GWU snaps losing streak
It might have been just what the doctor ordered for the Gardner-Webb University football team.
On Saturday, the Runnin' Bulldogs amassed 301 yards on the ground and scored 37 unanswered late in the game to knock off Warner (Fla.) University, 51-14.
The win snapped a three-game losing streak and ended a dismal October where Gardner-Webb (5-4, 0-2 Big South) failed to win a game.
"We overcame some early mistakes and our young men fought hard to get things going and we are very pleased to pick up our fifth win," said GWU head coach Carroll McCray, in a statement.
The biggest thing was not the yardage or the points scored but the fact that the Runnin' Bulldogs got the winning taste back in their mouths.
"After a trying month in October it was important to get that [winning] taste back," McCray said.
That's not to say the way they won wasn't just as key.
GWU picked up 28 first downs and wide receiver Kenny Cook ended the day with eight grabs for a career-high 179 yards. In the first half, Cook had touchdown receptions of 25 and 52 yards to help pace the Runnin' Bulldogs to a 24-14 halftime lead.
The Royals (0-10), did get on the board in the first half thanks to a fumble at midfield in the second quarter.
That fumble allowed Warner to drive before quarterback Angel Rodriguez scampered in from short yardage to tie the game at 7.
However, the Runnin' Bulldogs were quick to respond after backup quarterback Chandler Browning hit Cook for his first touchdown of the game from 25 yards out with 9 minutes, 42 seconds before halftime.
Warner tied the game after a 44-yard fumble return but kicker Jordan Day nailed a short field goal to keep the Runnin' Bulldogs in front.
On their next offensive series, starting quarterback Lucas Beatty returned to march GWU 74 yards before hitting Cook on back-to-back passes of 10 and 52 yards — the latter giving the Runnin' Bulldogs their halftime lead.
In the second half, Gardner-Webb blew past the Royals, getting scores from J.J. Hubbard, Ron Talley and a 32-yard interception return by Brandon Swayze.
Additionally, Gardner-Webb found their third-down conversions, going 5-of-8 following a week where they were 3-of-16.
Defensively, the Runnin' Bulldogs held Warner to 165 yards of total offense and held the Royals to 1-of-12 on third down.
"Winning football games isn't easy," McCray said. "Our team did a good job of refocusing after some early mistakes."
The Runnin' Bulldogs will return to Big South action when they travel to Lexington, Va. to take on Virginia Military Institute (VMI) at 1 p.m. Saturday.
"We need to maintain our focus the rest of the way," McCray said. "I'm very proud of the way we bounced back and gained some momentum."