Courtesy of Presbyterian Athletics
LEXINGTON, Va. - Trailing 17-13 with under two minutes to play, the Presbyterian College football team was unable to get a stop as VMI scored a late touchdown on third down, ensuring the 24-13 victory Saturday afternoon.
The Blue Hose now stand at 0-5 on the season and 0-1 in Big South Conference play. VMI improves to 2-2 on the season and 1-0 in conference action.
â€œI am proud of our effort,â€ head coach Harold Nichols said. â€œWe played with passion and energy. The defense made plays today. The linebackers played well and moved around. LJ Perry and Derek Brown played hard. Overall, Iâ€™m proud of the effort. Now we have a week off and will start preparing for Coastal Carolina.â€
PC fell behind early in the game as VMI took the opening kick-off and went 60 yards on 10 plays for a 7-0 lead. A quick three-and-out by the Blue Hose gave the ball back to the Keydets, who marched 23 yards on seven plays. The team kicked a field goal, taking a 10-0 lead with 6:22 to play.
Trailing 10-0 in the first quarter, the Blue Hose got on the board when sophomore Antarius Terrell picked off a pass and rumbled 15 yards into the end-zone for the score. Terrell dropped back into coverage in the flat and jumped up and to the right, snagging the pass from Cameron Jones. The extra point made it 10-7 with 2:14 to play in the opening stanza.
After the Keydets gained possession, the home squad drove down to the 18-yard line. Then, Damon Lawrence and CeeJay Harris stuffed Chaz Jones on a third-and-short, forcing the field goal attempt. VMI went wide right on the attempt, keeping the score at 10-7.
PC was unable to move the chains, but Patrick Morgano flipped the field with a career-long 64-yard punt. A holding penalty on the play pushed the Keydets back to the eight. Morganoâ€™s punt was tied for the fifth longest in conference history.
Cam Millerâ€™s 42-yard field goal with just under six minutes to play in the first half knotted the score at 10 apiece. On VMIâ€™s ensuing possession, the team went 59 yards on seven plays before reaching the end-zone on a short run over the left side, making it 17-10 with 2:47 to play in the first half.
PC forced a three-and-out after Brandon Miley was intercepted on a tipped ball. The Blue Hose regained possession with 27 seconds to play in the half. Lance Byrd rushed 15 yards to the 30 and the Harold Nicholsâ€™ led squad went into the break trailing by a touchdown.
In the third quarter, PC received the ball to start the half. The squad picked up one first down, but could not keep moving the chains, forcing Morgano to trot back onto the field to punt it away.
The Blue Hose defense held after the Keydets neared midfield. PCâ€™s next possession did not muster a first down and VMI took over on its own 47. VMI drove to PCâ€™s 10 on a third-and-one. The quarterback dropped back, but Greg Palmer leveled him, forcing a fumble. Brian Leonardi recovered the fumble, giving the Blue Hose offense some life.
PC moved the ball to the 50 before being forced to kick it away. However, the PC defense stepped up, getting the ball back from the Keydets on a three-and-out.
In the fourth, Michael Ruff took a hand-off from Myron Gary, ran to the far side of the field and fired the ball back to Gary for a 44-yard gain to the three-yard line. The Keydetsâ€™ defense held the Blue Hose out of the end-zone, but Miller remained perfect on the year with a 23-yard three-point kick to make the score 17-13.
VMI received the ball on its own 29 with 10:29 to play. After a first down, Harris forced the quarterback to throw wide of his intended target. The Blue Hose forced another punt and started their drive on the 24.
Byrd gained three yards up the gut before hitting the hole on his second carry for a 33-yard gain to the VMI 40. The visitorsâ€™ drive stalled and Morganoâ€™s punt sailed inches into the end-zone, giving the Keydets the ball on the 20 with just over six minutes to play.
VMI added a late touchdown on a 12-yard pass with 1:20 to play for a 24-13 lead.
For the game, Byrd carried the offense with 68 yards on eight carries. Gary completed eight passes for 49 yards while Ruffâ€™s completion went for 44.
Miller went two-for-two in field goal tries, hitting from 42 and 23 yards, respectively. Defensively, Derek Brown posted a career-high 13 total tackles, seven of which were solo. LJ Perry notched 10 stops, including seven solo tackles. Jimmy Pruitt and Matthan Burton accounted for nine and eight tackles, respectively.
The defense accounted for four sacks for 27 yards while the team had nine tackles for loss. It also had three pass break-ups, had an interception and forced a fumble.
The Blue Hose are off next week and return to action Saturday, Oct. 16 at 2 p.m. when they play host to Coastal Carolina on Homecoming.