Blue Knights fall to No. 2 Shepherd, 48-14

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SHEPHERDSTOWN, W. Va. – Arguably the nation’s top offenses, No. 2 Shepherd put its high-powered attack on full display in Saturday’s upending of Urbana University, 48-14, in MEC football.

The Blue Knights (3-5, 2-5 MEC) led 7-0 just 19 seconds into the game after Tajuan Green hooked up with Trevon Saunders for a 75-yard touchdown on the second play to stun the home crowd of 3,500-plus. It was the second game in a row that UU scored on a big play to open things up, following an 81-yard touchdown on the first play against Notre Dame College.

Unfortunately, just like that game, that was pretty much all the offense UU could muster.

Shepherd (7-0, 7-0 MEC) scored 21 unanswered points to end the first quarter after a UU fumble and blocked field goal. Then, the Rams kept their foot on the gas by scoring points on seven of their eight first-half drives for a 45-7 halftime advantage to put the game out of reach. UU allowed a season-high 7.6 yards per play to the Rams, who out-gained UU 479-282 in total offense.

SU quarterback Connor Jessup finished 16 of 25 for 259 yards with four touchdown passes, one rushing score and one receiving TD. The senior Virginia Tech transfer has posted at least four passing TDs in four games with 27 total on the season – good for second in the nation. Three different receivers caught a TD for the Rams, led by Wanya Allen with four grabs for 56 yards and two scores.

Green went 13 of 32 for 240 yards through the air with a good chunk of those coming on UU’s opening drive of the second half. After forcing a three-and-out, the Blue Knights drove 84 yards on 14 plays but had nothing to show after the Rams came down with an interception in the end zone. Shepherd put the pressure on Green all day as UU allowed a season-high six sacks.

Saunders (82 yards) and Rodell Rahmaan (50 yards) both hauled in a team-high three receptions while Rahmaan was kept out the end zone for the first time since the season opener at West Liberty, a streak of six games. With his first-quarter touchdown reception, Saunders is now only two shy of breaking the all-time UU record of 30. Maurice Warren Jr. and Trey McFadden each totaled a team-high 22 rushing yards for UU.

Defensively, linebacker Duray Hall led UU with 10 tackles while true freshman L.A. Kelly posted a career-high nine tackles in his second start. Kelly also returned a 34-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown late in the game for UU’s second score. Kenny Logwood and Isaiah Turner each recorded a sack for the Blue Knights.

Stat of the game:

UU was out-gained by Shepherd on the ground by a 200-42 margin.The battering Rams’ attack averaged 5.6 yards per rush and the Blue Knights were limited to 1.3 yards per carry.

Turning point:

The turning point occurred after the Rams blocked UU’s 43-yard field-goal attempt with 14:12 left in the second quarter. Shepherd took advantage with a field goal of its own and then forced UU to a pair of three-and-outs, which led to two more SU touchdowns.

It was over when:

With 55 seconds left in the first half, SU scored on three plays to build a 38-point cushion and sink further the Blue Knights’ hopes of a second-half comeback.

Up next:

UU hosts Glenville State on Saturday for the annual Homecoming game at UU Stadium. Kickoff is slated for 1 p.m.

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