With temperatures in the upper 30s, Urbana Unversity’s offense couldn’t warm up against Glenville State in a 34-14 setback in Saturday’s homecoming game at UU Stadium. The Blue Knights had five turnovers and were limited to 228 total yards.
Despite the lack of production, the Blue Knights overcame a 13-point deficit and trailed by five points midway through the fourth quarter.
After trailing 13-6 at halftime, UU’s Trevon Saunders caught a 45-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Tajuan Green in the third quarter to put the Blue Knights ahead 14-13. Saunders tied the school’s all-time TD receptions mark of 30 with that score. Then, the Pioneers responded with a score and missed the two-point try to make it a five-point game heading to the fourth quarter at 19-14.
The UU defense, which played well despite the Blue Knight giveaways and short-field situations, stepped up and forced two consecutive three-and-outs with just over nine minutes left. However, a muffed punt return resulted in the Pioneers gaining the ball back at the UU 21. That led to a GSC touchdown and two-point conversion to make it 27-14. The Pioneers tacked on a late touchdown to put the game out of reach.
UU got on the board right before halftime on a 64-yard scoop and score by Andre Cliff to make the score 13-7 at the break. With the clock expiring, the Pioneers rushed their field-goal team on the field and UU’s Colon Wright blocked the 45-yard attempt to set up the big return. The Pioneers had already scored twice in the second quarter for the 13-0 advantage.
Safety Jeremiah Fuller had two interceptions for the Blue Knights and linebacker Josh Dillard led the way with nine total tackles. Defensive end Mikal Toliver totaled eight tackles and ran his sack total to 10.5 this season with a pair of quarterback stops in the backfield.
On offense, Green finished 15 of 31 for 183 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions. Ja’Vahri Portis recorded a team-high 27 rushing yards on 10 carries while Shemar Hooks led the receivers with a team-high four catches for 55 yards. UU punter Brandon Purk stayed on top of his game by placing four of his five kicks inside the 20.
GSC running back Dominique Gibson ran for 133 yards and a pair of touchdowns as the Pioneers racked up 358 yards of total offense. Freshman receiver Javon Butler also caught two touchdowns for the Pioneers from quarterback Jaylen McNair, who went 20 of 37 for 199 yards, three TDs and two picks.
Stat of the game:
Five turnovers – the Blue Knights gave the ball away five times on three fumbles and two interceptions. The visitors took advantage with 21 points scored off of those takeaways while the Blue Knights failed to score any points off two interceptions.
The Blue Knights looked to be in good shape by getting the ball back, down by five with nine minutes left. However, the turnover off the punt return turned the game into a two-score contest.
It was over when:
GSC’s Gibson broke free up the middle and ran 34 yards for the final touchdown with 2:13 left on the clock.
Star of the game:
Jeremiah Fuller, who recorded his first career interceptions and became the first Blue Knight with a pair of picks in one game since 2013. Former players D’Gary Wallace and Terrell Hudson each had two picks in a 22-10 home win over Concord on Oct. 12, 2013.
UU travels to West Virginia State on Saturday for a noon kickoff in Institute, West Virginia.