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Cumberland hands on for road win
Sep 25, 2012 12:00 am
Cumberland hangs on for road win
Submitted to The Democrat
WISE, Va. – Lemeco Miller rushed 29 times for 160 yards, both career highs, and scored three times while Cumberland’s defense made two stands late in the fourth quarter in a 24-17 win Saturday night over UVA-Wise at Carl Smith Stadium.
The Bulldogs rushed 59 times for 302 yards in the game, but penalties and bad snaps prevented Cumberland from expanding the lead and getting off the field in the second half. Blake DeBoard carried 10 times for 79 yards and Reed Gurchiek had 12 rushes for 73 yards.
Cumberland held a 17-10 advantage at halftime and scored on the opening possession of the second half. A snap over Gurchiek’s head setup the Cavs with a short field and the home team pulled within 24-17 with 2:05 remaining in the third quarter.
The Bulldogs drove inside the Wise 10-yard line early in the final period but another bad snap ended the drove when the Cavs’ Eric White recovered the fumble. Another snap over Gurchiek’s head inside UVA-Wise territory forced a punt by the Bulldogs midway through the final quarter.
The Cumberland defense then stiffened twice in the final minutes, with Wise driving to the CU 14 before four straight incompletions by Culen LaVoi, including hurries by Nick Lennox and Tim McKee. The Bulldogs blitzed on fourth down and Josh Walker cut in front of the receiver, forcing a turnover on downs.
The offense was unable to convert a first down and Wise took over at its own 41-yard line. The CU defense made just enough stops again, forcing an incompletion on fourth down at the CU37.
LaVoi completed 17-of-33 for 130 yards and one interception and escaped pressure on numerous occasions, including for the first touchdown of the game. Connery Swift finished with 83 yards on 19 carries to lead the Cavs on the ground. Gurchiek finished the game 6-of-9 passing for 87 yards.
Cumberland marched 13 plays and 67 yards on its initial drive of the game with 11 plays on the ground, including Miller’s one-yard plunge over the rightside on 3rd-and-goal. The senior carried six times for 21 yards on the drive and caught a pass for nine yards for a first down as well.
Adam Wiss intercepted LaVoi later in the quarter, but the Bulldogs stalled and had to punt.
The Cavs moved 65 yards in 10 plays on the ensuing possession, a drive aided by a facemask penalty on Collin Urenda on third down at the Wise 48. Swift then rushed 28 yards over the leftside and LaVoi finished the drive, escaping pressure and somersaulting into the end zone from nine yards out, tying the game at seven.
Cumberland answered with another 13-play drive, this one covering 76 yards and taking seven minutes off the clock. The Bulldogs again did most of the damage on the ground, rushing 12 times on the drive, including Gurchiek three times for 23 yards. Miller got the final 17 yards on the drive, including the last two for his second TD of the game and a 14-7 CU advantage.
Marcus Bratton returned the ensuing kickoff 37 yards, setting up the Cavs near midfield. An illegal block pushed Wise back and the Bulldog defense held, but Paul Melshen booted a 44-yard field goal, cutting the lead to 14-10.
The Bulldogs moved 67 yards on just six plays thanks to a 15-yard run from Miller and a 35-yard completion to B.J. Stewart. Jared White kicked a 25-yard field goal to end the half, giving Cumberland a 17-10 edge.
The Bulldogs took the opening drive of the second half and covered 60 yards on nine plays. DeBoard carried three times for 32 yards and Miller got the last 19 yards, twisting and turning four yards for the score and a 24-10 CU advantage.
But the Cavs answered later in the period, going 42 yards on nine plays after the first bad snap and a short punt by Cumberland. LaVoi completed passes of 13 and 10 yards on the drive and sneaked into the end zone on 4th-and-goal, making it 24-17 Bulldogs.
Cumberland came right back, driving nine plays and 59 yards, but a bad snap from backup center Riley Cathey ended the drive inside the Cavs’ 10-yard line.
Cumberland plays at the University of Pikeville on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. before playing host to Union College on Oct. 6 for homecoming at Nokes-Lasater Field.