Buckahnnon, W. Va. – A year ago, the Wheeling University Football team (4-1, 3-1) picked up the first shutout in program history with a 38-0 win over West Virginia Wesleyan. On Saturday, they picked up their second shutout in program history against those same Bobcats in a 37-0 win in Buckahnnon, West Virginia. The Cardinals offense took a while to get going in the first quarter, but once they started their was no turning back as Wheeling picked up the win.
After West Virginia Wesleyan went on a seven minute drive to start the game, the Cardinals responded a methodical drive of their own. They got the ball on their own 20-yard line and drove 71 yards down the field on 12 plays to the Bobcats nine yard line. However, the Cardinals were shutdown their and called on kicker Matt Greenwood to get them on the board. He knocked through the 26-yard field goal and the Cardinals were on the board 3-0. The Bobcats got the ball back with 1:23 left to go in the quarter. As the first quarter clock ticked away, Wheeling still held tight to their 3-0 lead and West Virginia Wesleyan had the ball at their own 37 yard line.
The Cardinals forced West Virginia Wesleyan to punt the ball as the second quarter began, but Elijah Young fumbled on the next play as the Bobcats got the ball back. The Cardinals defense would come up big again with a stop and held the 3-0 advantage. After both teams were forced to punt in their following drives, Wheeling got the ball back with 7:32 to go in the second quarter. Once again, Wheeling drove down to the Bobcats eight yard line and once again they couldn't find the end zone. Greenwood added his second field goal of the day, this one a 25-yard field goal, and the advantage grew to 6-0 Wheeling. The Bobcats got the ball back with :37 seconds before the half and Jason Simon grabbed his first interception of the year to set Wheeling at the Bobcats 41 yard line with :26 seconds. Javon Davis responded with a 41-yard pass to Lowell Patron for the Cardinals first touchdown of the day to make it 13-0 Cardinals.
Wheeling headed into halftime with the 10-0 advantage and that last second strike was just what they needed to get the offense going. The third quarter began with both teams punting on their first possessions before Wheeling was back on the board. Matt Greenwood would pick up his third field goal of the day, hitting from 40 yards out, and Wheeling extended their lead to 16-0. On their following drive, Wheeling went to that strong ground game as Elijah Young and Sy Alli carried Wheeling down the field. Alli would end the drive with a four-yard touchdown run and the Cardinals led 23-0. Wheeling held that lead heading into the final quarter of play, but the Cardinals offense was not done yet.
As they started the fourth quarter, the Cardinals kept battling away on the ground with Young and Alli going back and forth. Elijah Young would get the call on the Bobcats four yard line and pounded it into the end zone for the four yard score. It was Young's second straight game with a touchdown and the Cardinals went ahead 30-0. As the game went on, Head Coach Zac Bruney got the chance to go to some of his reserve players, earning them valuable minutes on the field. It would pay off as redshirt freshman Malachi Watkins scored his first collegiate touchdown. The score came with 7:59 remaining from the one-yard line that made it 37-0 Wheeling. The Cardinals would go on to win 37-0 and move to 3-1 in conference play.
While the Cardinals did not reach the 200-yard rushing yards mark for the first time this season, they still had a big day on the ground. Elijah Young led the effort, carrying the ball 14 times for 115 yards and a touchdown. Sy Alli added 87 yards on the ground on 21 carries. Quarterback Javon Davis had a big day, going 14-23 for 173 yards and one touchdown in the win. His top target was Lowell Patron, who pulled in four catches for 71 yards and a touchdown. Matt Greenwood was the star of the special teams unit, going 3-3 on Field Goals, with a 40-yard bomb being his longest. Jayvon Johnson led the defense with 7 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, and Brandon Muñoz finishing with six tackles and a half sack on the day.
The Wheeling University Football team returns home next weekend for their Homecoming Game when they take on UNC Pembroke at noon.