Ferrum travelled to Maryville TN and came away with a 21-14 victory over the Scots.In what was Thomas Porter's last college game, the Senior running back went out wiith a bang scoring two of Ferrum's three touchdowns. Porter opened the scoring with 10:21 left in the second quarter with a 25 yard run to paydirt. With Scott Puschell's kick, the Panthers held a 7-0 lead. Porter was not finished with the 1st half scoring as he found the end zone again at the 5:25 mark, and with another Puschell kick Ferrum took a 14-0 lead into the locker room.
In the second half, both teams highlighted their strong defenses to begin the half as neither team scored in the third quarter. At the 13:22 mark of the final period, Maryville began their comeback as the Scots scored on an 8 yard run, and with the extra point, the score was 14-7. The excitement for the Scots was short lived however as on the ensuing kickoff, Mike Vann returned the ball 60 yards to the Maryville 31. On the next play, Makya Jackson took the ball and scored from 31 yards out . with the extra point, Ferrum again lead by 14, 21-7.
Maryville's next possession lead to a 49 yard touchdown pass with 12: 36 left, and with the extra point, Ferrum's lead was again cut to 7 points, 21-14. Ferrum would answer on their next possession as QB Matt Dobson led the Panthers on a drive highlighted by a 59 yard pass play to Makya Jackson moving the ball to the Maryville 17. Three plays later, Dobson was intercepted, ending the drive. The Panther defense rose to the occasion to stop any further Maryville threats, and the Panthers closed out the season with a victory.
Ferrum keys to a victory:
Control Time of Possession. This was a job well done by Ferrum as they dominated time of possession in every quarter but the fourth. Overall they did lead in this statistic.
Ball Protection - Win the Turnover war.
Ferrum had 2 turnovers,(1 fumble, and 1 Int) and the fumble did lead to a Maryville score. Nonetheless, Ferrum improved greatly in this area from last week.
Be prepared to throw the ball.
This, as usual, was not the focus of the Ferrum offensive attack. While Dobson was 3-12 for 95 yards, Most of the Panther attack was on the ground.
Be prepared to defend the pass- Maryville will put it up-
Yes they did throw- 29 times, completing 12 for 217 yards and 2 touchdowns. This again was the weak point for Ferrum, but Ferrum did get to their QB to record 2 sacks.Bent but did not break.
Special teams will be important- Puschell was perfect on xp's, and Mike Vann's 61 yard kickoff return was crucial in the grand scheme of things. T.J. Grzeikowski, who has not had quite the same success as last year, finished the 2009 season on a high note- 5 punts averaging 52.6 yards. 3 of his punts were over 50 yards with his longest being 66 yards. This is seldom thought of as a critical part of the outcome, but it was a major factor in this win.
So this season is over, and Ferrum ends 5-5. North Carolina Wesleyan will be the USA South representative in the NCAA tournament. Maybe not as successful a season as some may have expected, but Ferrum, who ended up being a much younger team than was originally anticipated, grew and matured as the season went on. This team had its struggles, but in all they proved that they are a force in the USA South. Next year, Ferrum will have lots of new names and faces, but I personally believe that the coaching staff of the Panthers will have them prepared, and the Seniors next season will lead by example, just as the Seniors of this season have done.