Turnovers cost GWU in 27-9 loss at VMI
Three first half turnovers by Gardner-Webb led to 17 VMI points and the Keydets kept the pressure on in the second half to win their final Big South football game, 27-9, Saturday afternoon at Foster Stadium.
The Runnin’ Bulldogs (5-5, 0-3 Big South) dropped to 0-3 in the Big South for the first time since beginning league play in 2002 and lost for the fourth time in their last five games. VMI (2-8, 1-4 Big South) avoided its first winless league season since 2006 and picked up its first Division I win of the season Saturday.
VMI managed just 209 yards (99 passing) and 12 first downs, but took full advantage of Gardner-Webb’s five turnovers. The Runnin’ Bulldogs were penalized a season-high 13 times for 85 yards, with several coming in key situations.
GWU finished with 295 total yards, with the majority coming in the fourth quarter. Kenny Cook was tough to cover again, catching a career-high 12 passes for 133 yards. Beatty completed 17-of-33 passes for 136 yards and two interceptions and Browning came off the bench to connect on 9-of-14 passes for 101 yards in the fourth quarter.
Juanne Blount finished with 61 yards and a score on 16 carries, with no other Runnin’ Bulldog rushing for more than 13 yards.
Shaquille Riddick led a solid defensive effort by GWU, collecting eight total tackles, 2.0 tackles for loss and a sack. Preston Pemasa added seven hits and 2.0 sacks. Chad Geter and Arlando Griffin also had sacks, with Gardner-Webb collecting five on the day and catching the Keydets behind the line nine times. Ivan Toomer broke up a pair of passes.
GWU played the first half without Tanner Burch (six tackles) and Griffin, who were both missing following a targeting foul call against Warner last weekend.
VMI got 94 yards and a score on 20 carries from Ziglar and consistently took advantage of their opportunities when they were presented.
Reber finished with eight tackles, a sack and the fumble recovery for a touchdown. The Keydets had three sacks in the game and posted six tackles for loss to go with five forced turnovers.
Gardner-Webb returns home for its Senior Day game next weekend, hosting #16 Charleston Southern at 1:30 p.m. at Spangler Stadium. The Bucs improved to 10-1 on the season with a 31-26 win over 3rd-ranked Coastal Carolina on Saturday afternoon.
*GWU Sports Information contributed to this report