After a sluggish start, the University of Charleston football team rallied for 24 second-half points as it pulled away for a 24-10 win over West Liberty Thursday evening at UC Stadium in Charleston.
The win moves the Golden Eagles to 3-0 on the season, atop the Mountain East Conference standings. West Liberty falls to 1-2 on the year.
UC held the Hilltoppers to minus-35 rushing yards while gaining 244 yards of its own on the ground and had 351 yards of total offense. Jimmy Wheeler led the Golden Eagles, picking up 125 yards and a touchdown on 30 carries, while Mason Olzsewski rushed for 46 yards and a pair of scores and completed a pass for 51 yards.
West Liberty scored first when Owen Rozanc connected on a 31-yard field goal in the first quarter to put the Hilltoppers up 3-0.
UC failed to get its offensive rhythm in the first half, getting penalized seven times for 70 yards. The Golden Eagles ended the night with 10 penalties for 110 yards.
Olszewski got the Golden Eagles rolling in the second half though, scoring on a 27-yard run in the third quarter to put UC up 7-3.
West Liberty answered on the ensuing possession, using an 11-yard TD pass from Zach Phillips to Ridge Durbin to cap a five-play, 70-yard drive and put the Hilltoppers back on top 10-7.
UC found its momentum, however, as Wheeler broke off a 13-yard touchdown run as the Golden Eagles went 61 yards on just four plays to take a 14-10 edge.
Kevin Weiman hit on a 20-yard field goal and Olszewski found the end zone again on a 9-yard run with just under 13 minutes remaining to cap the scoring.
Phillips led WLU, connecting on 14 of 19 passes for 107 yards and a TD, while Cristian Rita caught five balls for 59 yards and Durbin finished with five catches for 44 yards and a score.
Damion May completed 7 of 14 passes for 56 yards against two picks for UC, while D'Andre Brooks hauled in four passes for 33 yards.
The UC defense held the Hilltoppers to just 157 total yards.
The Golden Eagles return to the gridiron Thursday with a road tilt against Fairmont State. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.