CLINTON, S.C. – The Presbyterian College football team got a three-touchdown day from Ben Cheek to end the season with a 31-21 victory over Gardner-Webb on Saturday afternoon at Bailey Memorial Stadium on Senior Day. PC finishes 2017 with a 4-7 overall record and a 1-4 mark in Big South action.
Head Coach Tommy Spangler’s Take:
“It was kind of back-and-forth to start, which was not shocking. I think they have a good team and when we are playing well we have a good team. We went in down 7-3 at the half but I felt pretty good about where we were. I felt like we could move it and felt like we could continue to stop them and that’s what happened in the second half. We put some drives together and scored some points and got some breathing room. I’m just pleased with the overall resiliency of the team and the way that the season has gone. We won four games and four is two more than last year.”
How It Happened
Both teams were able to put points on the board in the opening quarter. Gardner-Webb scored first with Devin Mines intercepting a PC pass to set up a 13-yard touchdown run by Tyrell Maxwell one play later to give GWU a 7-0 lead. PC countered on the ensuing drive with a 32-yard field goal by Brett Norton to pull closer at 7-3. The score would remain there through the first half, as the defenses controlled most of the second quarter.
PC opened the second half with a bang on a 78-yard touchdown run by Torrance Marable, the longest play by this season, to give the Blue Hose a 10-7 lead. PC added to the lead on its ensuing drive, going 70 yards in eight plays and taking 4:51 off the clock with Ben Cheek finding the end zone from eight yards out to push the advantage to 17-7 midway through the third quarter. It was Cheek again that crossed the goal line on PC’s next drive, this time on a five-yard run, to extend the lead to 24-7.
GWU cut in to the lead with a 50-yard touchdown run by Maxwell late in the fourth quarter to make it 24-14. PC need just one play to answer though, as Cheek scored his third touchdown of the game with a 46-yard run to push the score to 31-14. Gardner-Webb would tack on a score late on a 25-yard pass from Maxwell to Brody Rollins for the eventual final score of 31-21.
Torrance Marable rushed for a career-high 186 rushing yards, his fifth 100-yard rushing game of the season. The 186 rushing yards are tied for the second-most rushing yards in a single game in PC’s Division I history, matching Darrell Bridges’s 186 against Coastal Carolina in 2015.
Marable finishes the season with 1,038 rushing yards, just the second player in PC’s D1 era to rush for 1,000 yards in a season and the first freshman to do so. Darrell Bridges was the first to do it, rushing for a PC Division I single-season record 1,065 yards in 2015.
Nick Moss led the Blue Hose defense with a season-high 12 tackles, including 1.0 sack and 1.0 tackle for loss. Moss also blocked a field goal attempt in the first quarter, PC’s sixth blocked kick of the season, to prevent a GWU score.
- Ben Cheek, playing in his final game at PC, came off the bench to rush for a career-high three touchdowns to lead the Blue Hose on the afternoon. He is the first PC player to rush for three touchdowns in a game since 2012 and the first PC quarterback to rush for three touchdowns in a game in PC’s Division I era.
- Cheek was perfect passing on the afternoon, completing all eight pass attempts for 122 yards. He also rushed for 96 yards on 11 attempts, giving him 218 yards of total offense on the day.
- DaShawn Davis led PC in receiving again, hauling in five receptions for 30 yards. He finishes the season having caught at least four passes in each of his last eight games. With the five receptions, Davis finishes the season with 41 receptions, becoming the first PC player with back-to-back 40-reception seasons since Tobi Antigha in 2013-14.
- Grant Beidel totaled six tackles in his final game at PC, giving him 103 tackles for the season, tied for the third-most in a single season in PC’s D1 era, making him the fifth player in PC’s Division I history with 100 tackles in a season. Beidel ends his career with 208 tackles, the fourth-most in PC’s Division I era.
- Rock Ya-Sin recorded seven tackles and two pass breakups in the victory. The junior corner now has 13 passes defended on the year, a PC Division I single-season record, and 24 passes defended for his career, tied for the most in PC’s Division I era.
- PC recorded 4.0 sacks in the win, tied for a season-high. PC also managed 4.0 sacks against Charleston Southern earlier this season.
- The Blue Hose had three fumble recoveries in the game, the most in a game since 2012 when PC recovered three fumbles at Georgia Tech.