Courtesy of Newberry Athletics
GREENEVILLE, Tenn. - Newberry College receiver Brandon Bostick set the South Atlantic Conference single-game receiving yardage record with 11 catches for 322 yards and three touchdowns, while quarterback Bryan Ehrlich set school and SAC records with seven touchdown passes, completing 23-of-40 passes for 515 yards in the Wolves' 63-56 win over No. 23 Tusculum at Pioneer Field on Saturday.
Newberry moves to 3-2 overall and 2-0 in SAC play, while Tusculum falls to 4-2 and 0-2 in the SAC. Newberry travels to Mars Hill next week for a 1:30 p.m. kickoff.
Bostick (Florence, S.C.) more than doubled his previous season total in receiving yards and obliterated the previous records in the South Atlantic Conference (275 yards by Presbyterian's D.J. Humphries against Presbyterian in 2001) and at Newberry College (200 yards by Derrick Higgins against North Greenville in 2003). His performance ranks eighth in the history of NCAA Division II, just one yard behind the seventh place performance. He now has 1,198 career receiving yards to move to 14th in the Newberry College record books.
Ehrlich (San Antonio, Texas) established the SAC record for passing touchdowns in a game and was responsible for a total of eight touchdowns, adding a rushing score to his total. He accomplished this feat without cracking the top 10 in either attempts or completions, averaging 22.4 yards per completion. He now has 20 touchdown passes in his season (and career), which ties him for third most in a single season and seventh most in a career at Newberry College in just five collegiate starts.
Senior receiver David Pressley (Anderson, S.C.) had his fourth "century" receiving game this season, catching seven passes for 117 yards and two touchdowns, including the game-winner with 11 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter. Pressley and Bostick each now have seven receiving touchdowns on the season. Pressley now has 1,283 career receiving yards, which ranks 11th in Newberry history.
The two teams set South Atlantic Conference records for combined points (119) and most combined first downs (61). There were 1,162 yards of combined offense and 946 combined passing yards. Tusculum quarterback Bo Cordell completed 44-of-70 passes for 431 yards and four touchdowns.
With all of the gaudy offensive numbers, it could surprise many people that the Newberry defense put the Wolves in a position to win. The Wolves forced three turnovers in the first quarter converting all three into touchdowns.
On the second play of the game, Brian Spencer (Columbia, S.C.) forced Cordell to fumble after he was flushed from the pocket and Arterio Arnold (Greenville, S.C.) fell on the ball to give the Wolves their first possession. Just six plays later, Ehrlich found Bostick for a 37-yard touchdown pass.
The Pioneers tied the game after an 11-play, 69-yard touchdown drive, but the Wolves took the lead right back on a 71-yard Ehrlich-to-Bostick touchdown pass on the second play of the ensuing drive.
All-American safety Ron Parker (St. Helena Island, S.C.) made a diving interception on the fourth play of the next drive to setup a five-play, 44-yard touchdown drive that was capped by a 1-yard touchdown plunge by Ehrlich to make it 21-7 in the Wolves' favor at the end of the first quarter.
Before the end of the quarter, the Pioneers drove into Newberry territory but a hit by R.J. Reeder (Spartanburg, S.C.) on Brian Marshall forced the Pioneer to fumble and the loose ball was recovered by Parker. The Wolves took the ball 78 yards in eight plays, taking a 28-7 lead on a 19-yard touchdown carry by Lyndon Ingram (Columbia, S.C.) to take a 28-7 lead with 13:40 left in the second quarter.
But the explosive Pioneers' offense was by no means done. After being held on a fourth down attempt in Newberry territory, Tusculum got the ball back on a forced fumble and recovery by Joshua Davis. Gareth Rowlands would make the first of two field goals on the day from 31 yards out to make it a 28-10 game. After a three-and-out by the Wolves, a bad punt attempt gave the Pioneers excellent field position, which the converted into a Cordell rushing score from one yard out to make it 28-17.
Tusculum forced another three-and-out and drove inside the Newberry 10-yardline, but the Wolves defense did not let the hosts into the endzone, holding the Pioneers to a 25-yard Rowlands field goal, making it 28-20 with 1:05 left in the half.
The Wolves were not content to take the one-score lead into the locker room at halftime, as Ehrlich needed just two plays to lead the guests to paydirt completing a 37-yard pass to Bostick and a 36-yard touchdown pass to Darien Crawford (Aiken, S.C.), giving Newberry the 35-30 halftime advantage.
Just as Newberry's defense forced an early miscue in the first half, the Pioneers returned the favor in the second half, with T.J. Jones forcing Pressley to fumble on the first play out of the halftime break. Seven plays and 40 yards later, Cordell completed an 11-yard touchdown pass to Rashaad Carter to make it a 35-27 game.
Ehrlich marched the team down the field in response, taking just three plays to trek 80 yards and move the lead to 42-27 on a 36-yard touchdown pass from Ehrlich to Pressley. The Tusculum offense responded with a short passing game to go 76 yards downfield on 14 plays, narrowing the margin to 42-34 on another 1-yard TD run by Cordell.
Newberry answered with its own long drive, taking 11 plays to go 80 yards, with Ehrlich capping the drive with a 2-yard touchdown pass to fullback Ryan Williams (Miami, Fla.) to make it 49-34 at the end of the third quarter.
Newberry extended the lead to 56-34 on the first drive of the fourth quarter on a 50-yard touchdown pass from Ehrlich to Bostick. But the Pioneers did not want to disappoint the Homecoming crowd and stormed back. A 75-yard touchdown pass from Cordell to Calvin Britt on the first play of the next drive and a 58-yard interception return for a touchdown by LiRonta Archie cut the lead to 56-49.
The Pioneers held Newberry to a three-and-out and embarked on a 14-play, 68-yard touchdown drive, tying the game at 56-all with 6:19 to play. TC's Luke Harris intercepted an Ehrlich pass and Tusculum got into field goal range, but a Rowlands 53-yard field goal was erased on a false start penalty, forcing the Pioneers to punt.
Newberry's big strike offense was held in check and forced to punt again, and the Pioneers once again made it to the Newberry 36-yardline before having to settle for a field goal attempt. However, this time, Rowlands' attempt fell well short, giving Newberry 45 seconds to get a score.
The Wolves appeared to score on a Pressley screen pass that was called back for a holding penalty, but the Wolves were not deterred and a spectacular Bostick reception in triple coverage at the Pioneers' 11-yardline setup at least a field goal attempt.
The field goal attempt was not needed, as Pressley fought through tacklers to eke across to goal line on an 11-yard touchdown pass with 11 seconds left. It was the second consecutive week Ehrlich's touchdown pass inside 30 seconds remaining gave Newberry a SAC victory, as Tusculum attempted multiple laterals on the kickoff, allowing the clock to hit all zeroes before the offense could attempt a long passing play.
Despite the offense stealing the spotlight, the Newberry defense still had several standouts, considering the Pioneers ran a school-record 105 offensive plays. Apollo Stretch (Columbia, S.C.) made 12 tackles, including 10 solo stops, while Xavier Wallace (Kingstree, S.C.) made 11 tackles, with all of those as solo stops.
Kicker Britt Blackmon (Kershaw, S.C.) was a perfect 9-for-9 on extra point attempts, setting the school record for most made PATs in a game, breaking Ryan Lukshis' record of seven made PATs against Elizabeth City State in the 2006 playoff season.