MOBILE, ALA. – The Presbyterian College football team closed out the 2016 season with a 31-7 loss on the road at FBS South Alabama Saturday night at Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobil, Ala. The Blue Hose cut the lead to 21-7 in the third quarter to make a game of it, but the Jaguars scored 10 in the fourth to take the 24-point win.
Head Coach Harold Nichols’s Take
“We were able to get some drives together but had two field goals blocked. When we were able to scoop and score off the fumble to make it 21-7, we had a couple of chances right there to make it a one score game, but we could never get it close enough and get over the hump.”
“A lot of credit goes to South Alabama, they’ve got an outstanding football program. Coach Jones and his staff do a great job coaching so I knew we’d have some difficulty at times. I’m really proud of Cole Garvin, USA quarterback, I’ve known him since he was born, I went to school with his dad at PC and played football together. Cole did a good job at quarterback for them tonight.”
“I thought our defense played lights out for a lot of the night. We gave up a big play early in the game, but I thought we fit the run better through the night and were able to create some turnovers. I was really proud of the way they played tonight.”
“We’ve had some injuries at the offensive line this season and I thought our depth came into play a little bit tonight. Our special teams and coverage units were pretty good tonight. USA has a dangerous returner in the back and I thought our guys did a good job stopping him.”
How It Happened
PC moved the ball well in the opening drive of the game, some of the highlights including a 16-yard catch to DarQuez Watson and a Ben Cheek 12-yard rush to put the Blue Hose on the South Alabama 12-yard line. The drive stalled with Brett Norton missing a 30-yard field goal attempt wide left.
South Alabama took over at its own 13, and on the third play, Xavier Johnson rushed 70 yards to take the Jaguars up 7-0 with 8:13 left in the first. That would be it as PC punted away twice and USA once, to end the first quarter at 7-0, South Alabama.
The Jaguars, who had the ball to end the first, used a 21-yard catch from Maaseiah Francis to reach the PC two-yard line, scoring on the next play and take the 14-0 lead, 14:04 in the second. USA went up 21-0 late in the second quarter off a 12-play 95-yard drive.
The Blue Hose reached the USA 32-yard line with six seconds to go in the half, but a Norton field goal attempt as time expired was blocked to keep PC off the board.
PC notched a touchdown with 8:29 left in the third quarter, with Rock Ya-sin recovering a South Alabama fumble, the first of his career, at the PC 39-yard line, taking it back 61 yards for the score to make it 21-7.
USA responded with a 30-yard field goal early in the fourth to make it 24-7. The Jaguars added a touchdown a couple of minutes later after Ben Cheek threw a pick-six to Jalen Thompson who ran it back 30 yards to take USA up by the final, 31-7 score.
Ben Cheek recorded 11 carriers in the first half and had a career-high 75 yards rushing. He finished with 21 carries for 136, becoming the second player this season to rush over 100 yards. From the air he was 11 of 24 for 78 yards with one interception.
Rock Ya-sin had a career day with a career-high seven tackles, and his first ever fumble recovery and return for a touchdown.
Ryan Brown forced his second fumble of his career, with Rock-Ya-sin recovering it for the first of his career, taking it 61 yards for the score.
The 197 yards rushing was second highest of the season, eclipsed only by the 217 yards at Campbell.
PC spread the passing around with six Blue Hose collecting at least one reception. Kyle Goddard and Joseph Purter each tied their career high with three receptions, with Goddard’s 30 total yards and long of 19 career bests as well.
Ben Cheek’s long rush of 25 yards was a career-high.
The fumble return was the longest since a 73-yard return by Ugonna Akoh last season against Western Carolina. It also marked the fifth of at least 50 yards in the last two seasons and was the fifth longest in PC’s Division I history.
PC has now recovered at least one opponent fumble the last three games in a row
The 65 total tackles marked the seventh time this season PC has recorded over 60.
For the Record
PC ends the season at 2-9 overall, while South Alabama improves to 5-5.