CLINTON, S.C. - The Presbyterian College football team scored 21 unanswered points in the third and fourth quarters to tie No. 8 Wofford, but a Terriers touchdown in the final minute gave the visitors a win in both teams’ season opener at Bailey Memorial Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
PC falls to 0-1 on the year and will host North Greenville on Saturday, September 10, at 1:30 p.m. Wofford starts the season at 1-0.
After rallying from a 28-14 deficit in the fourth quarter to sit seven points back, the Blue Hose tied up the game on a Lance Byrd (Jacksonville, Fla.) four-yard touchdown run with 5:32 remaining to cap a 21-point run.
The teams each traded a possession before Wofford took over on its own 44 with 2:21 left. The Terriers took advantage of two long runs to set up a 26-yard scoring pass from Mitch Allen to Jeff Ashley that put Wofford ahead with 51 seconds on the clock. PC began an answering drive with a 17-yard completion to Patrick McKoy (Fayetteville, N.C.), but an interception sealed the result.
PC outgained Wofford through the air, 209 yards to 182, and picked up a total of 326 yards.
Byrd led the PC ground attack with 62 yards and a touchdown, while Seth Moreland (Conway, S.C.) added 51 yards and a score as well. Under center, Ryan Singer (Dunedin, Fla.) went nine-for-18 with a touchdown and 121 yards while Brandon Miley (Wilmington, N.C.) completed 10 of 18 passes for 88 yards. Each quarterback threw one interception.
Michael Ruff (Whitmire, S.C.) grabbed six passes for 50 yards and McKoy led the PC receiving corps in yardage, with 66.
Defensively, Justin Bethel (Blythewood, S.C.) led the team with eight solo tackles and an interception while also assisting on three tackles. Brian Davis (Charlotte, N.C.) collected PC’s lone sack and recorded two tackles for a loss, part of PC’s eight on the day.
The Blue Hose grabbed the first lead of the game on their third possession. A Mark Williams (Lithia Springs, Ga.) punt return put PC in Wofford territory, where three rushes from Ruff and Byrd brought PC 28 yards from paydirt. From there, Moreland only needed one play to scamper down the right side to put the Blue Hose ahead, 7-0.
Wofford struck early in the second quarter, using the option to string rushes together en route to an Eric Breitenstein score. Breitenstein ran for 107 yards and Donovan Johnson also recorded 100, part of Wofford’s 380 total rushing yards.
The Terriers turned an interception on the next series into a touchdown via a Mitch Allen seven-yard rush to take the lead, 14-7. Wofford would take the lead into halftime before scoring on the first possession of the third quarter. A handoff to Lavadrick Farrar looked like a run, but Farrar pulled back and threw a pass over the top to Jeff Ashley for a 44-yard touchdown to lead 21-7.
Bethel snuffed out a Wofford drive shortly after the score with his first interception of the season and ran for a 34-yard return, but the Blue Hose could not capitalize.
Wofford scored once more in the quarter, a 50-yard completion to Andrew Young to go ahead, 28-7.
Down by 21, the Blue Hose began to mount their comeback with a touchdown pass in the final minute of the third quarter. The 14-play, 47-yard drive saw Singer connect with four different receivers and Moreland and Byrd contributed rushes before a floating Singer pass to the right corner of the end zone found Joey Gilkey (Woodstock, Ga.) from four yards out to cut the Wofford lead in half going into the final quarter.
The PC defense forced a three-and-out to start the fourth and Singer began a 49-yard drive. The quarterback took a late hit on a roughing the passer penalty to set up a Demarcus Rouse (North Augusta, Ga.) goal-line dive to pull PC within seven with 10:15 left in the game, 28-21.
Wofford began a march down the field but PC cut the drive short as Donelle Williams jumped on a backfield fumble to give the Blue Hose possession on the Terriers’ 47-yard line.
PC took full advantage of the opportunity, setting up Byrd’s tying score to complete the comeback.
The team returns to action at Bailey Memorial Stadium on Saturday against North Greenville. The game is slated for a 1:30 p.m. start.