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Rams will take an ugly victory

October 19, 2008|By John O'Brien

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. -- Shepherd University's final home football game of the year wasn't exactly a thing of beauty, but the Rams did enough Saturday to defeat a one-win West Virginia Wesleyan team 27-12 in a West Virginia Conference matchup.

The Rams (4-4, 2-4) gained more than five yards per carry in rushing for 198 yards. They clinched the victory with a five-minute drive that ended with Jimmy Sutch's 10-yard touchdown run with a minute left.

"It was not pretty by any stretch," Rams coach Monte Cater said. "At times we were out of sync offensively in the second half. We had some things that messed up our timing that I think we can get worked out."

Shepherd plays at West Liberty State and West Virginia State in the final two games of a season that began with postseason aspirations.

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The Bobcats (1-7, 1-4) put together an eight-minute drive to begin the game, converting two fourth downs. Quarterback Harry Lorusso sneaked into the end zone from inches out on fourth down to make it 6-0.

The Rams put together a long drive of their own in response, going 73 yards in 10 plays and 5:50. Michael Johnson scored from the 1-yard line, part of a day in which he rushed 12 times for 73 yards.

With 10:45 left in the first half, Tyler Lazear found Raymond Mends on a deep slant for a 48-yard touchdown that extended Shepherd's lead to 14-6. Eric Dobratz added a pair of field goals -- the second coming with 5:28 left in the third quarter -- to make it 20-6.

Just before halftime, Taros Harris thwarted a Wesleyan scoring chance by picking off a fade pass thrown by Lorusso in the end zone.

Cater called it "as big a play as there was."

"That was just 'who's got the best ups,'" Cater said. "You talk about scoring plays, but if we don't get that stop then they have the momentum at halftime. That was huge."

Lorruso scored on another 1-yard run after the Bobcats took possession after a Sutch fumble, but the extra point was blocked.

Down 20-12, Wesleyan put one last drive together, but the Rams held on a fourth-and-10 from their 38, with Deante Steele knocking down Lorusso's pass in the end zone.

Ten plays later, Sutch (20 carries for 90 yards) sealed the win with his touchdown. Lazear also had a key run on the drive, a 16-yard scramble down the right sideline.

Lazear rushed five times for 37 yards and completed 7 of 13 passes for 113 yards with no interceptions.

Reggie Taylor led Wesleyan with 32 rushes for 122 yards, while Lorusso completed 8 of 20 passes for 141 yards. Brandon Rogers caught three passes for 67 yards.

Free safety Layton Hersh had 12 tackles, a fumble recovery and two passes defensed for the Rams.

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