ASHLAND, Va. – The Emory & Henry College Football Team (3-1, 1-0 ODAC) broke a 21-all tie with a touchdown at the 11:19 mark of the fourth quarter as it went on to win, 31-21, over Randolph-Macon College (1-3, 0-1 ODAC) Saturday afternoon at Day Field. The victory marked the third win in the past five years over the Yellow Jackets to open Old Dominion Athletic Conference play.
Emory & Henry got on the board at the 10:18 mark of the first quarter as sophomore wide receiver Caelen Rhinehardt (Asheville, N.C.) hauled in a 24-yard touchdown pass from sophomore quarterback Kevin Saxton (Monroe, N.C.). The Wasps' scoring drive covered 49 yards in five plays and took just 1:05 off the clock.
The Yellow Jackets responded with a 17-play, 78-yard drive to tie the contest at seven. Bubby Morgan plunged in from a yard out for the score, totaling 28 rushing yards and 27 passing yards on the drive which melted 6:44 of playing time.
Late in the second half, it appeared as if R-MC would take a 14-7 lead after an interception, but an illegal block by the Jackets on the return and a pick by Wasp redshirt freshman defensive back Eric Johnson (Roanoke, Va.) put the ball back in the hands of Emory & Henry.
E&H then went 81 yards in eight plays to give themselves a 14-7 advantage with 37 seconds to go before the break. Sophomore running back Isaiah Rodgers (Canton, Ga.) rushed for the three-yard score and had a key third down, 16-yard run to keep the drive alive.
On the first possession after the break, Randolph-Macon tied things up at 14 points apiece thanks to a 26-yard rush by Tre Frederick with 11:33 on the clock.
Emory & Henry was forced to punt on its first drive of the second half but forced a fumble on R-MC's next possession to get things going again. Saxton went three-for-four for 48 yards on the ensuing drive including a 36-yard touchdown to redshirt freshman wideout Tyree Ward (Statesville, N.C.) to put the Wasps up 21-14 with 5:13 in the third.
After an interception in Wasp territory, the Yellow Jackets went 35 yards all on the ground in four plays to tie the game, 21-21. John Byrd made the difference with his three-yard run for Randolph-Macon.
Emory & Henry retaliated on their next drive with redshirt freshman quarterback Dominic Dunnaville (Roanoke, Va.) calling the signals. After a 32 yard run on the fourth play of the drive, Dunnaville went the rest of the way for the touchdown on the next play, scampering 33 yards to paydirt and a 28-21 advantage.
The E&H defense forced a three-and-out and after a 12-play, 36-yard drive, a 40-yard field goal by freshman Skyler Simcox (Abingdon, Va.) made it a two-score game and a 31-21 lead for the Wasps with 6:06 to play.
Emory & Henry held Randolph-Macon on fourth down and nine with 3:07 left and the Wasps put the ground-and-pound offense to work, running the clock out and capturing the 10-point victory.
Emory & Henry outgained Randolph-Macon 434-358, accumulating 257 rushing yards in the game. It's the most yards on the ground for the Wasps' offense since the final game of the 2009 season when they ran for 302 at Guilford. Dunnaville led the way with 98 rushing yards and a touchdown while going six-for-six through the air for 20 yards. Saxton was 13-for-28 passing for 157 yards and two scores but threw a pair of interceptions.
Rodgers finished the game with 74 yards on 11 carries and a touchdown while sophomore running back Chris Thompson (Blue Ridge, Va.) had 10 touches for 46 yards. Six different Wasps caught passes on the day led by Ward's four receptions for 43 yards and a touchdown. Simpson had six catches for 25 yards while sophomore Nick Webb (Troutville, Va.) added two catches for 39 yards.
Defensively, junior linebacker Rasheen Williams (Charlotte, N.C.) had 12 tackles including 1.5 for a loss. Senior safety Ryan Byrd (Grottoes, Va.) made nine stops while Johnson had seven tackles to go along with his interception.
The Randolph-Macon offense was centered around Morgan who was 11-for-24 through the air for 95 yards with an interception and ran the ball 22 times for 115 yards and a touchdown. Frederick ran for 77 yards while Byrd finished the game with 73 yards, both scoring touchdowns. Eric Hoy caught six passes for 38 yards to lead the Yellow Jackets' receivers.
R-MC's defense was paced by Conner Lane who had 15 tackles, a tackle for loss, an interception and a pass broken up. Brandon Baucom had six stops and an interception while three players each added eight tackles on the game.
Emory & Henry will return home to Fred Selfe Stadium next Saturday to face off against Bridgewater College. Kickoff for the ODAC game between the Wasps and Eagles is set for 1:00 p.m.
-photo courtesy of Dave Grace