WISE — Shepherd University held Virginia-Wise to minus-35 rushing yards and produced two interception return touchdowns along with a safety en route to a 42-17 Mountain East Conference victory at Carl Smith Stadium on Saturday.
It all started with a big defensive series by the Rams and quickly snowballed from there.
Pinned inside their own five, the Cavaliers (0-6, 0-4) were unable to move the ball and lined up to punt the ball. The snap sailed out of the back of the end zone for a safety.
Shepherd (6-0, 5-0) took the free kick and moved the ball 36 yards on seven plays to set up Ryan Earls for a 24-yard field goal.
The Rams got a 45-yard interception return for a score by Corey Washington followed shortly by an 80 yard punt return for score by C. J. Davis. It was off to the races.
Earls had a busy day for Shepherd, also hitting field goals of 35, 36 and 29 yards.
Allen Cross, who had a 21-yard TD run, led the Rams with 137 yards rushing. Phillip Rhoden capped scoring for the visitors, returning an interception 25 yards for a touchdown.
Vernon Payne had a 37-yard intereception return for a score for the Cavs. Paul Melshen had a 33-yard field goal.
James Long finished the game with seven catches for 140 yards, including a 6-yard scoring catch tossed by Cullen LaVoi. In addition, he contributed 40 passing yards and 135 kickoff return yards. Terrence Younger added eight grabs for 82 yards for UVa-Wise and T’ontray Billups finished with seven solo tackles en route to 11 total stops in the loss.
On the ground, Cross led all players with 137 rushing yards on 22 carries for Shepherd.