Football Uses Big Second Half to Knock Off VMI


LEXINGTON, Va. -- Catawba overcame a 10-0 halftime deficit to knock of NCAA I VMI 27-20 in football action on Saturday afternoon at Foster Stadium. The Catawba Indians move to 2-0 on the season with their first win over a Division I scholarship school defeating Charleston Southern 38-13 in 1997. The Keydets fall to 0-2.

Patrick O’Brien threw for 236 of his 261 yards after the first half and Sam Mobley caught five of his eight passes after the break for 165 yards. His 211 yards receiving was the second most in a single game in school history. Brandon Bunn set the record with 247 yards receiving at Wingate in 2010.

The Indians started the winning drive at its own 35 with 3:21 remaining. O’Brien connected with Keon West for 26 yards to the VMI 41 to get the drive started. On third down from the VMI 25, O’Brien tossed the go-ahead score to West with 42 ticks on the clock. Jeremy Addison sealed the win with an interception in the dying seconds.

VMI used a 56-yard run by Daz Palmer on its first possession to grab a 7-0 lead. The run capped an 82-yard drive. Grant Clemons added a 39-yard field goal early in the second quarter for a 10-0 edge, but missed on 40-yarder on the final play of the first half that left the lead at 10 points.

The Keydets were driving for another score on their first possession of the third quarter, but a fourth-down stand inside its own 10 sparked the Indians. Michael Peppers stuffed Palmer for no gain on a fourth-and-one at the Indian nine and the offense responded with a 91-yard drive to put Catawba’s first points on the board.

Mobley caught two passes from O’Brien for 36 and 42 yards to help move the ball to the Keydet one. Eamon Smart carried over from a yard out. After the defense forced a pair of three-and-outs, the Indians took the lead.

A 62-yard drive, mostly on the ground, gave the Indians the edge when Kenyatta Greene burst in from 26 yards out with 13:26 remaining. VMI tied the game at 13-all as Diaz had an 11-yard run and a 39-yard catch to set up another 39-yard field goal from Clemons.

Mobley and O’Brien quickly put the Indians back on top. On the first play of the ensuing drive, O’Brien found Mobley on a play that covered 66 yards to the VMI 15. Three plays later the duo hooked up for a 13-yard score and a 20-13 lead at the 10:08 mark.

VMI answered the score in a drive that went 81 yards in a span of 1:25. Rohan Martin had a 26-yard run and Alex Ramsey caught a 30-yard pass from Austin Coulling. Quan Myers ran in from 26-yards out to tie the score with 7:32 left.

Catawba totaled 415 yards of offense. O’Brien went 12-of-19 through the air for 261 yards and two touchdowns. West followed Mobley’s big day with four receptions for 62 yards and a score. Smart ran for 70- yards on 24 carries.

Palmer led the Keydets with 126 yards rushing, with 73 coming on the initial VMI drive. Coulling completed 15-of-34 passes for 199 yards. Palmer was also the top receiver for the Keydets with 82 yards on four catches.

Kyle Kitchens had seven stops for the Catawba defense which included a sack, his fourth of the season. He also forced a fumble and broke up two passes. Peppers and Trey Evans were also credited with seven tackles.

Catawba is on the road again next weekend as the Indians travel to face UNC Pembroke for a 7 pm kickoff on Saturday.

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