Story and photo courtesy of Concord Athletics
ATHENS, W.Va. - Senior wide receiver Ansel Ponder scored three touchdowns to lead the Concord University football team to a 41-10 blowout-victory over Fairmont State Saturday at Callaghan Stadium. The 41 points were the most scored by CU this season.
Concord improves to 5-4 overall this season and 4-2 in the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. Fairmont State falls to 3-5 overall and 3-3 in the WVIAC with the loss.
Concord dominated nearly all facets of the contest Saturday. CU held advantages over the Fighting Falcons in first downs (19-10), yards rushing (140-70), yards passing (218-68) and total offense (358-138) while nearly doubling FSU in time of possession. The Mountain Lions were 10-for-18 on third downs while the CU defense allowed just one FSU third-down conversion.
Concord’s defense had one of its finest performances of the season. FSU’s 68-yards passing were a season-low allowed by CU’s 26th-ranked pass defense and the Fighting Falcons’ rushing total was the second-fewest yards allowed by Concord this season. Saturday marked the first time since playing Southern Virginia in 2010 that Concord has held an opponent to less than 150 yards of total offense.
Ponder led the offensive explosion with a career-day of nine receptions for 141 yards and the three touchdowns. Senior quarterback Evin Dusold also had his best day as a Mountain Lion, completing 17-of-25 passes for 212 yards and four touchdowns. Also helping the passing attack was senior wide receiver Randall Hawkins, who caught four passes for 32 yards and one touchdown.
The rushing game was headed by the trio of freshman Calvinaugh Jones, freshman Jocorey Robins and junior Chris Rodriguez. Robins rushed for a game-high 58 yards while scoring a touchdown, Jones added another TD to go with 37 yards and Rodriguez netted 30 yards on 12 attempts.
CU forced four turnovers off of fumble recoveries by sophomore defensive lineman Keith Ferguson, senior defensive lineman Matt Anderson, and junior defensive back Riyahd Richardson, who also picked off his third pass of the year (eighth of his career). Junior Jake Lilly and freshman linebacker Ervin Moore forced two of the fumbles.
Lilly registered a team-high 13 tackles followed by senior linebacker Howard Jordan and sophomore safety Davon Marion with seven stops apiece.
The Mountain Lions’ special teams had a productive afternoon. Marion blocked a field goal attempt, freshman wide receiver Tiko Henderson blocked his second punt of the season and freshman linebacker Austin Dotson took off for a 41-yard run, the longest of the game, on a fake punt in the third quarter that kept an eventual touchdown-drive alive.
The first quarter saw Concord and Fairmont State trade possessions until CU scored the first of its many touchdowns on the day when Ponder took a well-placed Dusold pass 48 yards for the score, giving Concord a 7-0 lead with a minute remaining in the first quarter.
The Mountain Lions defense forced turnovers on FSU’s first two possessions of the second quarter and the CU offense took advantage of both opportunities. After a Richardson fumble recovery, Concord went on a 12-play 49-yard drive that was capped off with a one-yard Robins TD run. Moore then forced FSU QB Bobby Vega to fumble on a sack with Ferguson recovering at the Fairmont State 22-yard line. The Concord offense took just six plays on this drive before Dusold hit Hawkins in the end zone.
FSU was able to tack on a field goal at the end of the half before heading into the break trailing Concord 21-3.
There was no let up by Concord in the second half as the Maroon and Gray scored on three consecutive possessions late in the third quarter and into the fourth, two touchdowns by Ponder and one by Jones, to extend its lead to 41-3 with 11 minutes remaining in the game. FSU scored its first touchdown of the day with seven minutes to play in regulation with Concord cruising to the 31-point victory, 41-10.
Concord will look to keep its momentum going next Saturday (Oct. 27) when it hosts West Liberty at 1:00 p.m. in its home finale.