Nov. 13, 2010
DAVIDSON, N.C. ¬ San Diego senior receiver Godfrey Smith caught nine passes for 184 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Toreros to a 29-15 Pioneer Football League victory over Davidson in the Wildcats' home finale Saturday afternoon at Richardson Stadium. Smith's last catch of the game, a 27-yard touchdown reception, pushed him over the 1,000 yard mark for the year. He finished his brilliant season with 68 catches for 1,024 yards and 7 scores.
The win gives USD a final mark of 5-6, but more importantly, a 5-3 winning record in the Pioneer Football League race. USD will finish alone in 4th place, with Dayton and Jacksonville sharing the PFL title (8-0 records), followed by Drake (6-2).
The San Diego defense, led by junior DE Mario Kurn, was stifling, holding the Wildcats to minus-10 rushing yards and sacking Davidson quarterback Jonathan Carkhuff eight times. By holding the Wildcats to -10 yards rushing, the Torero defense set a new single game mark (previous record was -6 yards allowed to Azusa Pacific in 1994). Kurn, who entered the game 2nd among all FCS players in sacks, recorded 3.5 sacks on the day (-28 yards), 7.5 tackles for loss (-37 yards), and 11 total tackles (8 solo). He finishes the season with a team-best 66 tackles (38 solo), 27 tackles for loss (-141 yards) and 17 quarterback sacks (-118).
Mason Mills threw for 240 yards and three TDs and scrambled for another 50 yards for San Diego (5-6, 5-3 PFL). Phil Morelli added 106 tough yards on the ground and a touchdown on 22 carries.
"Our guys played good instinctive football today," said Coach Ron Caragher. "Even though we weren't finishing drives in the first half, the defense kept us in the game. We came alive offensively in the second half and moved the ball better. This team really came on in the second half of the season, never quit, and bounced back. To their credit they kept competing, kept battling. It's nice to win on a note like this, win four of five and carry that momentum into the offseason. I'm very proud of this team."
Davidson took a brief 15-14 lead late in the third quarter. With the Cats trailing 14-7, a three-and-out by the defense and good special teams play helped Davidson get great field position at the San Diego 34-yard line. On 3rd-and-9, Carkhuff connected with TE Michael Blanchard for a 33-yard score. Davidson ran a fake on the PAT try, and Blanchard ran in for the two-point conversion, giving Davidson the one-point advantage.
USD entered their final quarter of the season trailing 15-14, but quickly answered with a Phil Morelli
4-yard touchdown with 13 minutes to go. Mills passed to Justin Fontenberry
for the two-point conversion as San Diego went back on top 22-15 with 13 minutes left in the game. Runs of 25 yards (on 3rd-and-15) and 14 yards by Mills helped set up the score after a 12-play, 75-yard drive.
Smith put the game away with 4:10 to go, catching a 27-yard pass from Mills and giving the Toreros their final 14-point advantage. After the score was tied 7-7 at halftime, the Toreros caught a break on their opening drive of the second half as Davidson was flagged for pass interference on 3rd-and-27, resulting in an automatic first down. Mills hooked up with Smith with a 55-yard touchdown pass on the next play as San Diego took a 14-7 lead.
The first half featured some good defense by both teams, and field position came into play as San Diego forced a Davidson punt from its own 11-yard line and got the ball at the Davidson 37 late in the second quarter.
Four straight rushing plays set up 3rd-and-4 from the Davidson 16, and Mills hit Smith with a touchdown pass to put the Toreros in front 7-0 with 3:33 left in the first half.
The Wildcats answered right back with a couple big plays. Carkhuff dropped off a screen pass to Justin Williams for a gain of 36 on 3rd-and-8, and the freshman hooked up with Funsten for 41-yard touchdown pass on the next play. Ben Behrendt added the extra point to tie the game.
San Diego got a 35-yard kick return from Sam Hoekstra on the kickoff and used a hurry-up offense to move the ball down to the Davidson 19-yard line. But on third down, Wildcat defensive back Malcolm Moses-Hampton sacked Mills to force a 43-yard field goal try by Stan Shurson that went wide left with eight seconds remaining in the half. It was one of three missed field goals for the Toreros.
Offensively for USD, Mills finished 17-27 for 240 yards and 3 touchdowns. For the season he finished 195 for 290 (67%) for 2,160 yards and 18 touchdowns. Morelli, who received some great lanes from the Torero offensive line, finished his injury plagued season with 461 yards and 5 TDs. Kurn was joined on defense by senior captain Mike Calahan (9 tackles, 2 sacks) and Al-Rilwan Adeyemi (4 stops, 6th interception of year) with outstanding play.