The Rams (8-0, 8-0 MEC) went on the road Saturday afternoon to take on the West Virginia Wesleyan Bobcats (4-5, 4-4 MEC) and came out with their eighth win of the season, winning by a 45-14 score. The Rams have been able to continue their early-season momentum into a sizable win streak, as they will remain undefeated for another week. With the loss, the Bobcats fall to 4-5 on the year.
The Rams’ offense had a successful outing, as they were averaging 7.7 yards per play. Senior quarterback Connor Jessop finished the day with 313 yards and three touchdown passes. Ryan Feiss, a senior wide receiver, was the main recipient, as he totaled five receptions for 109 yards and a touchdown.
Rams sophomore tight end DJ Cornish added six receptions for 92 yards and another touchdown. Senior running back Jabre Lolley was also the recipient of a 34-yard touchdown pass early in the second quarter.
Not to be outdone, the Rams’ rushing attack gained 141 yards just between the combo of Lolley and sophomore running back Patrick Griffin, causing many problems for the Bobcats’ defense.
Griffin gained 72 yards on 14 carries, good enough for a 2.8 yards per carry average, while Lolley gained 49 yards on 11 carries, earning a 4.5 yards per carry average.
The Rams’ defense had three sacks in a solid effort, as they allowed 338 total yards. Senior inside linebacker James Gupton secured his fourth sack of the season when he took down Bobcats senior quarterback Ryan Deal. Gupton also added four tackles in the game. Sophomore cornerback Chris Jones got his first sack on the season to go along with three solo tackles.
Deal also threw two interceptions for the Bobcats, as he was under pressure all game long. Rams outside linebacker Jared Austin, a sophomore, caught both interceptions thrown by Deal and had 82 return yards to help set up the Shepherd offense in better scoring positions.
The Rams’ defense performed well against the run, holding the Bobcats under 100 rushing yards for the game. The Wesleyan running back crew averaged just 1.7 yards per carry.
Rams head coach Monte Cater gave his comments after the game, through email, on what the team was worried about when preparing for West Virginia Wesleyan.
“[The] Biggest concern was their defense and how well they had played the last two games, especially against Notre Dame last week. They had given up very few points and held ND to 13 points. We needed to have a good mix between run and pass to keep them off balance.”
Cater also explained the defensive game plan that helped guide the Rams to victory.
“They had not thrown the ball particularly well, so we wanted to do all we could to take away their run game. The defense was really strong in this area and was a big key in the win.”
Coach Cater essentially was able to have his defense key in on the Wesleyan ground attack with supreme confidence in the Rams secondary.
Shepherd will look to continue their win streak as they will have to prepare for the University of Charleston in a match up at home Saturday, Nov. 4, at noon on Senior/ Military appreciation day.
Vaughn Brewer is a Sports Writer for The Picket. He can be reached at Vbrewe01@rams.shepherd.edu.