Second-Half Struggles Doom Coyotes Against Cumberland
KWU Sports Information - Sat 06:47 PM 09/01/2012
DYERSBURG, TENN. – After playing well in the first half, the Kansas Wesleyan Coyotes struggled in the second, falling to the No. 22 ranked Cumberland (Tenn.) 31-10 on Saturday afternoon in the 2012 Big River Bowl at JC Sawyers Stadium.
It was definitely a tale of two halves for the Coyotes, who managed just one first down and 45 yards of offense in the second 30 minutes after racking up 207 yards and 11 first downs in the first half. Cumberland also possessed the ball for 22 and a half minutes in the second half, wearing out Wesleyan's defense.
After Wesleyan went three plays and out to open the game, the Bulldogs marched 41 yards in nine plays to take a 7-0 lead on Reed Gurchiek's nine yard touchdown run with 9:01 to go in the first quarter. After stalled possessions by both teams the Coyotes needed just one play, a 52 yard run by Brett Giesen to even the score at 7-all with 5:20 to go in the quarter. Giesen took the ball, broke a couple tackles and outran the defenders to the endzone for the score.
Wesleyan had the ball to start the second quarter but the Coyote drive would stall at the 25-yard line of Cumberland, and Terry Stecker would miss a 43 yard field goal. Lameco Miller scored on Cumberland's next possession from three yards out to give the Bulldogs a 14-7 lead with 8:25 to go in the half.
The Coyotes drove to the Cumberland-27 on their next drive, aided by 14-yard pass from Trey Dallas to Joe Vela on a 2nd-and-15, but the drive would stall and Stecker would miss a 45-yard attempt to the left. Wesleyan's defense stepped up on the next Cumberland drive as Kelton Reed picked off a pass and returned it to the CU-46.
Giesen ran for 17 yards to the CU-20, but back to back holding calls on the next two plays pushed the Coyotes back to the 40, and they were forced to settle for a 49-yard Stecker kick to get within four at 14-10 with 29 seconds to go before the half.
Cumberland maintained the 14-10 lead into the half.
Cumberland (1-0) needed just 1-minute, 29 seconds to score to open the second half thanks to a 52-yard Gurchiek to Marquis Hagewood pass to give the Bulldogs a 21-10 lead with 13:38 to go in the third quarter.
Wesleyan's lone second half first down came on their next drive, when Dallas scrambled to the CU-49, but on the next play, Giesen mishandled the handoff and Cumberland recovered. Neither team could move the ball much in the third until Cumberland used a 34-yard run by Thomas Goodloe to end the quarter and would drive to the Wesleyan 6 where the Bulldogs had to settle for a 26-yard Jared White field goal to take a 24-10 lead with 11:54 to go.
After a stalled drive by each team, Dallas overthrew a pass intended for Seth Myers that was picked off by Michael Hagewood at the CU-45. Cumberland then converted the turnover into points as Miller rushed in from 19 yards out to put the Bulldogs up 31-10 with 3:56 left.
Cumberland also scored on the final drive of the game thanks largely in part to a 49-yard run by Kelsea Fordham down to the KWU-20.
Cumberland finished the game with 451 yards of total offense, including 317 on the ground. The Bulldogs had 293 yards of total offense in the second half alone. Miller led Cumberland's rushing attack with 19 carries for 111 yards and two touchdowns, while Goodloe added 55 yards on eight carries. Gurchiek was 11-of-21 passing for 134 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Three Bulldog receivers had three catches each led by Courtland Styles with 35 yards.
Wesleyan's defense had a pair of double-digit tackle performances at Brady Harwell and Marc Porras had ten tackles each. Giesen led the Coyote rushing attack with 118 yards on 19 carries, but managed just six yards after halftime. Dallas was 13-of-29 passing for 99 yards with an interception and was sacked three times. Seth Myers had six catches for 40 yards to lead the Wesleyan receivers.
The Coyotes are back home next week for the KCAC opener on Saturday against Ottawa University, scheduled for a 7 p.m., kickoff from Salina Stadium.