Defensive score lifts UC to 17-14 win over Concord
ATHENS - In a battle of backup quarterbacks, it stood to reason that Saturday's West Virginia Conference matchup between Charleston and Concord would come down to one mistake.
That's exactly what happened.
One mistake on a blocking assignment cost Concord the game, and the Golden Eagles escaped Callaghan Stadium with a 17-14 win
Down 14-10, Charleston defensive back Isaiah Gibson came off the corner from the blind side and was able to knock the ball out of Concord freshman quarterback Albert Rose's hand. Defensive end Jeff Green was in the right spot and scooped the ball up for the go-ahead points with 8:17 remaining.
Rose was starting in place of senior Zack Grossi, who sustained a career-ending hip injury when he was involved in a car accident Monday. Grossi was at the game Saturday.
"With a new quarterback we felt like pressure would be good," Green said. "If we applied it like we should we thought he would tend to scramble around and maybe drop the ball. Ike got to him and made a great play and I was just in the right place at the right time. Ike is the one who made the play. My hat is off to him."
Green finished the day with six tackles and four sacks.
"The fumble wasn't his fault, that was his blind side and we just had a protection breakdown," said Concord coach Garin Justice, a former lineman at West Virginia University. "That's nothing on him. That's one of those plays, and Charleston was lucky. They walked away with a lucky win. I usually don't say that, I usually put up some credit, but that's what it was. You take one play away . . ."
Concord would get the ball back twice, but the Mountain Lions' best chance ended with back-to-back sacks with less than three minutes remaining. Green had one sack and assisted for another on that series.
"I had my left tackle [Tyler Billings] have his shoulder pop out of place and I don't know it and that's how they get their two sacks," Justice said. "He's playing with a bum arm. All he has to do is tap his helmet and let me know, but I don't know. It's one of those days and that's kind of been our week."
Charleston was without started Maurice Leak, who was still feeling the effects of an injury suffered in last week's game against St. Joseph's College. UC coach Pat Kirkland said he had anticipated Leak playing.
"He went out and warmed up and we didn't feel he was able to go and play his type of game that we ask of him," Kirkland said. "So John Knox stepped in and did a good job and ran the offense."
Knox rushed for 93 yards and completed 13 of 21 passes for 162 yards.
"He's a fast quarterback," Concord defensive lineman Josh Miller said. "Anybody who is backing up Leak is going to be good, actually. He was good, he scrambled."
Concord took the lead with 2:51 left in the third quarter when Athens native Ben Nester scored from 4 yards out. That play was set up when Concord's Mike Carey recovered a fumble at the UC 45.
Former Kennedy Award winner Jordan Roberts of Scott was held to 48 rushing yards on 17 carries but added five receptions for 77 yards and completed 1 of 2 passes for 6 yards. He had a 5-yard touchdown run that gave UC a 10-0 lead with 6:52 remaining in the first half.
On the drive, Knox had a 46-yard run on a quarterback draw and was finally corralled from behind by Davon Marion at the Concord 20.
Roberts finished it off five plays later when scored from 5 yards out.
"I just got the ball and found a seam and tried to score a touchdown," Roberts said. "It was an inside zone play but it was clogged up so I bounced it outside."
The Mountain Lions cut the lead to 10-7 when Rose scored from 9 yards out. On the play, he rolled to the right, slipped cutting back to the left but kept his balance with his left hand and cut into the end zone at the left pylon.
Charleston's Puma Nuredini had a 32-yard field goal on UC's first drive to give the Golden Eagles the early lead.
Concord was led by Calvinaugh Jones, who had 111 yards on 22 carries. The freshman was just declared eligible by the NCAA after his transcripts were lost.
Rose finished 16 of 27 for 137 yards and was sacked six times.
Charleston outgained Concord 319 yards to 279.
Concord is at West Virginia State next Saturday, while Charleston hosts Shepherd.