Nov. 5, 2011
Cullowhee, N.C. - Ninth-ranked Wofford College scored six touchdowns on the ground including two by Donovan Johnson and a pair by Bryan Youman as the Terriers rushed to a 42-24 win over Western Carolina Saturday afternoon in Southern Conference action at E.J. Whitmire Stadium / Bob Waters Field.
WCU junior receiver Jacoby Mitchell hauled in seven passes including two for touchdowns while amassing a career-high 144 yards for the Catamounts on Hall of Fame Day.
The Terriers, which came into the game leading all of NCAA FCS Football in rushing yardage, had two players rush for over 100 yards including Johnson with 136 on 10 carries and the league's leading rusher Eric Breitenstein with 112 on 16 carries.
"I thought we had a hard time slowing (Wofford) down," said WCU head coach Dennis Wagner during post-game comments. "We had a plan that we thought we could stay fairly basic with the players and execute, but we missed some tackles. (Wofford) did a good job of running hard and protecting the ball. On offense, we shot ourselves in the foot a couple of times - I felt we should have had a couple more scores."
He added, "The good thing is our team played hard for four quarters. I'm proud of them for practicing hard and playing hard regardless of how things are going. They keep playing hard and I take my hat off to them for continuing to play hard."
Wofford (7-2, 5-1 SoCon) raced out to a three-score lead on the strength of a two-yard Breitenstein scoring plunge, a four-yard scoring run by Youman and a 45-yard scoring romp by Johnson. The trio of Terrier scoring drives moved a combined 219 yards in 23 total plays, while also capitalizing on a WCU interception on the Youman scoring drive.
Midway through the second quarter, WCU cashed in on the first of Wofford's two fumbles. Senior quarterback Zac Brindise capped a four-play drive with a 19-yard strike to Mitchell to pull the Catamounts back within 14.
"It was incredible," Wagner said when asked about Mitchell's performance. "The guy gets hurt a couple of times, but he wanted to play; he wanted to be in there. He went (into the athletic training room) got padded up and came out to make another catch-or-two that really helped us."
Wofford responded with two more first half touchdowns including Johnson's second rushing score of the second quarter and a 15-yard run by quarterback Mitch Allen to surge ahead, 35-7. Allen finished with 90 yards on the ground with the score, while also completing 4-of-6 passes for 44 yards.
Getting the ball back with just 36 seconds remaining before intermission, Brindise moved the team into scoring position where Clark Sechrest boomed a career-long, 51-yard field goal to provide the halftime tally, 35-10.
In the second half, Youman added another rushing score, capping a 13-play Wofford drive with a two-yard score to push the Terriers ahead 42-10.
Western Carolina's offense got it rolling in the fourth quarter, tallying two scores and totaling 129 yards of offense. Gary Green hauled in his second receiving touchdown in as many weeks in the fourth quarter, with Mitchell making a 24-yard scoring pass inside the final four minutes to provide the game's final tally.
Green finished with a career-best seven catches for 61 yards while George Richardson caught four passes for 30 yards as seven different receivers caught passes.
Brindise started 9-for-16 with an interception, but finished a perfect 14-for-14 in the second half including 10-of-10 for 101 yards and two scores in the fourth quarter alone. The Fort Myers, Fla., native finished 23-of-30 for 251 yards on the day.
Defensively for the Catamounts, junior linebacker Rock Williams continued his strong play with 14 tackles including four solo stops and half a tackle for loss. Marcus Stokes added a career-high 10 tackles while Courtland Carson posted nine stops with a tackle for loss. Senior defensive end Trey Selby both forced and recovered a fumble while Rainey Ala also covered up Wofford's second fumble for a Catamount takeaway.
Western Carolina returns to action next Saturday afternoon as it travels to Boone, N.C., to face the nationally-ranked Appalachian State Mountaineers in the annual gridiron grudge match, the "Battle for the Old Mountain Jug." ASU had its three-game winning streak snapped on Saturday in a road loss to Furman. Kickoff from Kidd Brewer Stadium is scheduled for 3:30 pm.