Such was the case in Saturday’s South Atlantic Conference football game between Tusculum and Virginia-Wise at Carl Smith Stadium.
Tusculum (2-5, 2-3) took advantage of a missed PAT kick by senior Daryian Basco and a failed 2-point conversion pass by quarterback Tanner Bernard to take a 21-19 victory.
“Each team scored three touchdowns. The difference is they kicked three extra points and we couldn’t hit one. That was the difference in the ballgame,” said Cavaliers coach Dane Damron. “It’s very, very frustrating. I’ve been scared all season long that it could come to something like this, which concerned me.
“It raised its bad head today and it’s unfortunate. We probably should be out there right now in overtime if we could just kick extra points.”
The Cavs scored their most points since their 40-22 season-opening win over Chowan. They’ve lost six straight since then, the offense sputtering through the SAC.
“We’re incredibly young offensively and we’ve been trying to find things that those kids can do,” Damron noted. “I thought that (offensive coordinator Zach) Lewis and his staff did a really good job of putting together some things today. We hit some big runs and we hit some big pass plays and we did a lot of good things.
“But we’re just not consistent. It seems like every time we do something good, we do two things bad. That’s the mark of a young football team.”
SCORE FOR SCORE
The teams swapped scores throughout the contest.
The Pioneers got on the scoreboard on their first drive when Bryce Moore hit Tory Ponder for a 25-yard touchdown, and Eli Shepherd’s PAT put Tusculum up 7-0.
UVa-Wise answered when Garrett Cropp, one of two quarterbacks to see time on the field for the Cavs, scored on an 8-yard run. Basco’s kick was off the mark, however, leaving UVa-Wise down by one.
Moore, who completed 12 of 27 passes for 190 yards and two TDs with three interceptions, threw his second scoring pass in the second quarter, a 35- yarder to Ajay Belanger. Shepherd’s kick put Tusculum up 14-6.
UVa-Wise answered again with just eight seconds left in the opening half when J’Quan Anderson scored from a yard out to cap an eight-play, 67-yard drive.
Trailing by two, the Cavaliers went for two but Bernard’s pass fell incomplete.
Moore used his feet in the third to score from 15 yards out with 9:58 remaining in the quarter. Again, Shepherd provided the PAT for a 21-12 Pioneers lead.
UVa-Wise countered by marching 80 yards to the end zone. Shaheim Revel capped the drive with a 3-yard scoring run with 1:32 left to play. Basco made the PAT this time and the Cavs trailed by two, 21-19.
UVa-Wise attempted an onside kick, but Tusculum recovered the ball to seal the win.
BY THE NUMBERS
Jordon Shippy led Tusculum’s ground game with 127 yards on 29 carries.
UVa-Wise got 46 yards rushing on seven carries from Terrence Lambert. Bernard finished 16-of-40 passing for 153 yards and one interception.
Both teams are back in action next weekend. UVa-Wise travels to Wingate for another SAC contest. Tusculum hosts UNC-Pembroke in nonconference action.