FAIRMONT — West Virginia State University earned its first win of the season as it held on to defeat Fairmont State 30-23 on Saturday at Duvall-Rosier Field.
The Yellow Jackets (1-2, 1-1 Mountain East Conference) outgained the Falcons 465-381 in total yardage, accumulating 282 passing yards and 183 rushing yards.
“Feels great to get in the win column,” WVSU coach John Pennington said. “We beat a tough Fairmont team on the road and it was a very physical game.”
Freshman running back and Pittsburgh transfer Malik Newton rushed for a game-high 180 yards on 27 carries with a touchdown. Fullback Dant’e Jones rushed for 95 yards and a touchdown.
Junior quarterback Donovan Riddick started the game and completed nine of 11 pass attempts for a 121 yards and a touchdown, but he left the game with an injury early in the second quarter. Pennington said Riddick’s injury “is nothing serious and he will be ready for next week.”
In Riddick’s absence, quarterback Drew Chance completed 4 of his 11 passes for 62 yards. He also threw an interception.
Quarterback Connor Neal completed 15 of 25 passes for 231 yards and a touchdown for Fairmont State (0-3, 0-2 MEC) but was sacked three times.
Kicker Martin Ahlstroem made three of his five field goal attempts for State.
WVSU’s Payton Lunsford had a strong defensive showing as he made 12 total tackles including five solo tackles (two for a loss).
Fairmont wide receiver Shawn Harris led the game in receiving as he pulled in six passes for 119 yards. Keedrick Cunningham led the Yellow Jackets in receiving with four receptions for 65 yards. Barry Hill added four catches for 52 yards and a touchdown for State.
“I loved the way we ran the football and how we stopped the run on defense, but we have to cut out the penalties and quit shooting ourselves in the foot in all three phases,” Pennington said.
WVSU’s travels to South Euclid, Ohio, for its next matchup against Notre Dame at noon on Sept. 25.