WAYNESBURG, Pa. (Sept. 8) – Going into Saturday’s home opener against Frostburg State, the Waynesburg University defense knew it was facing an offense that could put up points in bunches. That was proven in week one, when the Bobcats took a very entertaining 56-53 decision from Geneva College.
However, FSU found the sledding a lot more difficult at John F. Wiley Stadium as Waynesburg held its opponent to just seven points on the day and methodically pounded away with its run game to score a 21-7 win against the Red and Black. With the victory, the Jackets improved to 2-0 on the year, while FSU dropped to 1-1 for its 2012 campaign.
After heavy rains soaked the turf at Wiley Stadium, both teams came out of the gates slowly on offense. Frostburg was able to get the ball moving first as they punched the game’s first touchdown on fourth-and-goal from inside the one-yard line to go up 7-0 with 2:16 to go in the quarter. However, that was the last lead that the Bobcats held in the contest as Waynesburg took control from that point on and didn’t waste any time in tying the game back up.
After taking over on offense at their own 25-yard line, the Jacket run game slowly pounded the ball down the field on Frostburg. Just for good measure, senior quarterback Tyler Fatigante mixed in a 35-yard pass play to senior wide receiver Christian Jackson to spark the Waynesburg attack and put his team in striking range. Fatigante found another productive senior when he lofted a six-yard touchdown pass to tight end Adam Moses in the back of the end zone to cap the 10-play, 75-yard possession. Junior Alex Henry connected on the extra point try to tie the game up at 7-7 with 11:45 to play in the first half.
After failing to convert a fourth-and-one at the Frostburg 11 on their next possession, the Yellow Jackets took their first lead of the day during their final drive of the half. The home team took over with good starting field position at the FSU 42 and Fatigante tossed his second touchdown pass of the day, this time connecting with sophomore Andrew English from 14 yards away to end a six-playpossession that drained 3:10 off the game clock. Henry’s second successful PAT try put the Jackets up 14-7 with just seconds to go until halftime.
The Waynesburg defense continued to stymie the Bobcat offense in the third quarter, but its offense was unable to build on the slim one-score lead. That all changed in the fourth quarter when, halfway through the period, the home team finally picked up the important insurance score needed to take control of the contest. The 13-play, 72-yard marathon that chewed up 7:28 of game time not only put the home team up by 14 (21-7), but the Jacket offensive line, combined with four different ball carriers, pounded the Bobcats into submission with 11 running plays that accounted for 56 yards. Fatigante added a one-yard rushing touchdown to his two passing scores to cap the drive.
FSU had one last chance to get back into the game, but turned the ball over on downs to the home team at the Bobcat 46-yard line with 4:56 showing on the game clock. From there, Waynesburg’s bruising rushing attack put on an appropriate finale to the day by running the ball 10 times on the 11-play possession for 37 yards. The drive ended with Fatigante taking touching his knee to the turf twice to end the game.
Although some might see the Jackets’ victory as a boring one, others might call it an efficient effort. Not only did Waynesburg out-rush the Bobcats by a decisive 220-to-46-yard margin, but the Jackets possessed the ball for 35:36 on the day, as compared to just 24:24 for the opposition. The home team was also much more effective on third down, getting a fresh set of downs on seven-of-12 tries, while allowing the Cats just four conversions in 13 attempts.
After a bit of a rough showing in his first collegiate start under center, Fatigante bounced back with a much more respectable effort on Saturday. Not only did he complete 11-of-14 passes for 122 yards, two touchdowns and an interception, but the veteran also led all ball carriers with 64 yards and a third score on 11 totes. Jackson led Waynesburg with four catches for 57 yards.
Frostburg quarterback Ken Emmons completed 14-of-26 passes for 241 yards and was sacked four times, twice by senior defensive lineman Matt Krause. Bobcat wide receiver Anthony Young pulled down a game-high seven catches for 95 yards.
While Krause scored two big tackles for loss as part of five total stops on the afternoon. Junior safety Bryan Gary seemed to be all over the field at once, as was evident by his 14 tackles, 11 of which were solo stops.
After sweeping its two non-conference opponents, Waynesburg opens up Presidents’ Athletic Conference (PAC) play on Saturday, Sept. 15, when they head to Latrobe, Pa. to take on Saint Vincent. Kickoff with the 0-2 Bearcats is scheduled for 1 p.m.
Photo Credits: Waynesburg University