ROCKY MOUNT, N.C.- The NC Wesleyan football team dropped their USA South game to Averett University 24-14 in a battle of conference unbeatens on Saturday evening inside Rocky Mount Athletic Stadium.
Averett got off to a quick start scoring 8 minutes into the game on a short one-yard touchdown run. The Cougars then extended their lead to 14-0 going 50 yards on a quick drive midway through the second quarter.
NC Wesleyan then broke Averett's momentum late in the first half as the defense stepped up huge with a big defensive play. With less than 20 seconds to play, junior Defensive tackle R.J. Smalls sacked Averett's QB forcing a fumble that junior linebacker Antonio Johnson picked up and ran 59 yards for a huge Bishop touchdown cutting their deficit down to 7 going into the half. This is Johnson's second straight week with a defensive touchdown. Johnson also finished with 6 tackles on the day while fellow linebackers, Christian Shaw and JT Lichtenberger, led the team with 7 apiece. Wesleyan also finished with 12 more tackles in the game than the Cougars.
Averett (4-1, 3-0) then added a field goal in the third quarter to go up 17-7 before adding their final touchdown in the beginning of the fourth quarter to increase their advantage to 17.
Wesleyan then came back as senior Quinn Tobias recovered a fumbled punt that Averett dropped at their own 30 halfway through the fourth quarter. The Battling Bishops then punched in the touchdown as junior QB Donielle Totten threw a 6 yard touchdown pass to junior Tight End Ben Dorfman to trim their deficit to 10.
Totten would lead another drive late in the fourth as Wesleyan got to the 6 yard line looking to score again before he threw an interception which Averett would use to run out the clock to clinch the game.
Coach Jeff Filkovski said that his team was not as opportunistic as it had been the previous two weeks in conference wins over LaGrange and Greensboro.
"We missed on a bunch of opportunities that would have kept the offense moving," he said. "This game is all about making plays and if you miss that opportunity, it's magnified when you play a quality opponent."
NCWC falls to 3-2 overall and 2-1 in the conference and will now head back on the road to face new conference foe Brevard College (N.C.) next Saturday at 1:00 p.m.