Story and photo courtesy of Wofford Athletics
BOILING SPRINGS, N.C. – In the 2012 season opener, the Wofford football team won 34-7 over Gardner-Webb on Saturday evening at Spangler Stadium. Despite a steady rain in the first half, the Terriers were able to run for 402 yards and hold the Runnin’ Bulldogs to only twelve yards rushing.
The Terriers open the season 1-0 and Gardner-Webb is 0-1. For Wofford, Eric Breitenstein rushed for 219 yards and two touchdowns. Donovan Johnson added 71 rushing yards and a 37-yard touchdown reception from Brian Kass. Blake Wylie led the defense with eight tackles and the Terriers recorded five sacks. Gardner-Webb was led by Deonte Swinton with six catches for 106 yards.
The Runnin’ Bulldogs took the opening kickoff and gained three first downs before Blake Wylie intercepted a pass from Lucas Beatty in the end zone for a touchback. Brian Kass ran for two first downs before finding Donovan Johnson for a 37-yard touchdown pass. Wofford took a 7-0 lead with 8:36 on the clock in the first quarter.
Wofford forced a fourth-and-six and Gardner-Webb lined-up to punt. The snap was bobbled and Josh Holt forced a fumble that was picked up by C.J. Turner and returned it 12-yards for a touchdown and a 14-0 lead at 6:26 in the first quarter. Both teams then traded punts twice. Gardner-Webb then went three-and-out and Wofford got the ball back with 10:47 left in the second quarter. Eric Breitenstein used a 27-yard run plus a facemask penalty to move the ball across the 50, but the Terriers turned the ball over on downs.
Gardner-Webb picked up a first down passing, but then fumbled at the Wofford 30-yard line and it was recovered by Stephon Shelton. The Terriers gained two first downs, but failed to convert a fourth-and-one to turn the ball over. The Runnin’ Bulldogs picked up a first down, but had to punt back to Wofford. Eric Breitenstein had a 37-yard run for a first down and Donovan Johnson added a rushing first down, but time ran out on the first half with the Terriers leading 14-0.
The Terriers received the kickoff to open the second half, but Brian Kass was intercepted on the second play from scrimmage by Drew White. The Runnin’ Bulldogs got to the two-yard line before a sack, offensive pass interference, and holding calls backed them up to the 38-yard line. Gardner-Webb was forced to punt to end the scoring chance.
With the ball back, the Terriers had a 20-yard reception by Jeff Ashley and a 51-yard run by Donovan Johnson set up a 28-yard field goal by Christian Reed for a 17-0 lead with 4:24 left in the third quarter. Gardner-Webb hit a 62-yard pass from Lucas Beatty to Deonte Swinton, but a 41-yard field goal attempt by Trevor Austin was wide left. Wofford fumbled the exchange on the first play of the ensuing drive and the Runnin’ Bulldogs took over at the 23-yard line. On the next play, Kenny Cook caught a 23-yard touchdown pass to make it a 24-7 game with 16 seconds left in the third quarter.
Wofford used a 25-yard first down pass to Jeff Ashley along with a personal foul penalty to move the ball inside the 30-yard line. Eric Breitenstein then went 19-yards for his second rushing touchdown of the game and the Terriers had a 31-7 lead with 13:45 left in the game.
The Runnin’ Bulldogs gained three rushing first downs, they went for it on 4th and 13 and Phillip LeGrande had a sack to end the drive. Wofford opened the next drive with Michael Weimer at quarterback. Caleb Lucas gained three first downs rushing and Jonny Martin added a rushing first down. Christian Reed capped the drive with a 38-yard field goal to give Wofford a 34-7 lead with 3:33 left in the game.
Wofford was able to force Gardner-Webb to punt and got the ball back with 1:36 to play. James Lawson came into the game at quarterback and the Terriers were able to run out the clock on the 34-7 win.
Wofford had 484 total yards, with 402 on the ground. Gardner-Webb had 235 total yards, 223 of which were passing. Wofford was 6-of-14 on third downs and 0-for-2 on fourth down. Gardner-Webb was 2-of-13 on third down. Wofford had four penalties, while Gardner-Webb was flagged seven times. Wofford had the time of possession by a 30:41 to 29:19 margin.
Next week the Terriers will host Lincoln University at Gibbs Stadium in a 7:00 p.m. contest. Lincoln was defeated 34-21 in their season opener against Cheney.