The Urbana University football team fell by a score of 21-8 against West Liberty in front of 1,246 fans at UU Stadium Saturday afternoon.
UU led 8-0 after the first quarter, marking its first lead on its home turf this season, but sloppy play and a tough Hilltopper defense prevented the Blue Knights from scoring over the final three periods.
Both teams move to 1-3 on the season as UU is still in search of a home win. The Blue Knights’ last victory inside UU Stadium came on Nove. 8, 2014, against West Virginia Wesleyan (35-17), which comes out to a span of seven games. West Liberty earned its first win of the season against UU after suffering a pair of one-point losses coming into the contest.
UU started off moving the ball well during its second drive of the game. Starting at the UU 19, senior quarterback Cale Burdyshaw converted a pair of first downs, and then the Blue Knights picked up some help from three West Liberty penalties to move the ball deep into the visitor’s territory.
On third-and-10 from the WLU 15, Burdyshaw looked for receiver Sherman Watson in the end zone but the Hilltoppers were flagged on a pass interference call. That set up an easy pitch-and-catch between Burdyshaw and senior tight end Larry Southall, who hauled in his first touchdown grab of the season. Southall started from the left slot and found open space over the middle for a nine-yard connection with 4:37 on the clock.
Then, on the point-after-try, holder Eric Pelfrey picked up the snap and dove over the front right pylon to put two points on the board for the 8-0 advantage.
West Liberty responded with a pair of touchdowns in the second quarter to take a 14-8 lead at halftime, and then scored its final touchdown with 14:14 left in the game.
UU went three-and-out on 4 of its next 5 drives, a factor that played a role throughout the game. UU finished 3 of 13 on third downs, while West Liberty went 9 of 16.
The Blue Knights were also limited to a seaon-low 128 yards of total offense. A big chunk of that yardage was lost on a fumbled snap on a UU punt attempt that ended up losing 32 yards. The Hilltoppers registered over 400 yards of total offense. Both teams were flagged often with a combined 23 penalties for 213 yards in the game.
Burdyshaw finished 12 of 21 from the pocket for 114 yards with one interception. Sophomore Trey McFadden and junior Fred Crow combined for 43 total rushing yards to lead the ground attack. Southall caught a team-high four targets for 31 yards, while Eric Pelfrey (41 yards – career-high), Trevon Saunders (26 yards) and Kelly Carter (19 yards) each had three receptions.
On defense, Carlton Rematt led the Blue Knights with 10 total tackles (nine solo). Duray Hall recorded nine stops, followed by Josh Dillard with seven stops and two tackles-for-loss. Defensive tackle Clayton Bullard put pressure on the quarterback with one-and-a-half sacks. Dereck Givens led the secondary with two breakups.
West Liberty was paced by quarterback Dakota Conwell who went 20 of 37 for 287 yards and two touchdowns. Receiver Anton McCallum caught seven balls for 109 yards and a score.
UU returns to action on Saturday at Fairmont State. Kickoff is scheduled for 2 p.m. in Fairmont, West Virginia.