Crusaders down Falcons 28-7
Saturday, September 9, 2006
Crusaders down Falcons 28-7
QB Eric Moeller threw for 256 yards vs. FSU

TIGERVILLE, SC- North Greenville University opened up Younts Stadium in style Saturday afternoon. The Crusaders were sparked by their defense in the first quarter as Doug Wilson and Derrick Miller intercepted two John Rahl passes on the first two Fairmont State possessions. The second led to a touchdown as North Greenville grabbed the early lead and kept the Falcons from getting any offensive rhythm. The Crusaders went on to a 28-7 win in front of 2,115 fans in Tigerville. QB Eric Moeller was 18-24 for 256 yards and a rushing touchdown as North Greenville (1-1) picked up its first win of the season. Fairmont State falls to 0-2.

Rashad Cummings had two rushing touchdowns, but Matt Moore led North Greenville with 108 yards rushing. Fairmont State quarterback was 9-24 for 124 yards and two interceptions. Falcon tailback Wendell Johnson rushed 18 times for 56 yards and scored the lone Falcon touchdown. Because of the early deficit, Johnson only ran the ball seven times in the second half.

North Greenville used a strong offense as it scored two touchdowns on its first three possessions to take a 14-0 lead in the first quarter. The Crusaders' second scoring drive went 99 yards and was aided by a 34-yard completion to Brandon Dobbins and an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on the Falcons. Conversely, Fairmont State quarterback John Rahl was intercepted twice on the Falcons' first two possessions.

Seth Amos invigorated Fairmont State at the start of the second quarter with a huge 56 yard kickoff return that allowed the Falcons to start their drive at the North Greenville 29-yard line. The Falcons moved the chains twice before Wendell Johnson bounced around the left side and went into the endzone for his first touchdown of the season.

Just over two minutes later, the Crusaders recaptured the momentum on their next drive, buoyed by another long pass completion from Eric Moeller to Travis Talbert for 51 yards. Moeller capped the drive with an 11-yard touchdown run. The two defenses finally settled in for the rest of the half as the Crusaders went into the locker room with a 21-7 lead. North Greenville out-gained Fairmont State 231-65 in the first half, led by Moeller who was 11-15 for 159 passing. Johnson had 50 yards on the ground for the Falcons.

Fairmont State had possession to start the second half, but were forced to punt. The Crusaders then put up their fourth touchdown of the game on a five-yard rush by Rashad Cummings. The Falcons got another big special teams play, this time courtesy of Robbie Graham's kickoff return that after a personal foul penalty, started the Fairmont State drive at the NGU 32-yard line. The Falcons drove it to the three, but the Crusader defense came up with a huge stop on 4th-and-1 to give them the ball.

Fairmont State then stopped NGU on fourth down to regain posssession. Allan Jewell caught a quick hitch and then eluded two tacklers for a 41-yard pass completion for the Falcons as the third quarter expired. However, the drive again stalled on downs. North Greenville controlled possession through most of the fourth quarter and to take for the 28-7 victory.

North Greenville's defense was led by DE Ken Floyd who recored five solo tackles and one assist. Floyd also had a half sack and a half tackle for a loss. LB Derek White also served as a catalyst for the Crusader defense, making three solo tackles, four assisted tackles, one sack, and causing one fumble.

Head coach Mike Taylor was pleased with his team's performance, especially his defense. "We were much improved on defense," noted Taylor. "We settled in a played better as a whole unit, and played more aggressively around the perimeter."

The Crusaders will play at home next Saturday, as North Greenville "Lights Up the Dark Corner," with the first on-campus night game in school history. Kickoff is set for 7:00 p.m. as the Crusaders play the University of the Cumberlands.