Davidson Football Cursed with Close Losses, Approaches Final Chance for Winning Season

Davidson Football also had a close loss (56-53) to Stetson earlier this season. Photo by Maya Eggert ’19

Jacob Margolis ‘20

Football correspondent 

One minute and 43 seconds. Davidson was just one minute and 43 seconds away from the biggest win in program history since the caper of the undefeated 2000 season. Instead of a technical win over San Diego, a program that has dominated the pioneer football league to the tune of now 10 titles in 14 seasons, Davidson will settle for another moral victory. The final score is a promising indication in a season full of such moments. Davidson football has returned to competency.

With that said, the loss still stings. This is now the fifth game this season where the Cats have let a multiple score lead evaporate. Davidson led by 24 at one point this past weekend. Furthermore, four of those five games have resulted in losses. This includes a close loss to Morehead State, where the ‘Cats held a small lead, Davidson could well be 6-1 in conference play. Needless to say, losing four games by an average of less than a touchdown is not ideal.

However, it is important to remember the work Head Coach Scott Abel has already done. The fact that this program is pushing for wins in every game in Abel’s debut season is remarkable considering the state of the program the past five seasons. Then again, Davidson has always had the players and athletes to be competitive.

Back to Saturday’s game. It was a competitive affair that saw multiple lead changes and ties. Davidson controlled the game early, jumping out to a 17-point lead before the end of the first quarter and led by 24 mid-way through the second quarter. San Diego chipped away at this lead methodically before pulling ahead with 9:29 left in the fourth quarter on a 99-yard touchdown pass. Davidson responded with a touchdown with 2:38 left, but San Diego would not relinquish their lead after a 20-yard touchdown pass with 1:43 left in the game.

The same issues that have plagued Davidson all season cropped up again. San Diego gashed the Davidson defense through the air to the tune of 556 passing yards and seven touchdowns. San Diego’s quarterback, Anthony Lawrence, set a single-game school record for passing yards (556 yards), completed 67% of his passes, and tossed seven scores for good measure. San Diego’s leading receiver, Michael Bandy, also set a single-game school record for receiving yards when he hauled in 10 catches for 324 touchdowns as well as four touchdowns. Bandy’s 32.4 yards per catch is also an FCS record.

Per usual, Davidson’s rushing attack was prolific. The team combined to run for an FCS record 789 yards and four players rushed for at least 150 yards. Sophomore Wesley Dugger led the way with 231 yards on the ground; junior William Wicks followed with 199 yards; sophomore QB Tyler Phelps ran for 159 yards; and junior Keylan Brown tacked on another 150 yards.

Davidson’s final game is this Saturday against Butler at home. At 5-5, Davidson will look to secure its first winning season in over a decade.

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