NEWPORT NEWS—Quarterback Titus Jones accounted for 254 offensive yards and scored what proved to be the game-winning touchdown in the third quarter as Ferrum College bested Christopher Newport University, 26-19, Saturday in a non-conference football match-up at Townebank Stadium.
The Panthers (2-0) and the Captains (1-2) were USA South Athletic Conference rivals from 2001-2014, and Saturday’s contest the first in the series since CNU left the USA South for the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC).
Ferrum’s victory is its second in the series, one in which CNU had won 11 straight games and held a 13-1 won-loss advantage.
The Panthers entered the contest with an 0-7 record on the Captains’ home field.
The Panthers’ victory is their second in a row; the Captains’ loss is their second in a row.
Jones’ third-quarter TD broke a 10-10 halftime stalemate.
The Captains led twice in the opening half: at 3:04 of the first quarter after Adam Luncher’s four-yard scoring run and 10-7 with 6:04 left in the first half after Ryan Castle’s 22-yard field goal.
Ferrum squared the count at 7 at 9:03 of the second stanza when Jones hit Tmahdae Penn with a 38-yard scoring strike. With no time left in the half, Seth Deaton evened the score at 10 when he converted a 19-yard field goal.
CNU closed the third-quarter gap to 17-13 when Castle made a 24-yard field goal.
In the final frame, Ferrum produced a nine-point scoring surge to take command.
Jones hit Penn with a five-yard TD strike with 10:44 showing, a pitch and catch score that was set up by Jones’ 70-yard hook-up with Matthew Montgomery.
Ferrum’s lead was 23-13 when Deaton finished the Panthers’ scoring with a 24-yard field goal with 2:58 to play.
The Panthers; however, had to withstand one last Captains’ rally.
With 21 seconds left, quarterback Matt Dzierski completed a 19-yard TD toss to Chase Kelly to pull the Captains to within one score.
The Captains bypassed a point-after-touchdown (PAT) kick in favor of a 2-point conversion try that the Panthers were able to stymie.
Then, the Panthers recovered the ensuing on-side kickoff and ran out the clock.
In a turnover-free contest that featured balance between the run and the pass by both teams, Ferrum gained 359 offensive yards (182 passing, 177 rushing) to CNU’s 291 (144 passing, 147 rushing).
Dzierski was 19 of 32 passing with a TD. Kelly was his top target with seven catches for 63 yards. Luncher rushed for 67 yards.
Jones was 10 of 16 passing with two TDs, both to Penn, who caught five passes for 81 yards.
Sean Wilkinson for CNU and Drew Hill for Ferrum each registered 10 tackles.
Ferrum held a 31:36 to 28:34 edge in time of possession.
Now, the series goes on hiatus again as the Panthers and the Captains are not scheduled to play in 2022.
Ferrum returns to action Saturday against Apprentice. Kickoff at W.B. Adams Stadium is 1 p.m.