By Daniel Whitehead
BUENA VISTA, Va.—After matching a school-best six wins last week, the Southern Virginia University football team broke the program record with its seventh victory of the season by defeating Alfred State College, 30-0, Saturday afternoon at Robert E. Williams Field in Buena Vista, Va.
Last week's win at Apprentice guaranteed the team's winningest season in school history, and Saturday's victory against Alfred State broke the single season record for victories. The 2007 squad, which earned a 6-5 mark, last held the honor.
The 30-0 victory also made program history as it was the first time the Knights have shut out an opponent.
"I'm really proud of the team and the hard work they've put in this season," said Southern Virginia head coach DeLane Fitzgerald. "We have a special group of young men that play here. I'm really happy with the shutout – we've come close many times before but could never quite pull it off.
"Our offense moved the ball and our defense played incredibly. Our defensive coordinator, Rad Patterson, deserves a lot of credit for what he does for the program."
The Knights opened the game by converting on two scoring opportunities in the first quarter as quarterback Andy Jones connected with senior Dee Sanford for respective 12- and nine-yard strikes into the endzone. Sanford's two touchdowns grabs bring his total to seven on the year, which is tied for third in program history among receivers.
After a scoreless second quarter, Jones drove the Knights down the field midway through the third quarter and scored on a five-yard run around the end to put Southern Virginia up, 21-0.
Freshman kicker Davis Cragun converted his 12th field goal of the season early in the fourth quarter (12:05) to put the Knights up by a 24-0 score, doubling the previous school record of six in a single season.
After forcing a Pioneer three-and-out, the Knights scored for a final time on a 10-yard rumble by fullback Nate Caldwell. On the drive, Jones ran for a 30-yard gain on the first play followed by a 15-yard run by Caldwell.
The Knights earned 22 first downs to Alfred State's eight and totaled 226 yards on the ground to 18 for the Pioneers. Southern Virginia earned 402 yards of total offense to Alfred State's 172. Jones finished the game 10-for-22 passing and had seven carries for 70 yards on the ground. Sanford led the receiving corps with four catches for 67 yards
Defensively, safety Matthew Gregory earned two picks on the day for 45 return yards, while Nathan Barrett also had an interception. Junior Keaton Epps led the team in tackles with six on the day (2 solo, 4 assisted), while Dakoda Winsor and Justin Gonzalez each had five takedowns. Epps had 2.5 tackles for loss for a loss of 12 yards with Winsor also earning 2.5 tackles for loss for a loss of 11 yards.
The Knights finish the 2013 campaign at home for a Senior Day matchup next Saturday with Southwestern (Texas). The game is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. at Robert E. Williams Field.