CLINTON, S.C. – The Presbyterian College football team started off Big South Conference play with a bang on Saturday afternoon, defeating the visiting VMI Keydets in a convincing 49-35 victory at Bailey Memorial Stadium.
PC improves to 2-4 overall and opens league action at 1-1. The Blue Hose will stay at home for next Saturday’s Homecoming matchup against Point at 2 p.m. VMI falls to 1-6 on the year and 0-2 in the Big South. The Keydets next play at Coastal Carolina on Saturday, October 26, at 6 p.m.
With the result, PC set a new program record for points in a Big South Conference game. The team’s 49 points eclipsed 45 points scored against Charleston Southern on November 19, 2011.
PC erased a 7-0 VMI lead early in the game with 14 points in the second quarter and 21 in the third en route to the victory.
The game served as a coming out party for true freshman quarterback Heys McMath (Savannah, Ga.). In his collegiate debut on Saturday, McMath threw for 322 yards on a 21-for-33 effort with two touchdowns and zero interceptions. The freshman’s yardage total ranks seventh in PC’s Division I history and falls nine yards shy of Brandon Miley’s 331-yard performance against Gardner-Webb in 2008 for most PC passing yards in a Big South game.
Tobi Antigha (Tampa, Fla.) found himself on the receiving end of seven of McMath’s passes and set a new career-high with 136 receiving yards while hauling in two touchdowns. Antigha also ran for a 39-yard touchdown late in the game. Jeremiah McKie (Mauldin, S.C.) also set a career high with 107 yards on four catches and returned the opening second half kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown.
Blake Roberts (Cumming, Ga.) led the PC rushing attack with a career-high 77 yards on 17 attempts. The Blue Hose racked up 535 yards of offense for the day, the most in the 2013 season.
Keyadd Miller (Fort Mill, S.C.) registered a sack in the first half for the defense, one of PC’s four on the day. Ugonna Akoh (Athens, Ga.), Joshua Polk (Lithonia, Ga.) and Curtis Bey (Columbia, S.C.) each tallied a sack and Akoh led the defense with two tackles for a loss. The Blue Hose forced two turnovers and committed zero of their own. Ed Britt (Greensboro, N.C.) paced the team with five solo tackles while DaRon Dickey (Greenville, S.C.) and Shonquille Byers (Gaffney, S.C.) also each contributed five total tackles.
The first 10 minutes of the game passed without a score before VMI broke through first. After a PC punt pinned the Keydets at their own one-yard line, VMI marched 99 yards and opened the scoring with a two-yard run from Derrick Ziglar. The score gave the visitors a 7-0 lead heading into the second quarter and marked Ziglar’s first of two rushing touchdowns. The VMI back finished the day with 126 yards on 19 attempts.
PC wasted no time in the next quarter getting on the scoreboard. McMath capped a 73-yard drive with a beautiful arcing pass to Antigha, who dragged his feet in the endzone for a 12-yard touchdown. The play marked the first score of McMath’s collegiate career and tied the game with 14:29 left in the second quarter, 7-7.
The Blue Hose found the endzone once more before the close of the opening half. The offense traveled 79 yards and Demarcus Rouse (North Augusta, S.C.) took the Blue Hose one yard further for a PC touchdown to give the home team a 14-7 lead 40 seconds before the halftime break. A 36-yard pass to McMath to McKie on the one-yard line set up Rouse’s short push to paydirt.
After PC blocked a field goal to end the first half, the Blue Hose received the opening kickoff and took immediate advantage, as McKie returned the kick 97 yards for a touchdown. The play marked the team’s first kickoff return for a touchdown this season and McKie’s second return for a score after a punt return touchdown against Brevard on September 7.
VMI answered on its next drive. Ziglar and new quarterback A.J. Augustine took VMI down the field and Augustine found Samuel Patterson on a 20-yard touchdown to make it a one-possession game, 21-14. Patterson caught two touchdown passes for 161 yards on seven receptions.
A missed field goal gave the Keydets the ball on their own 20 but the visitors would not hold the ball for long. Justin Antolik (Cumming, Ga.) stripped the ball out of Ziglar’s hand and Ed Britt (Greensboro, N.C.) recovered the fumble to start a PC drive on the VMI 24.
It took four plays for PC to find the endzone on a one-yard McMath sneak, the freshman’s first career rushing score. The Blue Hose then led 28-14 with 4:43 left in the third.
McMath and the PC offense scored once more before the end of the quarter. McMath found Antigha on a near carbon copy of their touchdown pass from the second quarter, this time hooking up for a 16-yard touchdown throw with 14 seconds in the third quarter to extend PC’s lead, 35-14. The Blue Hose needed only eight plays to go 57 yards, aided by a 19-yard Roberts rush.
Ziglar responded with a two-yard rush to cut PC’s lead back to 14 before the Blue Hose picked up their sixth touchdown of the day. PC traveled 62 yards and capped the six-play drive with a three-yard rush from Seth Moreland (Conway, S.C.) to give PC a 42-21 advantage.
Patterson grabbed his second touchdown pass of the game with 4:32 remaining, capping a 10-play, 65-play drive. The Keydets weren’t finished, going 98 yards to score with 1:01 remaining thanks to a 61-yard touchdown pass from Augustine to Matthew Nichols.
PC’s Joey Gilkey (Woodstock, Ga.) recovered the onside kick and, not content to run out the clock, the Blue Hose offense turned to Antigha again as the receiver ran 39 yards for a score. The play marked Antigha’s third touchdown of the day and PC led by the game’s eventual final tally, 49-35.
VMI quarterback A.J. Augustine went 15-for-21 with 259 yards and three touchdowns after starter Eric Kordenbrock left the game with an injury in the first half. Kordenbrock threw for 141 yards before his exit. Defensively, Logan Staib led the Keydets with six solo tackles and eight total tackles.
The Presbyterian College of Zeta Tau Alpha held its annual “Pink Out” day at the game, raising money and awareness for breast cancer research.