When David Caldwell recovered a blocked Norfolk State University field goal during the second quarter of the Tribe’s 42-12 win Saturday night, his objective was simple: don’t get hit.
A few downfield blocks and 66 yards later, the hardest hit the junior safety would take was a somersault into the end zone for a touchdown, giving the College of William and Mary a 21-3 halftime lead.
Caldwell’s end zone antics drew a 15-yard excessive celebration penalty.
“I was really excited, so I had to get a little dive in there,” he said. “I’m going to have to do some up-downs for that. But it might be worth it, we’ll see.”
Caldwell’s penalty was one of few mistakes the Tribe made all night, as it dominated every facet of the game en route to a blowout victory.
Freshman running back Jonathan Grimes got things started for the College, breaking a 38-yard run for a score on the team’s opening possession, and then picking up the team’s second touchdown on a 20-yard reception.
“I think he plays well beyond his years,” Head Coach Jimmye Laycock said. “He doesn’t try to make cuts or do things that aren’t there. I think he’s a very mature player.”
The Tribe defense looked sharp for the third consecutive week, holding the Spartans to 219 yards of total offense. The unit repeatedly put pressure on the Spartans’ quarterbacks, causing five turnovers.
“We want to force the action. When we [did that] we looked pretty good,” Laycock said. “When we were forcing turnovers, putting pressure on the quarterback, forcing them to rush throws [and] trying to knock the ball loose, I thought we did pretty well.”
Sophomore cornerback Ben Cottingham recorded an interception in the first half, and senior cornerback Derek Cox added a pick of his own, when he stole one out of the Spartans’ end zone and returned it up to the Tribe’s 36-yard line.
Senior quarterback Jake Phillips weathered a spotty first half, then came out firing in the second, connecting on three touchdown passes on his way to a 204-yard, four-TD and two-INT performance.
Junior D.J. McAulay had two touchdown grabs, finishing the night with three catches for 80 yards. Now with five TD receptions for the season, McAulay averages one touchdown for every 2.2 catches he makes and boasts a 20.2 yards per catch average.
“We know he’s a playmaker,” Phillips said. “Every game, one of our goals is to get him the ball.”
Grimes finished the game with 71 yards on nine carries. The true freshman, who began the season listed fourth on the depth chart, may continue to see significant action as the season progresses. Both senior DeBrian Holmes (seven yards on six carries) and sophomore Courtland Marriner (four yards on six carries, one fumble lost) are still not 100 percent after being injured in the preseason, and sophomore Terrence Riggins (30 yards on four carries) hurt an ankle in Saturday’s contest.
“You’ve got to be ready to roll with the punches,” Grimes said. “You’ve got to be ready for everything.”
The Tribe has a bye this week and will resume action Oct. 4 against Villanova University.