WISE, VA- No. 2 Shepherd University amassed 567 yards of total offense as quarterback Connor Jessop passed for 386 yards and four touchdowns in the Rams’ 63-35 win over UVa-Wise at Carl Smith Stadium Saturday. The win improves Shepherd to 10-0 on the year and extends the program’s winning streak to 30 inside the Mountain East Conference.
Shepherd (10-0, 10-0 MEC) got on the board first as Jessop darted in from five yards out with 4:58 to play in the first quarter. Zach Wise booted the PAT to make the score 7-0 Rams.
The visitors put two more touchdowns on the board in the early going of the second quarter as Jabre Lolley scored from five yards out before Jessop fired his first touchdown pass of the day, a 15-yard scoring strike to Wanya Allen. Wise made both extra points to make the score 21-0 with 11:29 to play in the half.
Marquis Hamilton (Washington, D.C./Marshall University) would provide a spark for the Cavaliers (5-6, 5-5) as he fielded the ensuing kickoff and returned it to the Shepherd 22-yard line. Three plays later, Javonte Latney (Fredericksburg, Va./Massaponax H.S.) scored on a 2-yard run. Trevor Owens (Lebanon, Va./Middle Tennessee State) was good on the point after to make the score 21-7.
Jessop would fire two more touchdown passes in the opening half, one each to Duron Norris and Ryan Feiss to send his club to intermission with a 35-7 lead.
The Cavs would have their second big special teams play to begin the second half when Josh Saunders (Freeport, Bahamas/Liberty Christian) returned the opening kick of the second half 100 yards for a touchdown.
Shepherd answered back with a Jessop-to-Allen 33-yard touchdown to push the lead to 42-14 with 12:55 to play in the third quarter.
After consecutive non-scoring drives, UVa-Wise caught a break when a botched snap by Shepherd allowed the Cavs to fall on the ball at the Rams’ 12-yard line.
A play later, Jake Sturgill (Abingdon, Va./Abingdon H.S.) lofted a ball towards the end zone and junior Kaian Duverger (Greenacres, Fla./Lackawanna J.C.) reached out with one hand to secure the touchdown. Owens’ extra point made the score 42-21.
The place kicker would then perfectly execute an onside kick attempt as Hamilton would field the ball near the sideline before stepping out of bounds.
Shepherd would commit three penalties on the next drive before Duverger would make his second one handed touchdown grab of the day. This time the 6-foot-6 receiver would work his way around four Rams before coming down with the one handed grab. Following the PAT, UVa-Wise had cut the lead to 42-28.
Jabre Lolley would cap an 11-play, 76-yard drive for Shepherd with his second score of the day, a 2-yard touchdown run. Wise’s PAT pushed the Rams’ lead back to 21 at 49-28.
Sturgill would proceed to lead his team on another scoring drive as the Cavs marched 64 yards on eight plays before Devontae Jordan scored from two yards out.
Following an unsuccessful onside kick attempt, Lolley scored from 44 yards out on the first play from scrimmage to quickly push the lead back to three scores. Chrys Lane provided the final points of the day for Shepherd when his pick-six went for 26 yards.
Feiss finished with 12 catches for 173 yards while Allen added eight catches for 118 yards in the win.
Kwadwo Diawuo (Alexandria, Va./Norfolk State) finished with a game-high 11 tackles, a fumble recovery and an interception to lead the UVa-Wise defense.
Duverger caught five passes for 61 yards to go with his two touchdown receptions on a day when UVa-Wise honored 17 seniors prior to kickoff.
Courtesy: UVA-Wise athletics