Story and photo courtesy of Wingate Athletics
- Tusculum College sophomore quarterback Torrey Slaven (Winfield, Tenn.) completed 36-of-44 passes for 295 yards and four touchdowns as the Pioneers defeated Wingate University 38-20 in South Atlantic Conference football action at Pioneer Field. Slaven spread the wealth, utilizing 10 different receivers.
Tusculum improves to 3-8 overall and 2-5 in the SAC. Wingate completes the 2011 campaign 5-6 overall and 4-3 in the SAC. The Bulldogs tie Newberry College for third place in the final league standings.
Pioneer senior wide receiver Rashaad Carter (Stone Mountain, Ga.) celebrated Senior Day with 11 catches for 131 yards and one touchdown. Four different players caught TD strikes from Slaven Saturday. Tusculum junior running back Brian Marshall (Chattanooga, Tenn.) rushed three times for 79 yards and one score. Marshall also caught four passes for 24 yards and returned one kick-off for 31 yards.
Wingate redshirt senior quarterback Cody Haffly (Locust Grove, Ga.) finished his brilliant tenure with his 16th career game of 300-plus passing yards. Haffly completed 19-of-47 passes for 310 yards and three touchdowns. Bulldog junior wide receiver Chris Bowden (Forsyth, Ga.) caught eight passes for 134 yards and two scores. Bowden eclipsed the 1000 receiving yard mark for the season. He caught 76 passes for 1064 yards and nine touchdowns this year.
Slaven helped the home-standing Pioneers take a 14-0 first quarter lead they would not relinquish. On the team’s second possession, Slaven took advantage of a short field to move his troops 57 yards on five plays. He found 6-10, 255-pound freshman tight end Wesley Powell (Eclectic, Ala.) with a seven-yard TD pass to conclude the drive. The extra point by freshman place kicker Logan Cornelius (Chattanooga, Tenn.) put TC up 7-0 with 5:40 to go in the opening frame.
Four plays later, Wingate fumbled to give Tusculum the ball at the Bulldog 41-yard line. Slaven needed only four plays to find redshirt freshman Mykelle Jones (Spartanburg, S.C.) with an 11-yard scoring strike. The Cornelius PAT made the score 14-0 with 3:05 left in the first quarter.
Wingate freshman running back Nestor Lantigua (Wellington, Fla.) returned the ensuing kick-off 25 yards. The Bulldogs benefitted from four TC penalties on the drive to help their march to pay dirt. Haffly found Bowden twice on the journey, with the second connection resulting in a nine-yard touchdown pass with 66 seconds to play in the first quarter. Bulldog redshirt junior place kicker Matthew Sierk (Saluda, N.C.) nailed the extra point to cut Wingate’s deficit in half. The two teams took the 14-7 score to the halftime locker room.
Tusculum scored on three of its first four second-half possessions to put the game on ice. Slaven had TD passes to senior running back Fred Jones (Appling, Ga.) and Carter to open the third frame. Haffly concluded a 12-play, 83-yard drive with a 12-yard touchdown pass to Bowden to cut the deficit to 28-14 with 43 seconds left in the third quarter. The Bulldogs would get no closer.
Marshall exploded for a 48-yard touchdown jaunt with 13:09 to go in the fourth quarter. Cornelius added a 19-yard field goal with 6:10 remaining to conclude the Tusculum scoring. Wingate did not quit, as Haffly engineered a 12-play, 77-yard drive in three minutes and change. The Capital One Academic All-America® candidate threw a seven-yard TD pass to junior wide receiver Josh Clawson (Clover, S.C.) at the 2:53 mark to notch his 94th career touchdown pass.
Tusculum won the time of possession battle, keeping the ball 34:35 compared to 25:25 for Wingate. The Pioneer defense sacked Haffly eight times and recorded 15 QB hurries and 13 pass break-ups. TC senior defensive lineman Terrence Smith (Riverdale, Ga.) was the most frequent visitor to the Bulldog backfield, as he recorded 3.5 sacks. Smith had eight total tackles, two QB hurries and a forced fumble. Pioneer junior defensive back Luke Harris (Floyd, Va.) had 10 tackles and one forced fumble.
Wingate junior defensive back Jarvis Smith (Godfrey, Ill.) had a career-high 16 tackles (five solo, 11 assists). Bulldog redshirt junior linebacker Richie Kazazian (Apex, N.C.) had 11 total stops (two solo, nine assists). Both Smith and Kazazian had one tackle for a loss each. Redshirt freshman punter Austin Anthony (Greensboro, N.C.) had one punt inside the 20 to give him 15 punts inside the 20 this season.
Haffly concludes his career 738-of-1232 for 9568 yards and 94 touchdowns. He is one of 22 regional finalists for the prestigious Harlon Hill Trophy. Haffly and his 23 senior teammates helped Wingate win the SAC title for the first time in school history last year. Wingate also qualified for the 2010 NCAA Division II play-offs, defeating number 23 Morehouse 63-41 before falling to number five Albany State 30-28 in the second round. The 2011 seniors posted a four-year record of 29 victories and 15 losses.
“We had a great group of seniors,” Wingate head coach Joe Reich says. “Each player contributed in his own way to our accomplishments. We will miss them.”