Defense forces three turnovers, Cavs earn first SAC win on Senior Day
UVa-Wise forced three Catawba turnovers, limited the Indians to 197 yards of total offense and made a late defensive stand inside the red zone to secure the school's first South Atlantic Conference football victory, 21-14, Saturday at Smith Stadium. The win sends a group of eight Cavalier seniors out with a victory in their final home game while snapping an eight-game losing streak.
Catawba (1-9, 0-7 SAC) made a defensive stop inside the 1-yard line with under three minutes to play to take over on downs trailing by seven.
The Indians would advance the ball all the way to the UVa-Wise (2-8, 1-7 SAC) 20-yard line as quarterback Kaylon Wade completed six passes on the drive. Catawba also received a boost when defensive back Logan Jenkins was ejected for targeting, resulting in a 15-yard penalty and a first down, moving the ball to Indians' 35-yard line.
After seeing Catawba move the ball to the 23-yard line, the UVa-Wise defense stepped up. Wade was incomplete on a first down pass attempt before completing just a 3-yard pass on second down. On third down, Wade's pass would be dropped before AJ Felton Jr capped his strong day by breaking up the fourth down pass sealing the school's first SAC victory.
Felton Jr intercepted a pass earlier in the game as part of the three turnovers forced by the Cavs.
Sophomore defensive lineman Chavon Fields teamed up with freshman Michael Rowser for a big momentum shift in the third quarter.
Fields had a strip sack of Wade that was recovered by Rowser setting the Cavs up at the Indians' 15-yard line.
Three plays later Mykael Anderson scored his first career rushing touchdown to give UVa-Wise the 21-14 lead it would not relinquish.
Senior linebacker Buster Henderson had the best game of his collegiate career as he had 12 tackles and a career-high five tackles for loss. Fellow senior Bryce Harty added six tackles and a sack to lead the defense.
In addition to Anderson's big offensive day, two other freshman made impacts on the offensive side of the ball. Jamal Fisher caught his first collegiate touchdown as part of a two-catch, 38-yard day and Kadarius Singleton caught two passes for a game-high 57 yards and a score.
Terrence Lambert added 88 rushing yards while freshman Shaheim Revel netted 4 yards on 13 carries.
Wade was 20-for-43 for Catawba finishing with 174 yards but two interceptions, Jenkins joined Felton Jr. with an interception in the game.
Freshman punter Drew Vermillion punted eight times, giving him 80 for the season. The number establishes a new single-season school record for UVa-Wise.
Next week, the Cavs wrap up the regular season at UNC – Pembroke.