The Rams (4-0, 4-0 MEC) went on the road in Athens, W.Va., Saturday afternoon and took down the Mountain Lions (1-4, 1-4 MEC) of Concord University by a 49-20 score.
On the Mountain Lions’ first drive, freshman quarterback Adam Fulton (18/34, 244 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT) led the Mountain Lions down the field on an 11-play, 64-yard drive, but had to settle for a 26 yard field goal by senior kicker Zack Keaton. This gave the Mountain Lions an early 3-0 lead, but the Mountain Lions knew that they would need more than field goals to beat the Rams.
The Rams responded immediately with a four-play, 52-yard touchdown drive of their own. Senior running back Jabre Lolley (16 car, 130 yards, 2 TD) bulldozed his way in from one yard out to give the Rams a 7-3 lead with 9:36 to play in the first quarter.
From then on, the Rams would never relinquish the lead, as the offense could seemingly not be stopped.
After a 15-yard touchdown reception by senior wide receiver Ryan Feiss, Rams sophomore running back Patrick Griffin decided he wanted to get in on the scoring action as well, as he strode into the end zone for a two-yard rushing touchdown that stretched the Rams’ lead to 21-3 with 10:46 to play in the second quarter.
With the game getting away from the Mountain Lions, they fought hard and dug deep trying to mount a comeback. Fulton found sophomore wide receiver Camari Murrary (2 rec, 74 yards, 1 TD) for a 53-yard touchdown pass that electrified the Mountain Lions’ home crowd, narrowing the lead to 21-10.
After a field goal later in the second quarter by Keaton with 2:17 to play in the first half, the Mountain Lions had gained significant momentum, as the Rams did not look as comfortable as they did before.
Needing an answer, senior quarterback Connor Jessop (16/32, 327 yards, 3 TD, 0 INT) of the Rams guided a masterful drive down the field, as the Rams’ offense went on a nine-play, 83-yard touchdown drive to close out the first half. Jessop found wide receiver Wanya Allen (2 rec, 57 yards, 1 TD) for a 30-yard dagger in the hearts of the Mountain Lions.
This gave the Rams a 28-13 halftime lead, and things would only get worse for the Mountain Lions from there on, as Allan’s touchdown reception seemed to take the Mountain Lions’ spirit out of the game.
The Rams would go on to score the first 21 more points in the second half to cap off a 28-0 run that clinched the road victory over the Mountain Lions. At the start of the second half, Lolley found the end zone for the second time in the game with a two-yard rushing touchdown that increased the Rams’ lead to 35-13 with 13:04 to play in the third quarter.
Just a few minutes later, wide receiver Hakeem Holland went right through the heart of the Mountain Lions’ defense in route to a 75-yard touchdown reception that silenced the crowd and put an exclamation point on the game, with the Rams now leading 42-13 still early in the third quarter.
Griffin would scamper into the end zone for the Rams’ third touchdown of the third quarter with his four-yard run that finished off the day’s scoring for the Rams, as they now held a 49-13 lead with 2:09 to play in the third quarter.
Fulton and the Mountain Lions would show a lot of heart later in the game, however, with his 16-yard touchdown pass to freshman wide receiver Tywan Pearce midway through the fourth quarter, but the Rams were still firmly in control with a 49-20 lead with 7:11 to play.
The Rams finished with an astonishing 573 yards of total offense (327 yards passing, 246 rushing) in route to 30 first downs.
On the defensive side, the Rams really stepped up and made their presence felt against Fulton and the Mountain Lions’ offense, holding them to 290 total yards, while allowing just 16 yards rushing.
Senior defensive end Myles Humphrey was a big reason why the Mountain Lions’ offense struggled, as he recorded four tackles to go along with his two tackles for loss, one sack, and two forced fumbles. Teammate Cameron Reynolds, a senior and inside linebacker, also wreaked havoc on the Mountain Lions’ offense, as he finished the game with six total tackles and one pass breakup.
Sophomore running back JaVaughn Burris was the Mountain Lions’ leading rusher on the day, as he carried the ball 10 times for 30 yards.
Converting on third down was something that the Rams particularly excelled at, getting first downs on 5/8 chances, while the Mountain Lions struggled in this department, going 3/12
It was clear that the Rams were trying to put the game away early in the second half so the Mountain Lions could not generate another comeback attempt.
Next Saturday, Oct. 7, the Rams will be aiming to improve their record to 5-0 on the season when they host West Liberty. Kickoff is at noon.
Anthony Bracken is the Sports Editor of The Picket. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org