There are things you get to do in a 68-3 win that you can’t do otherwise. Things such as giving every player dressed for the game a chance to get on the field and lining up offensive and defensive lineman in the backfield and giving them some carries.
Presbyterian head coach Kevin Kelley had the opportunity to do those things in his 2nd college game — a 2nd consecutive blowout win, this time over Fort Lauderdale. Kelley said all 100 players dressed for Saturday’s game got an opportunity to play and some of them found themselves in unique, out-of-position situations, like center Nyckolas Johnson and defensive end Izarius Woods who both got to line up as tailbacks and run the ball.
Kelley said it’s meant a lot to give over 50 guys the chance to appear in their 1st college games over the past two weeks.
“I think that’s cool,” Kelley said after the game. “It’s something for them to be proud of. Mark that off their bucket list. You’re one out of a lot of people that gets to play in a Division I college football game.”
Kelley was in a position to do that because of another relentless offensive performance and, unlike last week, a dominant defensive performance.
Starting with the offense, the Blue Hose (2-0) scored 22 points in the 1st quarter and that set the tone. Quarterback Ren Hefley didn’t set FCS records like last week, but he still had a solid game, throwing for 309 yards and 4 touchdowns, all in the 1st half. He did throw a pair of interceptions in the red zone, which didn’t matter in this game but might against a stronger opponent like Campbell next week.
“It’s very important [to clean that up],” Hefley said. “It will be the difference between winning and losing for sure.”
Kiaran Turner was the leading receiver for Presbyterian with 3 catches for 100 yards and 2 touchdowns. Delvecchio Powell II had a big game as well with 73 rushing yards and 2 catches for 50 more yards.
Ultimately, it was the defense that really stole the show. After allowing 43 points to St. Andrews, the Blue Hose held Fort Lauderdale (0-1) to just 3 points and 188 total yards.
“I know the defensive guys were upset with themselves and some mistakes they made [last week]” Kelley said. “I was really happy with the defense. We needed a little momentum going into next week, and I think they needed a step forward and a sign that they were on the right track. I think they showed that.”
The defense also recorded three scores — 2 safeties and a 98-yard pick-6 by Jayden Martin in the 3rd quarter. The 98 yards was the longest interception return in Presbyterian’s D1 history as well as the longest in Martin’s football career.
“That is probably the longest I’ve run ever,” Martin admitted with a smile after the game.
Martin said the defense is gaining confidence and a lot of it has to do with having to go up against Kelley’s offense in practice every day.
“It really helps our defense because he does so many different things,” Martin said. “When it comes down to game day, we feel prepared because we feel like we’ve seen everything with his offense.”
It’s worth noting that this 68-3 rout came against a Fort Lauderdale team playing its 1st game in program history. The program was established just last year, and the 1st two games this season were canceled due to COVID-19 issues on the team. The Eagles only had 35 players available to play, and they were outmatched from the start. Aside from scoring the 1st points in program history, there was little for Fort Lauderdale to take away from the game aside from the knowledge that it will only get better from here.
Presbyterian’s 1st real test of the season comes next week against Campbell (0-2) on the road, and Kelley feels like the team is in a really good position to compete for a win against the Camels.
To review the box score, click here.