MEC football: UC extends State losing streak
The University of Charleston used a little different process to secure points on the grass at West Virginia State University's Dickerson Stadium.
Meanwhile, the defense kept up what it began last week in a dominating effort against Glenville State.
Charleston quarterback Maurice Leak completed 20-of-28 passes for 221 yards and a career-high four touchdowns to lead the Golden Eagles to a 31-9 victory over their Kanawha County rivals in a Mountain East Conference meeting Saturday afternoon.
"We had a good game plan, one that highlighted him making decisions with the ball pre snap," UC Coach Pat Kirkland said of Leak. "He did a nice job executing that today. We gave him the opportunity to make some adjustments, pass, run, and where to go with the football. I don't want to say he was batting a thousand, but he was pretty close to that."
One of Leak's TD passes was a back-shoulder fade to do-it-all sophomore John Knox, a quarterback who has spent time as a receiver this season. Knox made a one-handed catch near the sideline of the end zone, getting one foot in bounds.
Leak also had a 14-yard TD throw to Knox, as well as a 31-yarder to Daniel Cherry and a 7-yarder to Justin Lawrence.
The running game compiled 193 yards on 49 carries for UC (4-3, 4-1 MEC), but it was the passing game that produced two TDs of more than 28 yards.
For State's part, the Yellow Jackets (0-7, 0-6) didn't allow UC to score in the first quarter, and although the visitors' first touchdown came just 1:23 into the second, their second TD didn't come until 1:03 remained in the first half.
"Our kids responded to what we asked them to do early on," State Coach Jon Anderson said. "We asked them to match their physical play on both sides of the football. We asked them to come out swinging, play with confidence and I was proud of the way our kids did that in the first half."
State had a chance to get the game's first touchdown after a Leighton Settle fumble set up the hosts with a first down at the UC 23. However, the drive - which began with a 3-yard loss - stalled.
"It's frustrating for the entire team," Anderson said. "We were determined to be aggressive in this football game. Fake field goal coming down there, the fourth-and-2 going for it. We want the kids to know that we're playing to win."
State was led on the ground by backup quarterback D'Von Dorsey, who finished with six carries for 27 yards when starting QB Tyler Seals left with a shoulder stinger.
Seals completed 16-of-28 passes for 155 yards and an interception. He also was sacked three times. The running game managed just 35 yards on 29 carries.
It marked the second consecutive stalwart defensive performance for UC, which held Glenville State to eight three-and-outs last week in a 17-10 victory. Since a 28-9 loss at Shepherd two weeks ago in which UC gave up 327 yards of offense, the Golden Eagles have surrendered just 374 in wins over the Pioneers and Yellow Jackets.
Seals, who spent three seasons at Northwest Missouri State before transferring to State, gave the UC defense a big challenged.
"He does such a good job presnap with where to go with the football if you just sit with your feet in concrete," Kirkland said of Seals. "I thought our guys in the back end and the linebackers did a good job with presnap disguise and really trying to show one coverage and roll to something different. And, the pressures were really good for us all day."
The University of Charleston will try to make it three consecutive victories next Saturday when the Golden Eagles host Concord. State will continue its quest for the first victory of the season with a visit to UVa-Wise.