UVa.-Wise defeats Blue Knights, 24-19


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WISE, Va. – Urbana University’s tough-luck football season continues after it came up short against UVa-Wise, 24-19, at Carl Smith Stadium on Saturday afternoon. After trailing 21-0 at halftime, the Blue Knights outscored the Cavaliers 19-3 in the second half, which included a 95-yard touchdown reception by Trevon Saunders.

UU (2-7, 1-7 MEC) managed to get the ball back on its own 18, down five points with 1:26 on the clock, but couldn’t sustain the drive with zero timeouts remaining and gave the ball up on downs.

Saunders led the Blue Knights with 268 all-purpose yards and racked up 175 of those on a season-high seven receptions with two touchdowns through the air. His 95-yard TD in the fourth quarter, which was the fourth-longest TD grab in school history, put UU right back in it with 10 minutes left in the game.

The speedy sophomore also made an impact in the return game when he broke free for a career-long 62-yard kickoff return in the third quarter. That momentum shifter ultimately set up a one-yard touchdown plunge by quarterback Eric Pelfrey, making it a two-score game with the Cavaliers up 24-13.

On defense, All-American candidate D’Gary Wallace remained unstoppable and became the school’s new all-time career leader in tackles. Wallace collected 19 total defensive stops and an interception on Saturday, which was the fourth game this season that he has recorded at least that many tackles. Now with 386 stops for his career, Wallace passed former UU standout Charles Boyd (2001-2003) who had 373 career tackles.

Pelfrey overcame two interceptions to establish a QB rating of 119.5 for the game, as the junior finished 13-of-30 for 241 yards and three total touchdowns. The scrambler-style quarterback also managed 47 rushing yards on 11 carries.

Running back Cedric Presley led the Blue Knights with 51 yards on the ground, while tight end Larry Southall also contributed with 43 receiving yards on three catches.

UVa-Wise outgained UU, 405-343, as both teams rushed for over 100 yards on the day. UU struggled on third downs by going just 4-of-13, but ended up a perfect 2-for-2 on trips to the red zone.

The Cavaliers jumped out to a 7-0 lead in the first quarter on a five-yard TD pass, and then the home team scored twice more in the second period to go up 21-0 at the break.

UU scored on its first three possessions in the second half to quickly get back in the game.

The first UU points came on a 65-yard drive that resulted in a 17-yard connection through air between Pelfrey and Saunders. That made it 21-6 after a blocked PAT with 9:46 left in the third.

UVa-Wise responded with a field goal to go up 24-6, but Saunders’ kickoff return set up the second touchdown of the day for UU with 2:25 remaining in the third quarter.

The Cavaliers were poised to score again, but Wallace came up with the big interception to put an abrupt stop to a 13-play UVa-Wise drive.

Saunders came up with his big play immediately following the turnover to put UU within striking distance, but it was a little too late for the Blue and Grey.

UU will host league-rival Notre Dame College on Saturday at noon in the final home game at UU Stadium this season.

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