Football ‘Cats can’t maintain halftime lead, tumble on the road to Yellow Jackets, 46-21



INSTITUTE, W.Va. — The West Virginia Wesleyan (0-6, 0-5 MEC) football team led after 30 minutes of play, but fell to West Virginia State (4-2, 3-2) on Saturday (Oct. 8) at Dickerson Stadium in Institute, W.Va.

WVWC Leaders
Quarterback Nathan Payne completed 26 passes on 47 attempts for 312 yards and found tight end Nathan Brennan for a score. Power back Javian Tomlinson rushed for a pair of one-yard rushing touchdowns. Devin Washington hauled in five receptions for 78 yards. Deontre Logan and Ely Ghameshlougy both racked up nine stops. Logan totaled 1.5 tackles for loss, while Michael Herbert had 2.0 tackles for loss. Herbert, Jaden Swiger and Amir Franklin-Branch all chipped in a sack.

WVSU Leaders
Donovan Riddick passed three touchdowns to three different Yellow Jackets. Tavis McAdoo and Joel Felder each scored a rushing touchdown and combined for 202 rushing yards. Nicholas Fannin led the Yellow Jackets with nine tackles.

Inside the First Half
WVSU jumped out to a quick lead after going 62 yards in 1:33 of game time. Felder scampered into the end zone for an 18-yard rush to put the home team ahead. Wesleyan responded on its second drive when Payne hooked up with Brennan for a 12-yard pass to tie the score with 8:07 left in the first quarter.

On the first play of the second frame, Tomlinson bulldozed his way into the end zone to put the ‘Cats on top, 14-7. West Virginia State answered when Riddick hit Keedrick Cunningham for a 21-yard reception to even the score at 14. Wesleyan assembled a 13 play, 80-yard drive to regain the lead. The drive was capped off by another one-yard run by Tomlinson, and WVWC led 21-14 with 6:25 to go in the half.

On the next Yellow Jackets drive, Riddick led his team to Wesleyan’s three-yard line. The Bobcat defense kept WVSU out of the end zone, and the Yellow Jackets had to settle for three points. WVSU had a chance to add another three points before the end of the first half. Khalil Smith rushed off the edge and blocked WVSU’s field goal attempt to keep the score at 21-17 in favor of WVWC at the half.

Inside the Second Half
The home team regained the lead with 5:58 remaining in the third quarter when Riddick completed a deep pass to Luke Gadson for a 29-yard touchdown strike. Payne was picked off by Paul Sanchez on the ensuing WVWC drive. The Yellow Jackets put up another six points after Riddick connected with Joe Jones for a 32-yard score. WVSU led 31-21 at the end of three.

The Bobcats’ offense drove down to the WVSU 40-yard line on its first drive of the fourth quarter. Payne completed a pass to C.J. Washington, who was immediately brought down by CJ Lipford, short of the line to gain. WVSU took over and drained 4:41 off the clock on the next drive and scored a touchdown with 2:44 to go. Cunningham fielded a poor snap on the PAT and rushed it in for two points to make the score 39-21 in favor of WVSU. The Yellow Jackets snagged a pick six late in the fourth quarter and came on top, 46-21.

Up Next
West Virginia Wesleyan football will welcome Notre Dame (Ohio) to Buckhannon next Saturday (Oct. 8) for a 1 p.m. kickoff.

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