Clemons back in top form as Vulcans down Cheyney, 20-3
CALIFORNIA — Thanks to a bounce-back game by senior halfback Wes Clemons, California University beat Cheyney, 20-3, Saturday on a rainy and muddy night at Adamson Stadium.
Clemons, who fumbled at the 2-yard line last week against West Virginia Wesleyan with two minutes remaining, scored two touchdowns and gained 160 yards on the ground to help the Vulcans even their record at 2-2.
Cheyney appeared to score first with a touchdown on its second possession of the game, but the play was called back due to a holding penalty. However, the Wolves recovered from the penalty to notch a 32-yard field goal by John Riley.
The Vulcans had a golden opportunity to go ahead moments before halftime but freshman quarterback Greg Dapper couldn’t handle the snap at the Wolves’ one-yard line and Cheyney’s Leon Miller pounced on the ball.
Trailing 3-0, the Vulcans scored two touchdowns in a span of six minutes starting late in the third quarter. After Dan Smith blocked a Cheyney field goal attempt, Clemons scored on a 17-yard touchdown run after a lengthy drive that started at the Cal U 35.
The 11-play drive was kept alive by a costly pass interference penalty on Cheyney on 4th-and-5 at the Cheyney 27 that moved the ball to the 17. Clemons scored on the next play.
“The turning point was that blocked field goal,” said Cal coach John Luckhardt. “That gave the team a huge lift.”
The Vulcans needed just six plays to score on their next possession. Tayon Mitchell broke through the middle of the offensive line to score from 27 yards out. Dapper kept the drive alive with a key 19-yard pass on third-and-10 to Brandon Jackson.
Cal put the game out of reach with 5:36 remaining when Clemons scored his second touchdown. The senior halfback carried the ball on every play of the nine-play drive that took nearly six minutes off the clock, finally scoring from the one.
The play ended the scoring at 20-3, as Gary Amos slipped on the extra point try and kicked the ball right into the oncoming defensive linemen.
The Vulcans’ defense played a superb game, allowing only 179 total yards to the Wolves, including negative five yards rushing. Linebacker Brian Oddi led the way for Cal U with six solo tackles and eight assists.
“The defense played great,” Oddi said. “Especially the defensive line. They took the heat off the linebackers and I give them all the credit for tonight.”
Heavy rain permeated the field off and on throughout the game, resulting in muddy conditions. The Vulcans ran 40 rushing plays compared to only 15 passes and gained 197 total rushing yards.
“The weather was miserable, and it was an ugly game, but I’m proud of how our kids held up tonight,” said Luckhardt.
The Vulcans open PSAC West play at 7 p.m. Saturday against Slippery Rock at Adamson Stadium.
CAL CLIPS: Mitchell finished with 71 yards rushing on nine carries . The game was Clemons’ second 100-yard rushing game of the season. Amos’ PAT was his first miss of the season. The two teams combined for 22 penalties totaling 193 yards. Cal outgained Cheyney 322-179 and had 21 first downs to 14 for the Wolves.