CARROLLTON, Ga. - Bo Cordell and Xzanvion Smith established school records on the day, but the Tusculum football team could not overcome six turnovers in a 38-29 road loss at West Georgia, Saturday at University Stadium.
Cordell became Tusculum's all-time passing yardage leader, while Smith broke a single-game receiving yards record that has stood for over a dozen years.
Cordell went 41-of-66 for 504 yards and three touchdowns, but was intercepted a school record five times on the afternoon. Smith was Cordell's top target as he grabbed 14 catches for a school record 219 yards and two first half touchdowns.
UWG quarterback Austin Trainor passed for 187 yards and a touchdown, while also rushing for 48 yards and two scores. David Bailey led the UWG rushing efforts with his 82 yards on 15 carries and a touchdown, while Bobby Barum was the top receiver for his squad with five receptions for 94 yards.
Tusculum outgained the Wolves in total offensive yards by a 578-457 margin, but the Pioneers six turnovers were tied for the second most in school history.
In his 26-game career, Cordell has passed for 9,994 yards, surpassing the previous school record by All-America quarterback Corey Russell (9,887 yards from 2005-08). Cordell's yardage tally is also the third most in South Atlantic Conference history.
Smith's 219 receiving yards breaks the previous single-game best of 206 set by Antwain Glenn against Presbyterian in 2000. Ironically that was in a loss to a PC team that was coached by Darryl Dickey, who is now in his fourth year at the helm of the West Georgia program.
Similar to last week's game at Urbana, the Pioneer offense got out of the gate sluggishly, falling behind 14-0 early.
Cordell was picked off by Jake Tatum at the TC 14 in the first quarter. Two seven-yard rushes by David Bailey put the Wolves on the board first at the 4:35 mark of the period. West Georgia added a 32-yard touchdown pass from Trainor to Alex Macauley on the first play of the second quarter.
Tusculum bounced off the mat with a five-play, 63-yard drive capped by a 19-yard TD toss to Smith. Logan Cornelius' extra point sailed wide right as TC trailed 14-6.
West Georgia scored on its next possession when Joey Eliezer got behind the Tusculum secondary and hauled in a 49-yard TD strike from Dallas Dickey and a 21-6 advantage.
Tusculum drove deep into West Georgia territory on its next series, but the drive would stall at the UWG 18 and the Pioneers were stopped on fourth down and one.
With four minutes remaining before halftime, Cordell was intercepted by Donovan Jackson and returned 24 yards to the TC 21. It took the Wolves four plays to punch it into the end zone on a two-yard quarterback keeper by Trainor with 2:24 left on the clock and a 22-point lead for West Georgia.
Tusculum wasted little time to respond as the Pioneers covered 74 yards in six plays, with Cordell completing three straight passes to Smith covering 20 and 23 yards, before capping the drive with a six-yard TD pass. Cornelius' kick made it 28-13 UWG with 1:10 remaining in the first half.
West Georgia drove deep into Tusculum territory on its first possession of the second half, but Evan Dansby came p with an interception in the end zone.
The Pioneers then marched 75 yards before Cornelius booted home a 22-yard field goal to trim the deficit to 28-16.
After a three-and-out by West Georgia, the Pioneers scored again on a four-play, 66-yard drive, capped off by 25-yard TD catch by Chad Blakely from Cordell as the Pioneers now trailed 28-23 with 14:43 remaining in the game. The scoring pass would put Cordell over the career passing yards mark.
The Wolves followed with a 44-yard field goal by David Beckett to push their lead back to eight with 11:16 left in the game.
Tusculum went three-and-out on its next possession, but on the third play of the ensuing UWG series, Trainor was picked off by Kaytron Becton, who proceeded to return it 38 yards for a touchdown. The Pioneers' two-point conversion attempt failed, leaving the score 31-29 with 9:32 left to play.
West Georgia came up with a huge drive following the Tusculum score, going 62 yards in four plays, finished off by a 15-yard TD run by Trainor with 7:45 remaining in the game.
Tusculum drove it into West Georgia territory on its next two possessions, but the Wolves' defense came up with key stops to preserve the win. Cordell was intercepted twice in the final 6:43 of the game.
Defensively, the Pioneers were led by LiRonta Archie, who tallied a career-best 14 tackles, including eight in the first half. Brian Alexander added nine tackles, including two sacks, while Luke Harris finished with eight stops.
Cordell's 41 completions and 504 passing yards are the fourth most by a Pioneer, while his 66 pass attempts are tied for the second most in school history. Smith's 14 catches are also tied for the second most by a TC player and one shy of a school record.
Tusculum returns home next Saturday when they host 2011 NCAA Division II regional finalist North Greenville for a 6 p.m. contest at Pioneer Field.
Tusculum 0 13 3 13 - 29
West Georgia7 21 0 10 - 38
UWG - David Bailey 7 yd run (Davis Brackett kick)
UWG - Alex Macauley 32 yd pass from Austin Trainor (Davis Brackett kick)
TC - Xzanvion Smith 19 yd pass from Bo Cordell (Logan Cornelius kick failed)
UWG - Joey Eliezer 49 yd pass from Dallas Dickey (Davis Brackett kick)
Austin Trainor 2 yd run (Davis Brackett kick)
TC - Xzanvion Smith 7 yd pass from Bo Cordell (Logan Cornelius kick)
TC - Logan Cornelius 22 yd field goal
TC - Chad Blakely 25 yd pass from Bo Cordell (Logan Cornelius kick)
Davis Brackett 44 yd field goal
Kaytron Becton 38 yd interception return (Bo Cordell pass failed)
UWG - Austin Trainor 15 yd run (Davis Brackett kick)
First Downs 30 19
Rushes-Yards 23-74 50-213
Passing Yards 514 244
Passes Att-Comp-Int 66-41-5 27-19-2
Offensive Plays-Yards 9-588 77-457
Punt Returns-Yards 2-10 2-4
Kickoff Returns-Yards 5-135 4-86
Interception Returns-Yards 2-38 5-62
Punts (Number-Avg) 4-34.8 8-40.5
Fumbles-Lost 1-1 2-0
Penalties-Yards 5-50 16-146
Possession Time 23:57 36:03
Third-Down Conversions 6 of 14 6 of 16
Fourth-Down Conversions 0 of 2 0 of 0
Red-Zone Scores-Chances 3-4 3-4
Sacks By: Number-Yards 2-9 0-0
RUSHING: Tusculum-Chad Blakely 10-38; Bo Cordell 6-20; Brian Marshall 5-10; BJ Spradlin 2-6. West Georgia-David Bailey 15-82; Seth Hinsley 19-78; Austin Trainor 10-44; Quan Jones 2-8; Bobby Burum 1-5; Alex Macauley 1-2; TEAM 1-minus 1; Dallas Dickey 1-minus 5.
PASSING: Tusculum-Bo Cordell 41-66-5-514. West Georgia-Austin Trainor 16-24-2-187; Dallas Dickey 3-3-0-57.
RECEIVING: Tusculum-Xzanvion Smith 14-219; Ken Funnye 9-77; Brian Marshall 7-98; Wesley Powell 6-60; Johnathan Diliberto 2-17; Chad Blakely 1-25; BJ Spradlin 1-14; Kyle Dickey 1-4. West Georgia-Bobby Burum 5-94; Daniel Youssif 5-17; V.J. Hunt 3-29; Joey Eliezer 2-63; David Bailey 2-3; Alex Macauley 1-32; Randall Snell 1-6.