William and Mary narrowly escaped a loss to New Haven Saturday night, making just enough key plays to pull out a 13-10 victory over the Division II Chargers. The Tribe improved to 2-1 on the season.
Senior running back Jonathan Grimes — who caught a touchdown pass in the third quarter — carried a career-high 32 times for 129 yards in the win, but the headline from Saturday is the quarterback controversy brewing.
Starting senior quarterback Mike Paulus was benched after a first half in which he went just two of six for 7 yards and an interception. The teams went into the locker room knotted at three, but on the Tribe’s first possession in the second half, head coach Jimmye Laycock made the switch to sophomore Michael Graham, who led the College on a lead-taking touchdown drive to start the third quarter. After starting the season as third on the depth chart behind Paulus and sophomore Brent Caprio, Graham finished the game at six of eleven for 112 yards, a touchdown and no interceptions.
Laycock said he didn’t know who would start when James Madison comes to take on the College in Williamsburg next Saturday.
Interceptions from junior corner back B.W. Webb, senior corner back Terrell Wells, and junior linebacker Jabrel Mines highlighted an outstanding defensive performance from the Tribe.
After the College took the lead to start the second half, New Haven answered in the fourth with an eight play, 80 yard drive that culminated in a 17-yard touchdown throw by quarterback Ryan Oseicki to receiver Demetrius Ellis-Washington to tie the game at 10.
Later in the fourth, Graham hit senior wide receiver D.J. Mangas up the seam for a gain of 56, setting the Tribe up for a 28 yard field goal from sophomore kicker Drake Kuhn to give the College a 13-10 lead with five minutes, 28 seconds left in the game.
But New Haven looked like it was ready to at least tie the game up on its next possession. Chargers quarterback Ryan Oseicki threw complete to receiver Jason Thompson, who darted down to the Tribe’s 18 yard line for a gain of 39. On the ensuing third down, though, Mines picked off Oseicki’s throw at the goal line and ran it back to the College’s 35 yard line.
The College will stay at home to open its conference schedule next Saturday against JMU. Check back for a complete breakdown of the game.