GREENEVILLE, Tenn. — A punishing defensive effort coupled with 502 yards of total offense helped Newberry to a convincing 37-10 victory on the road at Tusculum on Saturday afternoon in the Wolves’ South Atlantic Conference opener.
The game’s key moment came at the three-minute mark of the first quarter. The Wolves had a 7-0 lead after a seven-play, 57-yard drive capped by an 11-yard Markell Castle touchdown reception, tying him for the team lead with three on the season. Shea Rodgers’ kickoff sailed toward the sideline, where a Tusculum returner caught the ball as he stepped out of bounds.
The Pioneers were awarded the ball on their own 3-yard line after the miscue, where the Wolves’ defense forced their first three-and-out of the contest. The ensuing punt glanced off the side of the punter’s foot, traveling just 13 yards before coming to rest out of bounds.
Keinan Lewis leapt over a defensive back and made a spectacular catch on a perfectly-placed fade pattern down the near sideline on the first play, giving the Wolves a 23-yard scoring play on their first offensive snap since the Yeldell-to-Castle connection.
The sequence was indicative of Newberry’s dominance on both sides of the ball throughout the contest. Newberry scored the first 20 points of the game and never looked back en route to the four-score victory. The Wolves averaged 6.6 yards per play, more than doubling the Pioneers’ 234 yards of offense on the afternoon. Tusculum was limited to just 96 yards offensively in the second half and saw 10 of its 12 drives in the contest terminated after 25 yards or fewer.
Defensive ends Jaquille Oden and Jamarcus Henderson had stellar days for the Newberry defense, combining for nine solo and four assisted tackles, four sacks, 7.5 tackles for loss, a forced fumble, and two quarterback hurries. The pair applied constant pressure to Tusculum signal callers, holding the Pioneers to a paltry 13-for-26 for 147 yards through the air. The Wolves tallied three pass breakups, two of which came from Jawanza Adams.
Newberry piled up a whopping 11 tackles for loss for 44 yards on the afternoon. The mark represented the second-highest single-game total dating back to 2006, the first season for which reliable defensive records are available.
Newberry scored on all but one of its six trips into the red zone and went 9-of-12 on third down conversions while the defense limited Tusculum to a 3-for-15 ledger. Three of the Wolves’ scoring drives took at least 11 plays and covered at least 70 yards, with a third quarter 87-yard march down the field in just 3:52 representing the most impressive of the group.
The Wolves had scoring drives capped by a one-yard run by Yeldell, a Braxton Ivery 12-yard reception, a Rondreas Truesdale fumble recovery in the end zone after a six-yard rush to the goal line, and a 22-yard Rodgers field goal.
Cole Watson led the team with a career-high 108 yards receiving on six catches, his second triple-digit effort of the 2016 season. Ivery chipped in 80 yards on eight receptions, with eight Wolves recording at least one catch.
Yeldell accounted for 389 yards of total offense, completing 30 of his 39 attempts for 330 yards and three touchdowns while rushing for 59 yards and a score on 10 carries. Yeldell became the sixth-ever Newberry player to surpass 5,000 yards of total offense in a career and surpassed former quarterback and wide receiver Tim Singleton (1989-92) for fifth place in school history.
Yeldell’s 1,560 yards of total offense through the first month of the season place him 18th in school history for a single season. He displaced Newberry assistant Hunter Spivey, who led the team with 1,444 yards in 1996.
Newberry will welcome the Catawba Indians of Catawba College to Setzler Field on Saturday at 6 p.m. for a game broadcast online nationally by ESPN3.
This release was provided by Newberry College.