Tusculum's Aerial Attack Proves Too Much For Catawba in 43-25 Loss


GREENEVILLE, TN -- Bo Cordell threw for 424 yards and three scores to lead Tusculum to a 43-25 win over visiting Catawba in South Atlantic Conference football action on Saturday afternoon at Pioneer Field.  The Pioneers improve to 3-2 overall and 1-1 in the SAC, while the Catawba Indians fall to 3-2 and 1-2.

Tusculum used a pair of miscues by Catawba to take control to start the second half.  The first came when Cole Waddell blocked a Catawba punt to set the Pioneers up on the Indians’ one-yard-line.  Isaac Robinson scored for the Pioneers to give the hosts a 30-18 lead at the 8:40 mark.  Catawba fumbled on its next possession and Cordell completed a 24-yard scoring pass to Johnathan Diliberto to up the margin to 37-18.

Both teams scored a fourth-quarter touchdown.  Robinson scored his second rushing touchdown early in the quarter for Tusculum.  Danny O’Brien threw a 44-yard pass to Joe Watson with 51 seconds remaining to cap the scoring.

The Pioneers totaled 497 yards on the day.  Cordell completed 28-of-43 passes with the three touchdowns.  Justin Houston caught 11 balls for 114 yards, while Deon Hicks totaled 108 yards on five catches with two scores.

O’Brien went 37-of-55 through the air for Catawba for 306 yards.  He threw a pair of touchdowns and was intercepted twice.  Nate Charest had eight receptions with Carlos Tarrats making seven catches.  Cary Littlejohn ran for 64 yards, while David Burgess added another 62.  The Indians had 435 total yards on the day.

Catawba scored first as the Indians took advantage of a failed faked punt on the opening Tusculum possession.  Littlejohn jump-started the scoring drive with a 15-yard run then O’Brien threw a 17-yard pass to Tyler Hamilton to the Tusculum eight.  Littlejohn would get the touchdown, running in from two-yards out.  Mike Sheehan ran in a two-point conversion and Catawba was up 8-0 just over five minutes into the game.

Tusculum answered back as Cordell completed six passes on the scoring drive.  The biggest gain went to Houston for 30 yards to the Catawba 11.  On the next play, Cordell found Hicks for the 11-yard score.  The point-after was blocked leaving Catawba up 8-6.

The teams would trade field goals with Tusculum’s Logan Cornelius connecting from 24 yards and Catawba’s Troy Mitchell hitting form 32 yards to keep the Indians up 11-9 midway through the second quarter.  Cordell came up with a big play with the Pioneers backed up and facing a third-and-19.  He was able to find Johnathan Diliberto for 40 yards and a first down at midfield.  The duo later hooked up on a 22-yard pass to the Tribe seven and Fernando Smith ran it in from there and the Pioneers would lead 16-11.

Tusculum turned an interception by LiRonta Archie on Catawba’s next drive into a score.  Hicks caught his second scoring pass of the day from Cordell, covering 18 yards, to push the Pioneer lead to 23-11.  Catawba was able to answer right before the half as O’Brien threw a 12-yard pass to Burgess with just 18 seconds remaining before the break to make it 23-18 at the half.

Jason Taylor and Terence Williams each had eight tackles on defense for Catawba.  Jalen Forrest had a sack and another stop for a loss, while Malachi Hanes intercepted a pass.

Catawba stays on the road next week, traveling to Tusculum for a 1:30 p.m. kickoff.

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