BLUEFIELD, WVa. - UVa-Wise survived a fourth quarter rally from Bluefield College to end a five game losing streak with a 28-14 win at Mitchell Stadium on Saturday. Three Cavaliers had career nights in the win as Zach Cochran rushed for 165 yards and three touchdowns, Cule LaVoi completed 16 of 28 passes for 248 yards and two touchdowns, and Terrance Younger caught three passes for 92 yards.
The Rams broke out on top early in the game when Marion Harris took a handoff, broke into the secondary, and raced into the end zone from 51 yards out. Mikel Hawks connected on the point after to give Bluefield College a 7-0 lead. Late in the first quarter, the Cavs would tie the game as Julian Stewart hauled in a 14 yard touchdown pass from Culen LaVoi; Paul Melshen made the extra point to tie the game.
One drive later, UVa-Wise took the lead and never looked back as Zach Cochran scored from 12 yards out. Melshen made his second extra point of the game to make the score 14-7 with 13:17 to play in the opening half. The drive was just two plays as the Cavs took over in the red zone following a Nick Smith interception. With two minutes to play in the first half, UVa-Wise extended its lead to two scores when Stewart hauled in his second touchdown pass of the game, this time from 11 yards out. The drive capped off a 50 yard drive that spanned six plays and nearly three minutes of clock. Melshen was once again good on the extra point to send UVa-Wise into the locker room up 21-7.
UVa-Wise received the second half kickoff and promptly marched down the field. Cochran’s second touchdown run of the game finished off an 11 play, 67 yard drive that took nearly six minutes off the third quarter clock. Melshen added the point after try to give the Cavs a commanding 28-7 lead.
The score would remain 28-7 until Bluefield’s Craig Walker hauled in a pass from Cory Mabry on a fourth and goal play with 10:41 to go in the game. The touchdown pass ended a 14 play, 76 yard drive that consumed six minutes and 35 seconds. Hawks added the extra point to cut the deficit to 14 at 28-14. The Rams defense would force a three and out on the subsequent Cavalier possession, forcing a punt. The punt attempt by Dean Hogan was blocked and returned by Harry Casseus for a touchdown, the touchdown was the second in just over a minute for the Rams. Hawks added the extra point cutting the lead to 28-21 with 9:37 to play.
Following a stop by the Bluefield defense, the Rams had moved the ball to Cavalier territory. On first and ten from the UVa-Wise 38, Josh Wells raced around left end only to be met by A.J. Portee. The Cavalier senior stripped the ball from Wells and Portee’s teammate Vance Gibbs scooped the ball up to end the threat. UVa-Wise would then turn to the ground in effort to run out the clock. The ground game would do just that as Bluefield would not again touch the ball until seven seconds remained in the game and the Cavs had added seven more points. Cochran put the game away with his third rushing touchdown of the contest when he scored from one yard out on a fourth and goal play. Melshen’s point after finished the game’s scoring to give UVa-Wise a 35-21 win.
The loss was the seventh consecutive loss to open the season for Bluefield while UVa-Wise won its second road game of the season. The Cavs will return to action next Saturday when the team hosts the Knights of Kentucky Christian University. Kickoff is set for 6:00 PM inside Carl Smith Stadium.