Written by Sean Dahlin
JACKSONVILLE, Fla.—Trailing 10-3 with less than two minutes remaining during Saturday's season finale at Edward Waters, the Southern Virginia University football team completed a thrilling 17-10 comeback win and closed out the 2012 season on a three-game winning streak.
"Today's win was a complete team effort and a great way to finish the year," said fourth-year Head Coach DeLane Fitzgerald. "Our seniors set the tone and everybody's focus helped us make big plays with the game on the line."
After falling behind 10-3 to Edward Waters (4-5) on an 81-yard Tigers drive capped by a 15-yard touchdown run from running back Ralph Shuler with 8:55 left in the game, Southern Virginia's (5-6) quarterback Andy Jones (Salt Lake City, Utah)—who finished 12-for-22 with 138 passing yards and no interceptions—made a pair of two-yard touchdown runs sealing the miracle win for the Knights.
Both scores were set up by big gains through the air with Jones first hitting senior tight end Jeff Waldron (Costa Mesa, Calif.) for an 18-yard gain to the Tigers' two-yard line as part of a four-play, 57-yard driving score that took only 38 seconds off the clock.
On the following Southern Virginia drive, fellow-senior wide receiver Dewayne Beamon (Eastern Wayne, N.C.) caught a game-long 38-yard strike in preparation for Jones' game-winning touchdown with 17 seconds left in the contest to spoil Edward Waters' Senior Day.
"Although we made those big receptions near the end, Jamal [Coates] and Tod [Workman] continued our offensive momentum by consistently moving the chains throughout the game," said Fitzgerald.
Southern Virginia's rushing attack was highlighted by career performances from sophomore Jamal Coates (Conover, N.C and junior Tod Workman (Springerville, Ariz.), who both recorded single-game bests with 100 and 79 rushing yards respectively.
"Our defense has kept us in several games this season and today was no exception," said Fitzgerald.
The Knights' defense—that has allowed three offensive touchdowns in its last four contests—was led Saturday by senior defensive back Robert Williams (St. Cloud, Fla.), who tied his career-high with nine tackles (8 solo, 1 assisted) while adding one tackle-for-loss and a pass break-up.
Southern Virginia also forced Edward Waters to punt after a three-and-out on its final drive of the game, and made a critical four-down goal line stand at its own one-yard line just before intermission.
Through the first 45 minutes, the Knights and Tigers found themselves in a 3-3 tie. Kicker Jerry Martin put Edward Waters on the board first as he made a 46-yard field goal on the first drive of the game. Later, Southern Virginia's senior kicker Brett Murray (Hollywood, Fla.) evened the score as he connected on a 22-yard kick—his fourth make on the year—with 8:56 left in the third quarter.
Senior wide receiver Cameron Williams (Sacramento, Calif.)—who leads the team with 474 yards and six touchdown receptions on the season—recorded a team-high 41 yards on four catches in his last career game.
Southern Virginia held the 270-227 advantage in total offensive yards while the Tigers and Knights finished 6-of-15 and 4-of-15 on third-down conversions respectively.
Football's five wins in 2012 marks the second-most victories in program history behind the 2007 squad (6-5 record).