November 1, 2003
Football takes over top spot in SAC with 27-22 win over TusculumSALISBURY, NC – Seventh-ranked Catawba earned a hard-fought 27-22 win over visiting 15th-ranked Tusculum in South Atlantic Conference football action on Saturday afternoon at Shuford Stadium and Kirkland Field The Indians take over sole possession of first place in the SAC with the win, improving to 8-1 overall and 5-0 in the SAC. Tusculum falls to 7-2 and 4-1, ending a school-record seven-game win streak.
Defenses dominated the opening half with Catawba scoring once in each quarter for a 14-0 lead at the break. Catawba totaled 157 yards to 72 for the Pioneers. The Tribe capitalized on a Tusculum interception in the opening quarter to take the lead. Jamonte Battle (Rocky Mount, NC) picked off a Carson Bradley (Paradise Valley, AZ) at the Pioneer 20 to set up the first score. Two plays after the interception, Luke Samples (Elkin, NC) tossed a 15-yard scoring strike to Rod Tenor (Colleemee, NC) for the 7-0 lead with 43 seconds left in the quarter. Catawba would add a second score with 31 seconds left in the half. The Indians used a 17-play, 72-yard drive, capped by a Samples nine-yard pass to Brian Flynn (Lexington, NC). The Indians converted twice on third down and once on fourth down to keep the drive alive.
Tusculum started hot in the final half. On its initial drive the Pioneers were inside the Catawba 20, but a sack forced a punt. The Pioneers would score on its next two possessions to tie the game. The first score came on an eight-yard pass from Tony Colston (Clinton, TN) to Matt Riggs (Dayton, TN) with 8:40 left in the quarter. The Pioneers second score came on a one-yard plunge by Chris Mosley (Clarksville, TN) at the 4:51 mark of the quarter.
The Pioneers held Catawba on the ensuing drive, but fumbles on its next two possessions were costly. The first fumble was recovered by LaQuane Talley (Charlotte, NC) at the Pioneer 38. Samples would connect with Brian Carter (Alexandria, VA) for 38 yards on third down to put Catawba back on top 21-14 with 1:47 left. Colston was sacked on the next drive by Marcus Huntley (Morven, NC) and Brian Biggs (Fayetteville, NC) recovered at the Pioneer 12.
Rodney Wallace (Bamberg, SC) would score from a yard out to give Catawba a 27-14 lead with 13:37 remaining. The point after snap was mishandled and later fumbled with D.J. Starling (Fort Valley, GA) returning it for the Pioneer defense to trim the lead to 27-16. The Pioneers would march 91 yards in five plays to cut the margin to 27-22 with 3:32 left as Colston passed 15 yards to Antwain Glenn (Moore, SC). The two-point play failed.
Catawba’s Jonus Scott (Union, SC) recovered a Pioneer onside kick attempt at midfield and the Indians ran out the clock. The final key play came on third-and-14 with just under two minutes to play when Corey Ready (Aiken, SC) threw a wide receiver pass to Carter for 49 yards to the Pioneer five to seal the win.
Tusculum would out-gain Catawba 341 to 323, but committed three turnovers to just one for the Tribe. Samples completed 16-of-31 passes for 189 yards and three scores, while Wallace banged out 58 yards against a Pioneer defense allowing a NCAA II-low 46 yards per contest. The Indians ran for 85 total yards to just 18 for Tusculum. It also marked the first time this season that Tusculum was held without a sack.
Colston passed for 293 yards, on 24-of-30 passing with two touchdowns. Marvin Kelly (Bennettsville, SC) hauled in nine receptions for 105 yards, while Kevin Wolcott (Crossville, TN) had eight grabs for 87 yards. Wolcott went over the 2,000-yard mark in career receiving yards, becoming the first Pioneer to accomplish the feat. Ready had six receptions to lead Catawba, while Carter had 119 yards on four grabs.
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