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Five turnovers dooms Pioneers in 30-20 loss at Newberry

Thurlow Wilkins established a new TU single-game record with 191 kickoff return yards vs Newberry
Thurlow Wilkins established a new TU single-game record with 191 kickoff return yards vs Newberry

NEWBERRY, S.C. --- Newberry College scored 23 straight points and took advantage of five Tusculum University turnovers as the host Wolves defeated the Pioneers 30-20 Saturday afternoon at Setzler Field in South Atlantic Conference action.

The Newberry defense scored its team's first nine points with a scoop and score on a lateral pass, along with a safety to take a 9-7 lead early in the second quarter.  Offensively, the Pioneers (1-3, 1-1 SAC) nearly doubled the Wolves in offensive yardage (424-249), but the Black and Orange had one touchdown erased due to a penalty and two drives going into the end zone were halted due to turnovers inside the Wolves' five-yard line.

Tusculum running back Jordon Shippy rushed for a season-best 162 yards on 16 carries including two touchdowns. The Pioneers finished the contest with 247 rushing yards while Newberry was limited to just 69 yards on the ground.  The Wolves (1-3, 1-1 SAC) edged TU by a 180-177 margin in passing yards as Newberry quarterback Colton Bailey came off the bench and went 9-of-15 for 160 yards and three touchdowns with zero interceptions.

Tusculum's Thurlow Wilkins totaled a school single-game record with 191 kickoff returns yards in the contest, including his 93-yard touchdown return to open the second half to trim the deficit to 23-13.  His return was the seventh longest in TU history.  His 191 kickoff return yards breaks the previous record set by TU and SAC Hall of Famer Ricardo Colclough in 2003 against Morehouse College (189).

After holding Newberry to a three and out on its first possession of the game, the Pioneers marched 80 yards in 11 plays in 5:56, capped off by a 17-yard TD run by Shippy. The Eli Shepherd extra point gave TU a 7-0 advantage with 7:19 left in the first quarter.

Newberry went three-and-out again as TU took over at its own 20.  Tusculum converted two first downs and looked to be on the move again, but Moore's lateral toss on a double-pass play went over the head of his intended target and Newberry's Krishton Jackson picked up the loose ball for a scoop-and-score for a 28-yard fumble return.  Shea Rodgers extra point tied the game at 7-7 with 46 seconds left in the quarter.

The two teams would come up empty on its next two possessions.  Moore fumbled when he was sacked by Ty Kelly and the loose ball was hauled in by Kelto Jordon at the TU 12.  The Wolves would work its way to the three-yard line. But on fourth-and-one, Newberry's Caltriez Cook was dropped for a one-yard loss by Greenwood, South Carolina native David Johnson as TU took over at the four.  But on the first play, Shippy was stopped initially at the two-yard line, but his second effort carried him to the outside where he was whistled stopped at the goal line for a safety as Newberry took the lead 9-7 with 7:25 left in the half.

Following the free kick, Newberry took over at the NBY 37 and on the first play from scrimmage, Deshun Kitchings got behind the TU secondary and hauled in the pass from Colton Bailey for a 63-yard touchdown to extend the lead to 16-7 with 7:11 left in the second quarter.

The Pioneers moved the football 46 yards into Newberry territory, but Shippy was stopped at the NBY 28 on fourth-and-three as Tusculum turned the ball over on downs with 3:18 left before halftime.

Tusculum looked to get off the field after Bailey was sacked by Devin Woodson on third and long, but TU was flagged for a face mask penalty. Later in the drive, TU was flagged again, this time for pass interference in the end zone as the ball was placed at the TU 8 with 28 seconds remaining in the period.

On the next play, Colton Bailey rolled out and found Justin Gordon for the eight-yard touchdown with 22 seconds left. The Rodgers kick gave the Wolves a 23-7 lead heading into the locker room.

Wilkins gave the Pioneers a shot in the arm on the opening kickoff as he sprinted through the middle 93 yards for the TD.  Shepherd's extra point was blocked as TU trailed 23-13.

Newberry was forced to punt on its initial possession of the third quarter, and TU took over at its 20.  Moore was intercepted by Trey Woods on a tipped pass at the NBY 33.

The Tusculum defense held again forcing another Rodgers punt as the visitors started from their own 13.  A 36-yard scramble by Moore which was later followed by a 39-yard run by Shippy moved the Pioneers to the NBY 13.  Shippy followed with a nine-yard run and a one-yard plunge made it first and goal at the three-yard line.  TU got the ball to the one-yard line and on third down, Moore rolled out to the right side and threw for the end zone, but was intercepted on the goal line by Anthony Blue who returned the pick 17 yards to snuff out a potential TU drive with 1:18 left in the quarter.

Early in the fourth quarter, the Wolves were forced to punt as Rodgers got off a 50-yarder but TU's Dee Alford returned the ball 29 yards to the NBY 41.  Four plays later Shippy broke a couple of tackles and sprinted to the left corner of the end zone for a 30-yard touchdown as the Pioneers trimmed the deficit to 23-20 with 12:25 left in the game.  Before Shippy's second touchdown, Moore converted a third-and-20 situation with a 21-yard run, but on the play, the TU signal caller was injured and would not return to the game.

The Wolves got a 36-yard return from Chance Walker on the ensuing kickoff as Newberry started from its 38. Bailey completed a 17-yard pass to Austin Gordon and later rushed for 11 yards to get to the TU 22. Newberry answered the TU touchdown with one of its own as Colton Bailey found Logan Bailey from 22 yards away for the score with 9:51 remaining in the game to extend the NBY lead back to 10 (30-20).

Tusculum got another special teams return from Wilkins as it went for 52 yards as the Pioneers started at the NBY 41.  With Joaquin Collazo now under center for the Pioneers, the redshirt freshman converted a third-and 16 play with a 30-yard pass to Jacob Moss at the NBY 5.  But on the next play, Shippy fumbled the ball and was recovered by Newberry's Nick Yearwood in the end zone with 6:09 left.

The Wolves milked 2:19 off the clock as Rodgers pinned the Pioneers at the four-yard line on his 44-yard punt with 3:50 left on the clock.  TU would drive deep into Newberry territory to the 10, but the Pioneers would run out of time as the Wolves captured its first win of the year and snap a four-game losing streak, dating back to last year.

Kitchings led all receivers with three catches for 69 yards and a touchdown. Shippy finished with a team-high four receptions, while Ajay Belanger tallied three grabs for 32 yards.  Collazo went 5-of-11 passing for 74 yards for the Pioneers in the final quarter.

Defensively, Jackson Cauthen led TU with seven tackles including one for loss, while Chris Matheus accounted for six stops with 2.5 behind the line of scrimmage. Yearwood led Newberry with his eight tackles, while Baylen English finished with seven stops in the victory.

Tusculum, who play three of its first four games on the road, will play five of its next six at home beginning with next week's Homecoming clash with nationally-ranked Wingate University.  Kick-off time is set for 2 p.m.






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