WINCHESTER, Va. - Shenandoah University opened its final USA South Conference football slate with a 30-7 homecoming victory over Greensboro Saturday evening before 1112 soggy Sprint Field at Shentel Stadium fans.
The win is the first for Shenandoah (2-2, 1-0 USA South) in a conference opener since defeating N.C. Wesleyan 24-7 to kick off the 2004 season.
That year Shenandoah won its second straight USA South Conference co-championship.
On a night that was more appropriate for early winter in the northern Shenandoah Valley, SU used an opportunistic defense and special teams along with receiver Rico Wallace to key the victory.
The Hornets scored the first touchdown of the game (and took a lead they would not relinquish) when senior Philip Volz recovered a muffed GC (0-4, 0-1) punt in the end zone at the 1:23 mark of the first.
With the offense still struggling against the conditions and the Pride defense, sophomore Brandon Martin took a scoop-and-score fumble recovery of a Preston Funk sack 35-yards for what proved to be the game-winning score.
Funk forced the fumble on a Robert Byrd rush and Martin did the rest, scampering 35 yards for the TD.
The second half was all the Wallace show as the All-America candidate set a new school record with an 87-yard TD reception just 53 seconds into the third quarter.
Wallace, who needs just one more touchdown catch to equal the school season record for TD receptions, finished his night with seven catches for 199 yards and the one TD.
Greensboro briefly made things interesting by converting an SU turnover into a Ryan Throndset TD pass at the 6:54 mark of the third, but the Hornets recovered the ensuing on-side kick and capped a six-play, 41-yard drive with a 2-yard Ignatius Perry touchdown to put the game out of reach.
Sophomore kicker Andrew Lloyd closed the book on the evening by drilling at 37-yard field goal with 10:57 remaining.
Shenandoah outgained GC 311-135, including 96 to 8 on the ground. Junior Carl Joseph finished his night with 20 carries for 97 yards.
Defensively, Josh Rogers had five solo and five assisted tackles in addition to one sack and four tackles for loss.
SU continues USA South Conference play next Saturday night with a 7 p.m. game at Christopher Newport.
Notes: This is the second straight year that SU has won its homecoming contest... The Hornets win evens the all-time series with Greensboro at 6-6... With SU joining the ODAC next season, this is final game in the series for at least four years...