Tusculum rallies past Football depite record day from Johnson

SALISBURY, NC -- Tusculum’s Corey Russell (Speedwell, TN) threw a pair of fourth-quarter touchdown passes as the Pioneers rallied for a 21-20 win over host Catawba in South Atlantic Conference football action on Saturday afternoon at Shuford Stadium and Kirkland Field.

Tusculum improves to 5-3 overall and 2-2 in the SAC, wile Catawba falls to 4-3 and 1-3.Trailing 17-7 late in the third quarter, Russell helped march Tusculum 77 yards in 10 plays to trim the deficit to 17-14 with 14:11 remaining. Russell kept the drive alive with a key fourth down completion to Travis Oliver (Belton, SC) at the Catawba 27. The duo would connect again two plays later on a 22-yard score. Catawba added a field goal by D.J. Gill (Orlando, FL) from 20 yards out with 4:43 left, but Russell quickly drove the Pioneers for the winning score.

Starting at their own 14, Patrick King (Warner Robbins, GA) ran twice for 17 yards then Russell threw three straight completions leading to the score. His first went to King for 10 yards and the final two to Jamichael Caldwell (Chattanooga, TN) covering 35 and 24 yards. Glen Black’s (Bristol, TN) point-after put the Pioneers up 21-20 with 2:23 left. Catawba drove to the Tusuclum 28 in the final minute, but after two incomplete passes, Octavius Love (Wellford, SC) intercepted Brad Roach (Williamston, NC) on third down with 48 seconds to play. King led the Tusculum offense, running for 199 yards on 21 carries. Russell completed 19-of-33 passes for 155 yards and three scores. Caldwell made seven catches for 95 yards. Catawba was held to just 18 yards rushing against the nation’s #5 rush defense, while Roach passed for 317 yards, completing 24-of-45 attempts.

Brent Johnson (Hickory, NC) tied a Catawba record with 12 catches for 196 yards. The 196 yards is second only to Ike Hill’s record of 215 set in 1968. Tusculum jumped on top in the opening quarter as Russell and Caldwell connected from 19-yards out at the 4:29 mark. Roach tossed a 15-yard pass to Joe Mitchell (Tallahassee, FL) with 7:05 left in the first half to send the teams to the break tied at 7-7. Catawba took its first lead midway through the third quarter as Roach threw a 22-yard strike to Lance Johnson (Hickory, NC) with a 4:35 remaining. Tusculum would fumble the first snap following the kickoff and Catawba recovered at the Pioneer 20. The turnover led to a 30 yard field goal by Gill and set the stage for the Pioneer comeback. Box Score #####

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