ROCKY MOUNT, N.C. - The NC Wesleyan College Football Team fell 35-19 to Shenandoah University (Va.) in their home opener on Saturday as their second half rally fell short.
SU (1-0) jumped out to a 21-0 halftime lead after a scoreless first quarter as they took advantage of some Bishop turnovers. However, NCWC got the momentum back in the second half coming out to score 19 straight points over the third and 4th quarters to trail just 21-19 with 14 minutes left in the 4th.
Wesleyan first began their comeback with sophomore WR Tyler Roberts scoring on an 85-yard catch-and-run pass from senior QB Donielle Totten to get the Bishops on the board late in the third. Senior RB Darian Curley then punched in the next 6 points for the Bishops as he scored on a 3-yard run to complete a 9-play 85 yard drive as Wesleyan got to within 21-13 with 3:49 to play in the third.
Sophomore WR Nasheed Peoples then got the Bishops to within two at 21-19 with his speed as he raced past the Hornet defenders for a 68-yard touchdown reception from Totten with 14:25 to play. Unfortunately, that would be all the scoring NCWC could muster as SU would increase their lead to 28-19 as they completed an 83-yard drive with 7 minutes to play. SU then tacked on another insurance TD with 2:24 to play.
Curley led the Bishops with 93 yards on the ground while Roberts caught 3 balls for 127 yards as they both recorded touchdowns. Sophomore WR Jai Irvin also caught 6 passes for 85 yards. Totten threw for 209 yards, out-pacing the Hornets while the Bishop offense also barely out-gained SU 447-432. Unfortunately, the SU defense was able to intercept Totten five times giving the Hornets an advantage throughout the day.
Defensively, senior linebacker and captain Antonio Johnson led Wesleyan with 13 tackles while senior safety Marcus Leggett recorded nine and one for a loss. Senior middle linebacker Isaiah Williams also made 6 tackles and intercepted a pass. Defensive tackles Jonathan Chasten and R.J. Smalls also recorded one sack apiece and combined for 4 tackles-for-loss. Junior CB Eddie Graham made seven tackles and broke up 4 passes as well.
The Bishops fall to 1-1 with the hard-luck loss and will next enjoy their bye week before traveling down to Florida on Sept. 28 to battle FCS Div. 1 foe Stetson University at 1:00 PM.