Daniels, Braves Run Over Glenville State
PEMBROKE – UNCP matched a two-year-old school record with five rushing touchdowns, including a program-best four scores by Travis Daniels, in the midst of a second half comeback effort that pushed the Braves past visiting Glenville State, 42-34, on Saturday afternoon at Grace P. Johnson Stadium.
Daniels, who came into the weekend as the nation's No. 1 rusher, carried the ball 21 times for 147 yards for UNCP (3-1), while also hauling in a pair of catches for 35 yards. Backfield mate Damonte Terry rushed for 45 yards on 10 carries and an additional score as well. Quarterback Luke Charles threw for 204 yards and a touchdown on 18-of-29 passing with one interception, while receiver Te'vell Williams caught four passes for 40 yards and a key fourth quarter touchdown.
Linebacker Fred Williams, who came within one tackle (18) of matching a school record last week against Wingate, registered 16 against the Pioneers (1-3) on Saturday, while fellow stalwart Darcus Elliott turned in a season-best 14 tackles. Pembroke native Justin Bullard and Fayetteville native DeVante Bush each recovered fumbles, while true freshman L.J. Stroman tallied his first career interception to stop a late comeback attempt by the visitors.
Joe Mesadieu (27 carries, 121 yards, TD) and Kareem Alexander (19-111, TD) each turned in 100-yard rushing games for Glenville State who also got 276 passing yards on 22-of-39 passing from Darold Hughes. The Pioneers, who captured a triple overtime victory at Fairmont State last week, dropped contests to nationally-ranked Carson-Newman and North Alabama in weeks one and two.
With Saturday's performance, Daniels also broke a pair of career records as well, surpassing former teammate Rashon Kennedy atop UNCP's career rushing yards and rushing touchdowns list. The Washington native has now carried the ball 377 times for 2,375 yards and 25 touchdowns in 3-plus years in the Black and Gold.
"I am very happy for our guys to find a way to come out with a victory," said UNCP head coach Pete Shinnick. "When you go through what we went through last week (in the overtime loss to Wingate), it's easy to start doubting, to start wondering and to start questioning things. Glenville State played a great game and we had trouble stopping them. The thing I liked though is that our defense kept fighting and kept scratching to get the ball back for our offense."
Glenville State scored touchdowns on three of its four first-quarter drives and seemed to set the tone of the ballgame by driving 95 yards on 11 plays midway through the period en route to a 14-0 lead. UNCP answered by driving 71 yards on 11 plays on the ensuing drive to cut its deficit in half, but the Pioneers stretched their lead back out to 14 early in the second quarter when Alexander capped a 16-play, 69-yard scoring drive with a 1-yard plunge. Daniels, however, scored the second of his four touchdowns midway through the second quarter to bring UNCP to within a touchdown heading into the halftime break.
The Braves gained just five yards on the opening possession for either team in the second half, but took advantage of a special teams miscue by the Pioneers to set themselves up at the visitors' 21-yard line. Two plays later, Daniels would score on a 7-yard run up the middle to bring the hosts to within one, but a fumbled snap on the extra-point attempt kept the Black and Gold from knotting up the score.
Down 28-27 after a Glenville State touchdown with 10:09 remaining in the contest, Williams' acrobatic catch in the back of the end zone at the 7:21 mark gave UNCP a lead, 35-28, it would not relinquish. Hughes capped a 12-play, 64-yard scoring drive with a 3-yard touchdown run with 3:22 left to play, but kicker Eddie McKay pushed the extra-point attempt wide left. Terry would score the final points of the contest on a 6-yard scoring scamper with 60 ticks left on the clock.
The Braves will hit the road again on Saturday when they travel to Salisbury to take on region rival Catawba (1-3). The Indians snapped a season-opening three-game losing streak with a 23-21 home victory over South Atlantic Conference rival Tusculum on Saturday. Saturday's contest between the Braves and Catawba has been slated for a 7 p.m. kickoff at Shuford Stadium.
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