Football remains undefeated with 28-14 win at Presbyterian CLINTON, SC -- Catawba College, ranked sixth in the AFCA Coaches Poll, defeated host and 22nd-ranked Presbyterian 28-14 in South Atlantic Conference football action at Bailey Memorial Stadium on Saturday afternoon. The Indians out-scored Presbyterian 21-7 in the second half to earn its 20th straight regular-season victory and 14th straight in SAC play. Catawba improves to 4-0 overall and 2-0 in the SAC, while the Blue Hose fall to 1-2 and 0-1. Catawba's defense did not post a fourth consecutive shutout, but did hold Presbyterian, who was averaging over 26 points a game, to a pair of touchdowns. And though Harlon Hill candidate Todd Cunningham did toss two touchdown passes, Catawba intercepted him twice times and held him to just 299 yards. It was the third straight win for Catawba over the Blue Hose, the first time that has happened during the series that dates back to 1933.
Presbyterian got on the board first, capitalizing on Ben Capers' interception at the Tribe 25-yard line. It took nine plays, but finally on third down from the three, Cunningham found D.J. Humphries for the game's first score with 4:56 left in the opening quarter. Catawba came right back, marching 65 yards on nine plays, mostly on the ground, culminating on Rodney Wallace's (Bamberg, SC) 3-yard run with 12:20 left in the half. The Blue Hose had a chance to take the halftime lead, but after being iced with three straight Catawba time-outs, Chandler Wood missed on a 27-yard field goal.
The Indians received the second half kickoff and drove 80 yards on 11 plays, ending with a Luke Samples (Elkin, NC) 10-yard pass to Nick Means (Thomasville, NC). After holding the Blue Hose, the Tribe would again pound at the Blue Hose. Catawba went ahead 20-7, after an 11-play, 57-yard march that Wallace capped with a one-yard plunge.
The Indians welcomed back pre-season All-SAC offensive lineman Cole Beane (Belmont, NC), who had missed the opening three games due to disciplinary reasons. After struggling to move the ball on the ground last week at Wingate, Beane's returned helped the line pave the way for 338 yards on the ground, including 205 in the second half.
After Catawba took the 20-7 lead, Cunningham responded quickly. In less than three minutes he moved the Blue Hose 76 yards in eight plays to trim the deficit to 20-14 with five seconds left in the third quarter. Catawba would respond again. The Tribe would go 73 yards on 10 plays to regain a two touchdown edge. Samples converted a key third down with a 20-yard strike to Cedric Squirewell (Ridgeway, SC), then two plays later Anthony Coulson (Kernersville, NC) burst 29 yards for the score. Samples two-point pass to Arnold Gaither (Turnersburg, NC) was successful with 10:14 to play, putting Catawba ahead 28-14.
Catawba's defense then took over. Corey Reese (Dunwoody, GA) intercepted Cunningham on the next possession and the unit stopped the Blue Hose on downs inside the Tribe five 5:16 remaining. Presbyterian had another chance after a Catawba interception, but Jamel Jackson (Concord, NC) picked off Cunningham at the one-yard line and the Tribe ran out the clock.
Wallace led the way for Catawba, rushing for 145 yards and two scores. Samples, a red-shirt freshman making his first start, completed only 4-of-14 passes for 34 yards, but threw one score and ran for 68 yards. Cunningham completed 25-of-42 passes for Presbyterian, finding Terry Meng four times for 114 yards. The Blue Hose were held to 47 yards on the ground.