By Carey Phillips
Jalynn Williams’ 6-yard touchdown run with 2:53 left in the game Saturday broke a tie lifting Western Carolina to a 36-29 Southern Conference football victory over Wofford in front of 10,107 fans at E.J. Whitmire Stadium/Bob Waters Field and a regional television audience.
The Catamounts (4-5, 2-4) got great field position at the Terrier 40 following a short punt. Desmond -Reid’s 17-yard run helped set up Williams’ TD. Richard McCollum kicked his third straight extra point for the 36-29 lead.
Reid carried 20 times for 112 yards.
Carlos Davis completed 16 of 24 passes for 268 yards and two scores. He added 78 rushing yards in 15 attempts.
Raphael Williams and Censere Lee caught four passes for 89 and 84 yards, respectively.
Wofford’s Jimmy Weirick completed 17 of 35 passes for 269 yards. Kyle Pinnix had five receptions for 84 yards.
McCollum’s 33-yard field goal opened the scoring with 10:11 to play in the first quarter. Reid ran for 16 yards and Davis picked up 15 on consecutive plays putting WCU in position for the 3-0 lead.
After an exchange of punts, Wofford marched 69 yards in six plays with the aid of a pass interference penalty. The highlight was a 49-yard pass from Weirick to Dylan Djete. Ryan Ingram’s 2-yard TD run and the first of Bridger Jones’ three extra points gave the Terriers a 7-3 edge with 2:50 remaining in the first period.
The teams again exchanged punts before Davis completed passes of 18 and 21 yards to Lee. The Cats reached the 4 but an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty moved them back. McCollum’s 36-yard field goal cut the gap to 7-6 with 7:20 to play in the half.
Western took the lead for the first time at 12-7 at the 1:07 mark when Jalynn Williams scored from a yard out. A conversion run failed. The 64-yard drive, which was helped by a targeting penalty, took 10 plays, including Davis’ 14-yard pass to Jalynn Williams.
Battling the clock, the Terriers drove 75 yards in eight plays. Weirick completed passes of 13 and 29 yards to Pinnix and also hit him for a 13-yard TD with four seconds on the clock for a 14-12 halftime advantage.
They needed just four plays to score after the second half kickoff and extended the margin to 21-12. A pass interference penalty against the Cats was followed by Weirick passes of 23 yards to Jacob Ritchie and 29 yards to Parker Landon. Nathan Walker’s 2-yard TD run came with 12:55 to go in the third quarter.
A 35-yard kickoff return by A.J. Colombo along with a penalty set WCU up in good field position at the Wofford 46. A pair of 12-yard runs by Reid keyed the nine-play drive, which ended on Davis’ 8-yard pass to Lee narrowing the deficit to 21-19 with 9:20 to play in the third period.
After forcing a punt, Western needed just three plays to take the lead. Davis unloaded a 73-yard pass to Raphael Williams as the Cats went up 26-21 with 4:27 left in the third quarter.
The Terriers went back on top 26-21 on Ingram’s 2-yard run and a conversion pass with 14:03 to go in the game. The 75-yard drive took 11 plays, including Weirick passes of 16 and 13 yards to Pinnix and Ingram’s 10-yard run. A pass interference penalty immediately preceded the TD.
WCU’s next possession ended when David Powers intercepted Davis’ pass at the Wofford 19. The defense held forcing a punt.
A 34-yard pass from Davis to Reid resulted in a first-and-goal at the 5, but the Cats had to settle for McCollum’s 19-yard field goal and a 29-29 tie at the 6:55 mark.
Rod Gattison led Western with six tackles.
Powers, Eli Purcell and John DiRoberto were all in on seven tackles for Wofford.