Courtesy of Presbyterian Athletics
BOILING SPRINGS, N.C.
– Justin Bethel’s interception of John Rock with 1:05 to play helped the Presbyterian College football team snap a 20-game losing skid as the Blue Hose defeated the Runnin’ Bulldogs 26-24 Saturday afternoon in front of 6,125 fans. Senior kicker Cam Miller drilled a 31-yard attempt to put the visitors ahead for good with just 2:24 to go.
The Blue Hose improve to 1-6 overall and 1-2 in Big South play. The Runnin’ Bulldogs fall to 3-4 overall and 2-1 in league action.
Myron Gary, who earned his second career start, picked up the win. He guided the team with two rushing touchdowns on 12 carries. Gary connected on 10 passes for 111 yards with a long of 21. Trandon Dendy led the PC offense with 70 yards on 17 carries and a touchdown scamper. Dendy also had a team-best 31 yards receiving on two catches.
Defensively, CeeJay Harris led PC with 12 total stops including four solo tackles. Derek Brown reached double figures with 10 tackles. Brian Davis seemed to get into the backfield very often as he accounted for eight total stops including three sacks and four tackles for loss. Overall, PC’s defense stepped up and recorded nine sacks. Coming into the game, the squad had totaled just six on the year.
After GWU took a 7-0 lead on the first possession of the game, PC evened the score with 3:03 to play in the first quarter. The Blue Hose forced a 26-yard punt that gave the team the possession at midfield with 6:45 to play in the first stanza.
Trandon Dendy started the drive with a three-yard rush. Myron Gary hit Patrick McKoy for an eight-yard gainer and a first down at the 39. Gary ran for five before hitting Shawn Amrstrong for a first down, marking the ball at the 24.
Facing a third-and-nine from the 23, Gary found Dendy out of the backfield for 10 yards. Two plays later, Gary scampered through the left side on a quarterback draw for the touchdown. Cam Miller’s point after tied it at 7-7.
PC’s inspired defense forced a three-and-out on GWU’s next drive, allowing the offense to take over with 1:24 to play in the opening quarter on its own 40.
On first down, Gary found Jeremy Cole across the middle for a 20-yard gain. Back-to-back handoffs to Dendy helped the Blue Hose get to the 24. The teams switched sides of the field as the quarter ended – and PC’s drive stalled. After three straight incomplete passes, Cam Miller trotted on the field and nailed a 41-yard attempt for a 10-7 lead with 14:31 to play in the first half.
PC moved the ball on its next two drives, but could not add to the lead. After being forced to punt, the Blue Hose defense held strong on the Runnin’ Bulldogs last possession of the first half. GWU took over on its own 43 and got into PC territory on the first play. After GWU moved the ball to the 22, Iouli Burroughs came up with a huge sack on John Rock, forcing a punt with eight seconds remaining in the period.
Things did not start out well for PC in the second half, fumbling on the second play. GWU regained possession on the 21 and scored three plays later for a 14-10 lead.
Two drives later, PC gained momentum after starting on its own 22. Dendy rushed for 11 yards and Gary hit Armstrong for 11 more. On second-and-11 from the 43, Gary hit Dendy for 21 yards do the 36. Two plays later, Lance Byrd rushed to the three for a first-and-goal. Dendy then capped the drive with a one-yard plunge for to make the score 17-14.
In a back-and-forth game, the Runnin’ Bulldogs regained the lead on the next drive. GWU went 63 yards on eight plays, taking a 21-17 lead with 3:45 to go in the third.
GWU held the ball in the fourth, but PC forced a punt from the Runnin’ Bulldogs 15. The kick traveled just eight yards, giving the Blue Hose great field position.
After two straight incompletions, GWU was hit with a pass interference call on third-and-10, giving PC life. On second-and-10, Gary took the shotgun snap, dropped it, spun around and picked it up. He was able to then rush around the left side untouched for the touchdown. PC missed the extra point, putting the score at 23-21 in the favor of the Blue Hose.
GWU countered with a 15-play, 70-yard drive that took 6:06 off the clock. Ryan Gates’ 21-yard field goal gave the team a one-point lead with 6:40 to play.
Nichols’ squad found a way to respond once again. GWU’s kickoff was high and short. The ball bounced in the middle of the field and redshirt-freshman Seth Moreland raced up and grabbed the live ball after one hop. He immediately headed straight up the field and found himself on the Runnin’ Bulldogs’ side before being pushed out of bounds.
PC slowly moved up the field behind Dendy. He picked apart the defense for 28 yards on four carries. Gary’s rush put PC at the 16. The drive stalled after a penalty and an incomplete pass, but it was fourth-and-eight on the 14.
Miller trotted onto the field in a familiar situation as PC’s last win. In the 2008 victory over Liberty, Miller had the game-winning field goal. From the left hash, he calmly booted it through the uprights for the game winner.
The Blue Hose defense recorded two sacks and allowed a short pass before Bethel’s interception allowed PC to celebrate its first victory under Nichols.
“Today was a very special day for these young men,” Nichols said. “We are an awfully young team, but give these men credit. We answered adversity when it came. Our team believed they could win and went out there and played well.
“We have a great staff and there are great people around. Everyone showed a lot of resolve and today is the big pay-off. We knew we were close as the team has gotten better since the start of the season. I am very proud of our kids and what they accomplished today.”
The Blue Hose return to action next week at 1:30 p.m. when they play host to Liberty.