Notre Dame Defense Holds Off UVa-Wise

Notre Dame College used its most dominant defensive performance in program history Saturday as the Falcons limited UVa-Wise to 189 yards of total offense on 71 plays in posting a 42-0 Mountain East Conference win. The shutout was the first in the six-year history of Notre Dame Football and it marked the fifth consecutive year the Falcons won their home opener.

Quarterback Jeremy Eubank drops back and looks for open receivers in the Cavalier's September 5 game against the Tusculum Pioneers. Photo: Sean LeGros | The Highland Cavalier
Quarterback Jeremy Eubank drops back and looks for open receivers in the Cavalier’s September 5 game against the Tusculum Pioneers. Photo: Sean LeGros | The Highland Cavalier

After forcing UVa-Wise into a three-and-out on its first possession. Notre Dame took the ball and marched 66 yards on eight plays for the first points of the contest. Quarterback Malik Grove scored on a 10-yard run and Kyle Kaplan made the point after to make the score 7-0 with 10:55 to play in the opening quarter.

Forty seconds later, Aykee Henderson intercepted a Jeremy Eubank pass and raced 40 yards to the end zone. Kaplan’s conversion kick extended the Falcons lead to 14-0 with 10:15 to play in the first period.

From there, the two defenses would trade blows for the remainder of the first half. The only other score came when Mitchell Shegos caught a short pass before making a pair of UVa-Wise defenders miss and running 66 yards for a touchdown. Kaplan’s point after put Notre Dame in front 21-0 at intermission.

Notre Dame’s defensive line continued to be the story in the second half as UVa-Wise would go three-and-out on its first two second half offensive possessions before fumbling the ball on its third drive of the third quarter.

The Falcons cashed in the turnover as Emmanuel Smith hauled in a 29-yard pass from Grove and Kaplan booted the point after to make the score 28-0.

A pair of fourth quarter touchdown runs by D.J. Greene and UVa-Wise’s sixth consecutive scoreless quarter of the season left the final margin of 42-0.

The Cavaliers mustered just eight rushing yards in the loss while suffering six sacks and numerous other hits on quarterbacks Eubank and Daniel Lewis.

UVa-Wise had four players register nine tackles in the loss, Ed Kargbo finished with six solo tackles.

Greene rushed the ball 25 times for 93 yards while Grove picked up 48 yards on the ground. Grove added 267 yards through the air to account for over 300 yards of total offense for the second consecutive week.

The Cavs were forced to play the long field all day as Falcons’ punter Anton Vrebac put four punts inside the 20-yard line, including three that were downed inside the one-yard line.

Notre Dame’s Zach Chatlain tallied 12 tackles and 1.5 sacks while Sha’Haun Williams posted eight stops, a pair of sacks and numerous hurries on UVa-Wise quarterbacks.

The win was the first in the head coaching career of Bill Rychel after serving as offensive coordinator the last six seasons.

James Cousins finished as UVa-Wise top offensive player in terms of yardage as he caught two fourth quarter passes for 52 yards.

Next up is a trip to Robert Morris in the lone non-conference game of the season for Notre Dame. UVa-Wise will play its home MEC opener against Shepherd University next Saturday. Kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m. from Carl Smith Stadium.

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