__Tribe: 63, VMI: 13. College rolls to highest point total in Laycock’s tenure__
p. The College continued its recent supremacy over Virginia Military Institute Saturday, racking up over 500 yards of offense for the second straight game en route to a 63-16 victory. The Tribe — now 1-1 on the season — has emerged victorious in 22 straight contests against VMI.
p. The Tribe turned in a dominating all-around performance as the offense stayed on the attack throughout the game, scoring on nine of their 12 possessions. The defense remained vigilant from start to finish, limiting VMI to only two successful third down conversions on 12 attempts while recording two sacks and recovering two fumbles.
p. “I thought we executed well, and we were fortunate during the second quarter,” head coach Jimmye Laycock said. “We got some breaks and good field position and we were able to take advantage of it and you know in the second half we got to play a lot of people, and all that turned out to be a pretty good day.”
p. Despite the final score, the game got off to an ominous start for the Tribe, as junior quarterback Jake Phillips coughed up the football while attempting to scramble for yardage on only the second play of the game. VMI recovered the fumble on the Tribe’s 34 yard line and quickly earned a first and ten deep inside the College’s red zone. The Tribe was able to shut the drive down, however, when junior cornerback Derek Cox and sophomore defensive end C.J. Herbert stopped VMI slotback Timothy Maypray in the backfield for a loss on second down inside the 10 yard line. VMI then settled for a field goal, and once the Tribe got their offense on the field they never looked back.
p. “Our defense did a heck of a job holding [VMI] to a field goal there and from then on, I thought we executed very well offensively,” Laycock said. “We were very efficient about what we did.”
p. Phillips threw for 242 yards and connected on three touchdown passes in just one half of work for the Tribe. Through two games this season, Phillips has amassed 675 passing yards, six total touchdowns, and a 69.6 completion percentage. All of this coming from a quarterback who had not secured the starting job until just before the Tribe’s season-opener.
p. “Jake Phillips had another fine game throwing the ball,” Laycock said. “One of the reasons he is playing so well is because of R.J. [Archer] and Mike [Potts] and the competition they’ve had. I think that was a big factor in Jake’s improvement. They all pushed each other to get better.”
p. The offense was given an additional boost by the running backs. Junior DeBrian Holmes, senior Tony Viola and redshirt-freshmen Courtland Marriner and Thomas Schonder all scored at least one touchdown in the team’s highest scoring performance since 1932. Marriner used his speed and athleticism to carve up the VMI (1-1) defense for 107 yards rushing on only 13 carries, including a third quarter touchdown, while Holmes tallied three touchdowns on just nine rushes.
p. In addition to holding VMI to a field goal early in the game, the Tribe’s defense showed a knack for making big plays throughout the afternoon. Junior linebacker Josh Rutter recovered two fumbles, the defense forced a turnover on downs near midfield late in the first half and Herbert blocked an extra-point attempt.
Rutter’s first fumble recovery was set up by an outstanding play by sophomore safety David Caldwell, who delivered a crushing hit on VMI slotback Gabe Itoka, jarring the football loose. Rutter’s recovery gave the Tribe excellent field position, and following a 34-yard connection between Phillips and sophomore wide receiver R.J. Archer, Holmes galloped into the end zone for the second of his three touchdowns.
p. The absence of senior wide receiver Joe Nicholas and junior wide-out D.J. McAulay, who is out for the season, had little impact on the receiving core. Redshirt freshman Cameron Dohse capitalized on his increased role in the offense to lead the Tribe with 77 receiving yards and the first touchdown of his career.
“[Cameron] is competitive, he works hard at practice, and I think he’s got good ability,” Laycock said. “If you take good ability and you work hard at practice you’ve got a chance to get better and that’s what he’s done.”
p. The Tribe will look to continue their improvement when Liberty University heads to Williamsburg Saturday. The game is scheduled for a 7 p.m. start at Zable Stadium.