Tigerville, SC- The North Greenville University Crusaders notched their first victory of the season in explosive fashion Saturday at Younts Stadium. An explosive offense produced 504 total yards, and the Crusaders' stingy defense only allowed 97 yards of total offense and four first downs in the 55-0 win over Georgia State.
The Crusaders used a 23-point first quarter to set the tone for the game. Travis Talbert scored first on a 15-yard pass from Eric Moeller at the 10:46 mark in the first quarter. Just under four minutes later, Moeller would hook up with Brandon Dobbins on a 24-yard touchdown pass to cap a 4-play, 61 yard drive. Adrian Escalona would add a 26-yard field goal to put the Crusaders up 16-0 with 3:20 remaining in the first quarter.
Travis Mosley did not play due to a nagging hamstring injury, but Rashad Cummings stepped in and made the most of the opportunity. Cummings rushed for 111 yards and two touchdowns on 17 carries. The first of those touchdowns came with 1:38 left in the first quarter on a 26-yard run. Escalona would add his second PAT of the day to give the Crusaders a 23-0 lead at the end of the first.
Escalona then would hit a 37-yard field goal at the 11:31 mark in the second quarter. Cummings scored his second touchdown of the day on a 7-yard run with 9:03 remaining in the second quarter. The Crusaders took a 32-0 lead into halftime. The third quarter provided two more touchdowns as freshman Matt Moore scored on a 9-yard run. Backup quarterback Zach Kay then added a touchdown run of his own with a 14-yard rush.
The Crusader defense was a stingy unit all day. They allowed only 97 yards of total offense and held the Panthers to a mere 4 first downs. Issac Tate, ninth in Division II tackles, once again led all tacklers with 4 solos and 6 assists. Preston Butler had a stellar game as well, accounting for 7 tackles. As a team, North Greenville had 10 tackles for a loss and caused two fumbles. Those fumbles were recovered by Tate and Ronrico Jones. The defense even added to the scoring at the 10:55 mark in the fourth quarter on a safety by Daniel Bramlett.
Derrick Young rounded out the scoring with 5:27 remaining in the game on a 3-yard touchdown run. Escalona added the PAT to make the score 55-0.
The Crusader quarterbacks had a great game as well. Starter Eric Moeller completed 8 of 10 passes for 108 yards and two touchdowns. Zach Kay came into the game and completed 7 of 9 passes for 115 yards and rushed for a touchdown. Senior Andrew Hopper led all receivers with four catches for 50 yards. Talbert finished with three catches for 40 yards and one touchdown. Travis NeeSmith added three catches for 38 yards.
Head coach Mike Taylor was pleased with his team's performance, saying, "Our guys played well and kept their focus, which was a big thing for us. The offense played well, like they are capable of doing and showed good stuff." On the Crusaders' first victory of the season, Taylor noted, "after five tough opponents and five gut-wrenching games, this was a great game for us." With several players, including top running back Travis Mosley, nursing nagging injuries, next week's open date helps a lot. "The open week comes at a great time. We use it to get ready for the next five game," said Taylor.
North Greenville has an open date this weekend, but will be back in Younts Stadium October 15 for a Homecoming game against Webber International.