SOUTH EUCLID, Ohio - On a day in which Notre Dame College dedicated Mueller Field, the host Falcons built a 31-0 first-half lead and posted a 59-35 win over visiting UVa-Wise on Homecoming 2013. Notre Dame’s (3-2, 2-1 MEC) Pedro Powell posted a game-high 214 yards on 29 carries and a touchdown. In the loss, UVa-Wise’s (0-5, 0-3 MEC) James Long amassed 380 all-purpose yards, 268 of which came on 16 receptions.
The Falcons scored the first 31 points of the game, including six on the fourth play from scrimmage. With the ball fourth and one from its own 34 yard line, Notre Dame handed the ball to Powell who raced 66 yards to the end zone. Jake Studer added the point after to start the first half scoring barrage.
One possession later, Studer added a 22-yard field goal to finish off a six-play, 18 yard drive. Notre Dame’s next two scores came from the arm of quarterback Ray Russ. Russ hit Wallace Colton on a 17-yard touchdown reception with 5:39 to play in the first quarter prior to finding Mitchell Shegos on an 18-yard scoring play. Studer was good on both extra points to extend the lead to 24-0. Powell added his second long touchdown run of the game with a 50-yard scamper with 11:37 to play before half, the point after try was good to give the host a 31 point advantage.
After the 31 point scoring outburst, UVa-Wise went on a scoring run of its own. With 8:14 to go in the opening half, Ty Ryans hooked up for the first of his four touchdown passes to Long. The 35-yard scoring strike and subsequent point after from Melshen cut the lead to 24. Late in the first half, the Cavaliers were setting up for a 27-yard field goal attempt from Melshen only to have the kick blocked and returned for a touchdown. Fortunately for UVa-Wise, Notre Dame was called for defensive delay of game for simulating the snap count. The penalty gave the Cavs a first and a goal opportunity. Two plays later, Ryans hit Long on a fade pattern and Melshen was good on the extra point with eight seconds to go in the half cutting the lead to 31-14.
In the second half, UVa-Wise quickly cut the lead to 10 as Long caught his third touchdown pass of the day, a 27-yard completion. The play finished off a seven-play, 65 yard drive and Melshen was good on this third point after attempt of the day.
A third scoring run of the game would follow as the Falcons would score the next 28 points in the game. In the sequence, Russ would throw his third and fourth touchdown pass of the day and Powell raced in for this third rushing touchdown of the contest. The fourth score came on a Michael Fields 69-yard punt return.
The Cavs would post two fourth quarter touchdowns for the final margin of 59-35 as Long caught a 33-yard touchdown pass and Vernon Payne returned a punt 65 yards for a score.
On the day, Ryans hit 19 of 33 passes for 306 yards with four touchdowns and one interception. Russ finished 21-35 with 183 yards and four touchdowns. Russ’ favorite target was Mikhall Morgan who caught seven passes for 71 yards and two scores.
On defense, the Cavs’ T’ontray Billups led all players with 11 tackles, he also had a sack in the loss. Notre Dame forced five UVa-Wise turnovers, including four fumbles while holding the visitors without a first down in the opening quarter.
The Cavs will return to play next Saturday when nationally ranked and Mountain East Conference favorite Shepherd University visits Smith Stadium for a noon kickoff.