Story and photo courtesy of Concord Athletics
ATHENS, W. Va. – The Concord University football team forced five turnovers and gave up just 193 yards of total offense in a 21-3 victory over West Liberty Saturday in its 2012 home finale at Callaghan Stadium.
The win, Concord’s fourth in five games, improved the Mountain Lions’ record to 6-4 overall this season and 5-2 in West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference contests. CU is now assured of its fourth consecutive winning season, a feat that hasn’t been accomplished by the program in over 20 years. Concord is 4-2 in games played at home this season.
As was the case in last week’s dominating win against Fairmont State, Concord once again controlled the game Saturday. The Mountain Lions more than doubled West Liberty in time of possession (40:50 – 19:10) while also holding advantages in passing yards (174-85), total offense (254-193) and third-down conversions (6-2).
The CU defense had another stellar day. In addition to its four interceptions, the Concord defense held West Liberty’s leading rusher (Isiah Moody) to just 73 yards rushing. The Mountain Lions have only allowed three players to rush for more than 100 yards against them this season.
Leading the defensive effort was junior linebacker Jake Lilly, who made a game-high 11 tackles with one forced fumble. Sophomore safety Davon Marion made seven stops while picking off his third pass of the year. Other Mountain Lions with interceptions on the day were junior cornerback Riyahd Richardson, sophomore cornerback Mike Carey and senior defensive lineman Mike Hodeib. Richardson’s INT was his third in as many games.
Senior linebacker Howard Jordan and sophomore defensive lineman Will Greathouse both picked up sacks while senior defensive lineman Josh Miller recorded two tackles and a fumble recovery in his final home game.
Senior quarterback Evin Dusold continued to run the offense efficiently, completing 19 of 37 pass attempts for 174 yards and one touchdown. Senior wide receivers Randall Hawkins and Ansel Ponder tied for the team-high in receptions with four. Hawkins tallied a game-high 38 receiving yards. Sophomore wide receiver Tyler Smith caught the first touchdown pass of his young career.
Concord set the tone for the day early by going on an 18-play, 65-yard scoring drive on the game’s opening possession. Dusold found Smith for the touchdown pass on third and goal from the West Liberty 13-yardline for the score. The drive ate up 9:38 of clock.
The Mountain Lions added another TD in the second quarter by way of a four-yard touchdown rush by sophomore fullback Ben Nester. The extra point try failed, giving CU a 13-0 lead with nine minutes to play in the half. Nester’s score was his sixth rushing touchdown of the year.
The following West Liberty drive was cut short thanks to Hoedeib’s interception. The turnover set up a six-play Concord drive that was finished off with a 40-yard field goal by freshman Kicker Andy Ellington. Concord took a commanding 16-0 lead into halftime thanks in part to Marion’s INT at the Concord 44-yardline with 1:28 to play in the half.
The 16-point lead was more than enough for CU’s defense. After a scoreless third quarter, West Liberty was finally able end the shutout with a 48-yard field goal from Jeff Hoak with 10:44 to play in the fourth quarter.
However, any thoughts of a comeback were quickly put to rest as the Concord defense came up with big plays on West Liberty’s following two possessions. First Richardson intercepted a pass, his fourth of the season, then Greathouse sacked WLU QB LD Crow in the end zone for a safety to put CU up 18-3.
Coming off of the safety, Ellington drilled a season-long 44-yard field goal attempt to increase the Mountain Lion lead to 18 points for the eventual 21-3 victory.
Saturday was the final home game for a senior class that helped turn around a program that finished 0-11 in 2008 by register winning years in each of the last four seasons.
CU will look to conclude its regular season with a victory next Saturday (Nov. 10) at West Virginia Wesleyan. Kickoff is set for 1:00 p.m.