Greeneville, TN – Defense and special teams led the way for North Greenville in week one as the Crusaders earned a hard-fought 10 – point win over Tusculum Thursday night in the season opener.
- Score: Crusaders – 13 | Pioneers - 3
- Location: Greenville, Tennessee |Tusculum College
- Records: North Greenville 1 – 0 | Tusculum 0 – 1
- Thursday’s win over the Pioneers is the sixth straight for NGU and improves makes the all-time series record 7 – 3 in favor of North Greenville.
- Thursday night’s three-point first half is the lowest scoring for half for an NGU offense since the 2016 postseason game against North Alabama.
- The first half shutout pitched by the North Greenville defense is the first time the Pioneers had been held scoreless in the opening two periods since the 2016 Tusculum game.
How it Happened
- A mostly uneventful first half lasted just over an hour of actual time.
- NGU’s defensive line dominated the line of scrimmage, holding the Pioneers to just 45 – yards of total first-half offense.
- Tusculum converted just one first down in five attempts and had just one first down the entire half.
- NGU’s offense also struggled, converting just two third downs in four chances. The Crusaders had 56 – yards of total offense.
- The biggest play of the first half for NGU was an R.J. Wooten interception that he took 36 – yards into TU territory.
- Tusculum’s defense limited the damage though as NGU came away with a Matt Gravely Field Goal.
- The Pioneers struck first in the second half evening the score with a field goal, capitalizing on a defensive stop on NGU’s opening third-quarter drive.
- NGU’s offense stalled once again on its second drive of the third quarter but the defense came up big once again as Seth Laughter covered up a Pioneer fumble at around the 50-yard line.
- Will Hunter would find Lucas Catalfomo for a big third-down conversion to keep the drive alive, a 24 – yard strike that moved NGU inside the 30.
- Demajiay Rooks would catch a 14 – yard pass for another big third-down conversion before NGU put up the first touchdown of the season when Hunter’s tipped pass found the hands of Jordan Helms to make it 10 – 3 with less than five minutes left in the third.
- The score remained 10 – 3 until late in the fourth quarter when NGU tacked on another field goal. Johnny Worthy set up the opportunity with a blocked punt which set up the NGU inside the Tusculum 30-yard line.
- The Pioneers would have one last shot after the North Greenville field goal and looked to cut the lead to a field goal. A couple big plays moved the ball inside the NGU red-zone but the Crusaders held after a deflected pass on fourth down turned the ball over for the final time.
- NGU led 10 – 3 but the momentum was still up for grabs as the team headed into the fourth quarter.
- The Pioneers continued to stifle the NGU offense, forcing another punt. With starter Bobby Foos on the sideline, Matt Gravely stepped in and boomed a 76 – yard punt to flip the field position.
- Three plays later, Johnny Worthy came through with a punt block which set NGU’s offense up at the TU 30.
Inside the North Greenville Box Score
- NGU’s offense had just 26 – yards rushing while Will Hunter threw for 179 – yards and a touchdown.
- Jordan Helms had the only touchdown of the game, one of his two for the game. Javon Smith led all receivers with 50 – yards on six receptions.
- Matt Gravely finished the game with a pair of field goals and a 76 – yard punt and a pair of touchbacks on kickoffs.
- Defensively RJ Wooten picked off his first pass of the season while Seth Laughter picked up a fumble.
- Matthew Thomas led the Crusaders with 10 – tackles and a pair of break-ups. He also had a pair of tackles for a loss.
- NGU’s defense finished with eight total tackles in the backfield and one sack.
- Matt Gravely’s second field goal of the game broke his brother’s record for most career field goals.
Next Time Out
- North Greenville returns to Tigerville to host Lenoir-Rhyne on September 8th at 7 PM.