the kick and the ball bounced up and fell into my hands, I did all I could to run hard and hold onto the ball."
Southern Virginia Linebacker Robert Robbins
On the defense:
"I felt good about our defensive effort collectively and was pleased that we forced four turnovers by our opponents. We did well to play our assignments and make plays to keep us in the game."
On his performance:
"My number-one objective is to help our team have a chance to win the game in whatever capacity that may be."