Colby Campbell shattered the records, but Presbyterian College was shattering in general while upsetting Davidson, 29-24, on Saturday afternoon at Bailey Memorial Stadium.
Campbell, a senior from Montmorenci and South Aiken High, amassed 25 tackles en route to setting a new Presbyterian D1 single-game record. Campbell already held the top spot in the record books, making 20 stops against Kennesaw State in 2019.
A major difference was that PC lost big (55-10) in the previous game. Davidson upset then-No. 25 San Diego -- in California, no less – a week earlier. The Wildcats also defeated Presbyterian, 41-24, on March 20.
They played twice. It’s a long story in a weird year.
Campbell also surpassed Antwan Thomas (2007-08) for most tackles for loss in Presbyterian’s D1 history, which began in 2007, with a career total of 32.
The Wildcats outrushed the Blue Hose, 270-113, and the Hose outpassed the Cats, 212-55. Davidson ran 77 plays and averaged 4.2 yards on each of them. Presbyterian had only 49 snaps but averaged 6.6 yards for each. Ball control did not prevail.
The game began with a Davidson (4-2) 11-play, 74-yard drive that ended in a Coy Williams 1-yard touchdown run. The drive offered no passing plays, a trend that continued for the rest of the game for the Wildcats, or at least until the end, when conditions demanded the Wildcats pass.
Presbyterian (3-3) answered with a touchdown of its own, Jarius Jeter sweeping into the end zone from 15 yards out.
The score held at 7-7 until around the 5-minute mark in the second quarter when Tyler Huff found his favorite target, Keith Pearson, for a 5-yard touchdown. Pearson reeled in 11 catches for 114 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Davidson’s Caden Bonoffski added a 22-yard field goal just before the break to trim the PC edge to 14-10.
The Blue Hose received the second-half kickoff, but the Wildcats forced a Huff fumble, which led to great field position, on which Davidson capitalized with another Coy Williams touchdown of 3 yards.
Williams rushed for 35 yards and 2 touchdowns on 11 carries, but the bulk of the Wildcat yards were the work of the quarterback, Tyler Phelps, who gained 115 yards in 21 carries. Phelps showed little interest in passing, hitting 5 of 12 for a flimsy 55 yards.
The teams traded punts, and with time running out in the third quarter, Huff found Pearson again for a 27-yard touchdown. Jack Henegan missed the extra point, but PC still led, 20-17.
Opening the fourth quarter, the Blue Hose forced a fumble of their own, stripping Phelps of the football. The Blue Hose made quick work of the turnover and cashed it in for a 4-yard touchdown run from Huff to extend the lead to 26-17. Again the conversion failed.
Huff was a paragon of efficiency, completing 21 of 25 passes for 198 yards and 2 touchdowns, while also running for 35 yards and a touchdown on the ground.
Davidson answered back with a touchdown to trim PC’s lead to 26-24, but this was as close as the Wildcats could get. Henegan connected on a 25-yard field goal with 1:49 to play, giving the Blue Hose their final margin.
The Blue Hose held on for dear life. On Davidson’s last-ditch drive, Presbyterian was called for pass interference on three plays in a span of four. The last two flags were assessed Rod Haygood, who then intercepted Phelps with 1:22 remaining to seal the victory.
Presbyterian travels to Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, next Saturday for its final game of the season. Kickoff is at 2 p.m. EDT.