SALISBURY, N.C. - Bobby Morrison ran for 158 yards and the Catawba College defense held Tusculum College to two field goals in a 14-6 South Atlantic Conference victory Saturday night at Shuford Stadium.
The Indians (3-1, 1-1 SAC) limited the Pioneers (1-3, 0-1 SAC) to just 312 yards of total offense, well below Tusculum's season average of 517.33 yards that ranked ninth in Division II coming into the contest. Catawba finished with 326 total yards, including 230 on the ground on 55 carries.
The scoring output was the lowest for Tusculum since a 23-3 loss to Carson-Newman on November 11, 2006.
Bo Cordell completed 33-of-58 passes for 254 yards for Tusculum, which came up empty on three possessions inside the Catawba 30. The loss spoiled a strong performance by the Pioneer defense, which held the Indians to just 72 yards of offense in the second half.
The game was delayed for one hour, 40 minutes with 14:47 left in the fourth quarter due to lightning and rain in the area. Catawba led 14-3 when the game was halted, and held on for the victory despite yielding a field goal to Tusculum with 6:07 left.
The Indians took the opening kickoff and drove 65 yards in seven plays, all on the ground, for the game's first touchdown. Xavier Bond punched in from the one-yard line for the score, and Chad Hollandsworth followed with the extra point for a 7-0 Catawba lead with 11:19 left in the first quarter.
After gaining just 15 yards on their first possession, the Pioneers marched 46 yards in nine plays to get on the board on a 28-yard field goal by Logan Cornelius with 54 seconds left in the first quarter. The key play on the drive was a 23-yard completion from Cordell to Xzanvion Smith on third-and-18 from the Tusculum 45.
The Tusculum defense came up with a big play on Catawba's next drive, as Luke Harris forced a fumble by Morrison at the Pioneer 14, and Kaytron Becton fell on the loose ball at the 7.
Following a Pioneer punt, the Indians moved 74 yards in nine plays to take a 14-3 lead on a 20-yard touchdown pass from BJ Sherrill to Nate Charest with 3:14 left in the half. Sherrill went 4-for-4 for 56 yards on the drive, including a 26-yard completion to Charest that set Catawba up in Tusculum territory.
Cordell drove the Pioneers 52 yards in the final minutes of the half, but the drive ended at the Indian 25 on an fourth-down incompletion with 24 seconds left and Catawba ran out the clock to take a 14-3 lead to the locker room.
The teams played a scoreless third quarter, but Tusculum had two chances to get on the scoreboard. The Pioneers used a 32-yard punt return by Marshall to set up at the Indian 13, but Cornelius misfired on a 25-yard field goal with 8:02 left in the quarter.
On their next drive, the Pioneers drove 52 yards in 13 plays but were stopped on three straight incompletions at the Catawba 28 to turn the ball over on downs with 2:48 left in the third quarter.
Following the first play of the fourth quarter, the game was stopped due to lightning and rain in the area. The teams were forced to wait for the weather to clear, and resumed play after a delay of one hour and 40 minutes.
Catawba was forced to punt after the game restarted, but got the ball right back when Cordell was intercepted by Jumal Rolle at the Catawba 35 with 13:43 left in the game.
After regaining possession at its own 9 following a Catawba punt, Tusculum embarked on its best drive of the night. The Pioneers moved 81 yards in 13 plays and came away with a 27-yard field goal from Cornelius which cut the Indian lead to 14-6 with 6:07 remaining. A sneak by Cordell on fourth-and-1 at the Pioneer 40 enabled the drive to continue.
The Indians turned to their ground game and chewed up over 4 1/2 minutes of the clock, but Tusculum stopped Catawba at the Pioneer 37 and got the ball back at their 13 with 1:23 remaining. Back-to-back completions to Wesley Powell moved the ball to the Pioneer 32 with 50 seconds left, but three straight incomplete passes turned the ball over to the Indians with 30 seconds to go.
Powell finished with a career-high 10 receptions for 63 yards, while Smith added seven catches for a game-high 82 yards to surpass 1,000 career receiving yards. Justin Houston added four catches for 27 yards, and Chad Blakely and Marshall added three receptions apiece.
Bond finished with 63 yards on 19 carries and a touchdown for the Indians, while Charest made five catches for 68 yards and a score. Sherrill went 8-for-10 for 82 yards and a score for Catawba and added 11 yards on the ground on eight rushes.
On defense, Deres Benn led the Pioneers with 10 tackles, followed by Harris and Cashaud Lyons with eight tackles apiece. Tra Ingram had a team-high eight stops for the Indians, whose secondary broke up eight passes.
Tusculum will be back home at Pioneer Field next Saturday against Brevard in the annual Homecoming game. Kickoff against the Tornados is scheduled for 2 p.m. at Pioneer Field.
Tusculum 3 0 0 3 - 6
Catawba 7 7 0 0 - 14
CAT - Xavier Bond 1 yd run (Chad Hollandsworth kick)
TC - Logan Cornelius 28 yd field goal, 9-46
CAT - Nate Charest 20 yd pass from BJ Sherrill ( Hollandsworth kick)
TC - Logan Cornelius 27 yd field goal
First Downs 20 17
Passing (Att-Com-Int) 58-33-1 11-9-0
Yds. Passing 254 96
Yds. Rushing 58 230
Total Offense 312 326
Fumbles Lost 0 0
Penalties 3-20 8-91
Punt Avg. 3-43.7 6-37.3
RUSHING: Tusculum-Brian Marshall 5-26; Bo Cordell 5-18; Chad Blakely 5-7;
BJ Spradlin 2-7. Catawba-Bobby Morrison 24-158; Xavier Bond 19-63; BJ Sherrill
8-11; Nico Gianfrate 1-5; TEAM 3-minus 7.
PASSING: Tusculum-Bo Cordell 33-58-1-254. Catawba-BJ Sherrill 8-10-0-82;
Richard Shuping 1-1-0-14.
RECEIVING: Tusculum-Wesley Powell 10-63; Xzanvion Smith 7-82; Justin
Houston 4-27; Chad Blakely 3-27; Brian Marshall 3-24; Kyle Dickey 2-9; Ken
Funnye 2-1; BJ Spradlin 1-21; Johnathan Diliberto 1-0. Catawba-Nate Charest
5-68; Tyler Hamilton 3-26; Diante Hodges 1-2.