Sep 27, 2015, 6:33 PM EDT
Well, that was one heck of a way to end Saturday’s games with both William & Mary (2-1) and James Madison (4-0) earning headline-worthy – and more importantly -signature victories over very respectable foes.
I was on hand in Williamsburg to witness the Tribe’s dominance of Stony Brook, a 21-0 physically impressive win in which the Tribe seemingly shutdown SBU’s run game, limiting the Seawolves to 64 yards on 28 carries. In all, Stony Brook had just nine first downs and 167 total yards of offense.
Talk about a W&M team earning a hard-fought conference win for the second straight season against the Seawolves.
Now, don’t get me wrong. Stony Brook (2-1, 1-1 in CAA Football) still has plenty to say down the road, even with a trip to Harrisonburg against the 4-0 JMU Dukes looming this coming week. JMU, if you somehow haven’t heard yet, is off to its first 4-0 start since 1978 and defeated its fifth FBS foe, outlasting SMU, 48-45. Read the full recap from that game here.
My biggest takeaway from the rain-soaked game on Saturday night, though, was the fact that the Tribe O, led by “back-up” RB Kendell Anderson, finished with over 400 yards off offense, including 301 on the ground. Anderson, who is second on the depth chart behind All-CAA back Mikal Abdul-Saboor, had a career night with 191 rush yards – highlighted by a 59-yard scamper late in the fourth quarter – and two TDs.
“I’m not surprised by it,” Coach Jimmye Laycock said of Anderson’s performance. “He’s a good back. He’s a good player. Saboor was a little banged up… gave Kendell more opportunities and he did what a good back would do when he gets opportunities.”
W&M led at the break, 14-0, thanks to a Steve Cluley TD pass and Anderson’s first score, seen below.
Said Anderson, “What coach Rogers (Kevin Rogers, offensive coordinator) tells us before every game, don’t let the speed of the the game to catch up to you. Play fast from the get-go. Tonight we did that, we just have to keep going. We’re on a roll. We are clicking. This is one of the best teams I’ve played on. We’re clicking, we just have to keep rolling because we have a tough schedule coming up.”
Stony Brook, as its been well documented throughout the conference, came into the game leading the FCS in total D, ranking second scoring and third in rush D. On top of that, the Seawolves entered the game having allowed just two total TDs all season long.
“We saw what they did to New Hampshire, and we said, ‘OK, here’s a challenge'”, Laycock added. “Same thing for the offense. The offense looked at it as a challenge going against the No. 1 defense in the country, giving up hardly any yards. This is what it’s all about. It’s an opportunity to beat a challenge and see what we can accomplish and I thought we came out there and made a pretty good statement tonight.”
For Tribe DL Tyler Claytor, who led his team with seven tackles – 2.5 for loss, a sack and a half – it was the type of win he knew his team was capable of pulling off.
“All week, we wanted to make a statement this Saturday,” Claytor said postgame. “Hearing what happened last week with them and New Hampshire and watching the film on Sunday, we knew we were up for a challenge. We knew we were going against a great back.”
I for one can’t wait to see what lies ahead in Week 5. Worthwhile Numbers will highlight all the best performances from Week 4 later on Friday, Oct. 2.
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