Knights Can't Hold Early Lead Against Lindsey Wilson

Southern Virginia running back Jerry Washington (Gloucester, Va.). Photo by Justo Photography
Southern Virginia running back Jerry Washington (Gloucester, Va.). Photo by Justo Photography

Written by Chris Pendleton

BUENA VISTA, Va.—With its offense clicking early—the Knights scored a season-high 25 points in Saturday's first half—Southern Virginia University football jumped out to a first-half lead over Lindsey Wilson College, but failed to score in the second half falling to the Blue Raiders 33-25.

"We played winning football for 30 minutes, but we failed to finish and secure the win," said Southern Virginia's third-year head coach DeLane Fitzgerald following Saturday's loss to Lindsey Wilson.

Trailing 3-0 after Lindsey Wilson put together a seven-play, 42-yard drive resulting in a 29-yard field goal on the game's first possession, Southern Virginia sophomore quarterback Mitch Stevenson (Muskogee, Okla.) completed a 56-yard flea-flicker touchdown pass to junior Cameron Williams (Sacramento, Calif.) on the Knights' opening play from scrimmage. Stevenson then scrambled to the end zone on Southern Virginia's ensuing two-point conversion putting the Knights up 8-3 with 12:40 still remaining in the first quarter. 

Lindsey Wilson's next drive went nine plays and covered 48 yards, but ended in another field goal cutting Southern Virginia's lead to two points (8-6).

After going three-and-out on its second possession of the first quarter, Southern Virginia covered 30 yards on five plays during its third possession before freshman Jerry Washington (Gloucester, Va.) fumbled on the Lindsey Wilson 44-yard line as the Blue Raiders recovered the loose ball.

Following its fumble recovery, Lindsey Wilson marched down the field and scored its only touchdown of the opening half when quarterback Shannon Cresap found Dylan Caldwell in the end zone on a 12-yard pass making it 13-8 in the Blue Raider's favor with 1:39 left in the first quarter.

Southern Virginia's next possession went 13 plays and covered 64 yards, but the Knights could not convert a third-and-5 pass attempt and settled for a 23-yard field goal punched in by freshman kicker Tylor Cooper (Havelock, N.C.) to make it 13-11.

On the first play of Lindsey Wilson's ensuing possession, junior corner back Robby Williams (Philadelphia, Pa.) made a diving interception on the visitor's 30-yard line when he jumped a Blue Raider out route.

Following a Southern Virginia offensive holding penalty on the game's next play, Washington made up for his earlier fumble by breaking off a 40-yard touchdown run—the Knights' longest rush of the season—and completed his own two-point conversion as the hosts regained the lead 19-13 at the 12:36 mark in the second quarter.

Neither team would score again until late in the second quarter when Southern Virginia sophomore Chaz Housley (Logan, Utah) completed a 43-yard double-pass to junior tight end Jeff Waldron (Costa Mesa, Calif.) who trucked all the way to the Lindsey Wilson 11-yard line before the Blue Raiders could bring him down. 

Two plays later, Stevenson connected with senior receiver Dewayne Beamon (Eastern Wayne, N.C.) who juked his way six yards following the catch into the end zone for his first touchdown of the season. The Knights could not complete their third two-point conversion attempt of the half and entered the break with a 25-13 lead.

Following its best performance of the season in the opening 30 minutes of Saturday's game, Southern Virginia's offense stalled in the second half as Lindsey Wilson held the Knights scoreless over the final 30 minutes of play.

After Southern Virginia went three-and-out on its first possession of the second half, Lindsey Wilson responded with a momentum swinging 12-play, 86-yard, five-minute touchdown drive that pulled the Blue Raiders within six points of the Knights (25-19) after Lindsey Wilson missed its extra-point attempt.

Despite running eleven plays on its next possession, Southern Virginia was forced to punt on fourth-and-10 from the Lindsey Wilson 49-yard line. After a 14-yard Southern Virginia punt, the Blue Raiders began their second possession of the second half on their own 25 and drove 75 yards over 6:25 for the go-ahead score (26-25) with 14:32 remaining in the game.

Southern Virginia was unable to sustain a drive over its next three possessions before Lindsey Wilson running back Tyrome Lott—who finished with a game high 110 rushing yards—scored on a 37-yard rush with 3:14 remaining to reach the final score. 

The Knights recorded 148 yards of total offense in the second half—63 yards rushing and 85 yards passing—after amassing a season-high 264 yards of total offense in the first half. 

Washington led all Southern Virginia rushers with 80 yards on 14 carries while Stevenson completed 22-of-37 passes for 178 yards and one interception.

Williams was Stevenson's favorite target on Saturday as the 6-1 junior reeled in seven catches for a game-high 86 yards including his 56-yard touchdown catch on the game's opening play. 

For the third consecutive game senior linebacker Tommy Davidson led the Knights in tackles with 13 total—eight solo and five assists.

"If there's a positive to take from this game, it's that we have some very good young players that we can build around for the future," said Fitzgerald.

Now 0-3 on the season, Southern Virginia football will play its second consecutive home game next Saturday, Sept. 17 against Radford University at 7 p.m. before a two-week bye.