Shepherd routs Bobcats, 43-0
BUCKHANNON — A defense that choked the very breath out of West Virginia’s Wesleyan’s ground offense and limited the Bobcats to only seven completed passes was eagerly joined by an offense that totaled 457 yards of total offense as Shepherd monopolized every part of its 43-0 win on the road to begin the 2015 season.
With some people wondering about the Rams’ offensive line and others carefully watching the six new defensive starters from a year ago, Shepherd moved to 174 rushing yards and resisted anything the homestanding Bobcats attempted.
Not much went wrong for the depth-wealthy Rams who had three field goals from Ryan Earls, three rushing scores and two touchdown passes from Jeff Ziemba.
It was a dominant afternoon for the Shepherd defense, which allowed only 81 yards of total offense . . . with only 24 of those scant yards coming on the ground.
With Myles Humphrey making five stops for lost yardage and Isaiah Ross, Shaneil Jenkins, and Tatah Ndeh joining with three new starters in the secondary, the Rams silenced the Bobcat offense at almost every turn.
Once Ziemba found Angelo Jean-Louis with a 20-yard scoring pass with just 16 seconds left in the first half, the Rams had shown West Virginia Wesleyan the handwriting on the wall with a 17-0 lead leaving the first half.
In the second half, Shepherd outscored the home side, 26-0, to complete its season-opening shutout.
Ziemba finished with 283 passing yards and didn’t suffer any interceptions. Ty Hollingsworth had a three-yard TD catch in the fourth quarter.
Jabre Lolley scored twice on runs of 20 yards and 17 yards and Malik Harleston squeezed in from one yard out for Shepherd’s other TD on the ground.
There were three sacks by the omnipresent Shepherd defense. The Bobcats had five fumbles, but lost only one. But the Rams had three interceptions to further blunt the Bobcat offense.
About the only blemish found on the Shepherd statistical sheet were the 16 penalties for a staggering 156 yards.
The touchdown just before the half had to give the Bobcats every reason to believe its wasn’t going to be an upset of the Rams in their future. And Shepherd’s lopsided wins over the Bobcats in both 2013 and 2014 had to be cause for justified concern in every cranny of the Bobcat camp.
And when the Shepherd defense continued its smothering play early in the second half, West Virginia Wesleyan showed it hadn’t found any answers during the halftime break.