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Led by Freddie Martino's 12 catches for 182 yards and 2 TDs, the Division II visitors knock off VMI.
CHUCK STEENBURGH | VMI
Derrick Ziglar’s 22-yard touchdown run in the third quarter Saturday briefly pulled VMI within two scores of North Greenville.
Saturday, September 14, 2013
LEXINGTON — Saturday was Jeff Farrington’s birthday and the North Greenville head coach was lavished in gifts by his former comrades at Virginia Military Institute.
VMI handed its former defensive coordinator a $25,000 check then allowed his Division II Crusaders to run the Keydets off the field in a 37-24 victory that wasn’t as close as the final score.
“They didn’t surprise us,” VMI head coach Sparky Woods said. “I thought they were good on film, they looked fast and execute well.”
North Greenville (2-0) scored the game’s first 13 points and led by as many as 20 (37-17) until the Keydets scored with 24 seconds remaining in the game. The Crusaders did equal damage by land and by air.
North Greenville receiver Freddie Martino set a record for most receptions by an opponent in a VMI home game. He blistered the Keydets for 12 receptions and 182 yards, including 52-yard bomb and a 24-yard touchdown catch.
“He makes plays; he’s a good player,” Woods said. “They were great getting him the football and then he makes first downs.”
Devontez Rouse added five catches for 80 yards and a touchdown as North Greenville amassed 289 passing yards. The Crusaders also had 215 rushing yards spread across six running backs.
Martino was a consensus Division II preseason All-American . So, too, was linebacker Braelen Meredith, who terrorized VMI for two of the Crusaders’ four sacks.
While North Greenville plays at a lower classification, it had been one of the division’s stronger programs in recent seasons. The Crusaders backslid to 5-6 in 2012 after making a deep run in the Division II playoffs in 2011.
While his team’s victory at VMI seemingly darkens the outlook for the Keydets, Farrington said it was a mistake to make much out of the difference between the divisions.
“You hang in there and stay tight and make enough plays … there’s not that much difference,” Farrington said. “It’s just like you’ve got these [FCS] teams beating [FBS] teams. If you keep the guys healthy who can make the plays, then you have some matchup issues.”
VMI’s running game fell flat, then had to be abandoned when the Keydets fell behind. They finished with 22 net yards on 23 carries despite Derrick Ziglar’s 61 yards on 11 carries. Ziglar provided a bright spot with a dynamic 22-yard touchdown run in the third quarter that briefly pulled VMI within 30-17.
The Keydets initially got on the board with a 47-yard touchdown hookup between Eric Kordenbrock and Doug Burton. Kordenbrock completed 27 of 47 passes for 369 yards and two touchdowns, but lost 51 yards on the four sacks.
VMI (1-2) will not have time to lament. The Keydets make the leap from Division II to the BCS when they travel to Virginia next week. Farrington said the Crusaders did not prepare any differently for their higher-level opponent and that is a sentiment the Keydets are embracing as they move forward.
“It’s going to be the same as we always do,” Ziglar said. “We’re going to work hard during the week, correct our mistakes, continue to get better each and every day and go out there on Saturday morning with the mindset we’re going to win.”
North Greenville 10 13 14 0 — 37
VMI 0 10 7 7 — 24
NGrn—FG Gravely 22, 11:04.
NGrn—Rouse 23 pass from Hughes (Gravely kick), 3:44.
NGrn—FG Gravely 27, 10:20.
VMI—D.Burton 47 pass from Kordenbrock (Christopher kick), 8:57.
NGrn—FG Gravely 45, 3:46.
NGrn—Martino 25 pass from Hughes (Gravely kick), :35.
VMI—FG Christopher 37, :00.
NGrn—T.Walker 2 run (Gravely kick), 11:56.
VMI—Ziglar 22 run (Christopher kick), 5:22.
NGrn—Hughes 14 run (Gravely kick), 2:37.
VMI—Patterson 6 pass from Kordenbrock (Christopher kick), :24.
First downs 26 16
Rushes-yards 43-215 23-22
Passing 289 369
Comp-Att-Int 23-35-1 27-47-0
Return Yards 74 21
Punts-Avg. 4-38.0 8-44.4
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 3-1
Penalties-Yards 7-40 4-51
Time of Possession 31:45 28:15
RUSHING—North Greenville, T.Walker 13-63, S.Byrd 10-58,
Hughes 8-39, Paulk 7-20, Rouse 1-15, Custard 2-9, T.Weeks 1-7,
Carter 1-4. VMI, Ziglar 11-61, Forlines 1-5, Watts 3-1, Lipscomb 1-(minus 1), Kordenbrock 7-(minus 44).
PASSING—North Greenville, Hughes 23-35-1-289. VMI, Kordenbrock 27-47-0-369.
RECEIVING—North Greenville, Martino 12-182, Rouse 5-80, T.Weeks 3-13, Paulk 1-5, T.Walker 1-5, Garrett 1-4. VMI, Patterson 6-77, Ziglar 6-51, Nicholson 4-52, Rogers 3-72, A.Thompson 3-44, Sanders 2-17, D.Burton 1-47, Hann 1-6, Lipscomb 1-3.
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