By Carey Phillips
Reece Udinski completed 30 of 41 passes for 239 yards and a touchdown Saturday leading Virginia Military to a 30-7 Southern Conference football victory over Western Carolina at E.J. Whitmire Stadium/Bob Waters Field. It was the Keydets’ first win in Cullowhee after 13 straight losses.
VMI’s Korey Bridy carried 18 times for 91 yards and two TDs. Rashad Raymond added 74 yards in 15 tries.
Jakob Herres caught eight passes for 92 yards.
Donnavan Spencer led the ground game for the Catamounts (0-6, 0-3) with 98 yards in 18 carries.
Ryan Glover completed 13 of 19 passes for 143 yards and an interception.
The Keydets took a 7-0 lead on Bridy’s 6-yard run and the first of Jerry Rice’s three extra points with 4:29 to play in the first quarter. The 55-yard drive was set up by an interference penalty on a punt against WCU.
Rice’s 27-yard field goal made it 10-0 with 5:28 to play in the half.
He connected from 29 yards as time expired for a 13-0 halftime advantage.
Ethan Castleberry intercepted Glover’s pass at the Western 32 on the third play of the second half.
Udinski’s 17-yard scoring pass to Herres upped the margin to 20-0 with 12:01 to play in the third period.
The Cats drove from their 23 to the 10 following the kickoff but came up empty when Richard McCollum missed a 30-yard field goal.
VMI built the lead to 27-0 on Bridy’s 1-yard run with 21 seconds remaining in the third quarter. It capped an 80-yard drive in 16 plays, including a 22-yard run by Raymond.
Rice’s third field goal, which came from 32 yards, put his team up 30-0 with 8:28 left in the game.
Western avoided the shutout on Mikai Stanley’s 5-yard run and McCollum’s PAT at the 6:30 mark. The key play in the 65-yard drive was a 44-yard pass from Glover to Deaquan Patten.
Ty Harris led the WCU defense with 14 tackles, including 11 solos.
Conner Riddle was in on eight tackles for the Keydets.
Two teams with eight game losing streaks dating back to 2019 will play Saturday when Citadel comes to Whitmire Stadium for a 1 p.m. conference game.
The Bulldogs (0-6, 0-2) almost ended their streak Saturday but lost 25-24 in overtime to UT-Chattanooga.
Citadel holds a 26-17-1 advantage in the series, including a 35-17 win in 2019.
Quarterback Jaylan Adams directs the triple option attack for Coach Brent Thompson’s team.