Score: Mars Hill 42, Limestone 39
Records: Mars Hill (2-1), Limestone (2-1)
Location: W.K. Brumbach Stadium
INSIDE THE BOXSCORE
- Junior wideout Vyncint Smith (Columbia, S.C.) finished with 119 yards and two touchdowns
- Freshman Ivan Corbin (Warner Robins, Ga.) went 20-of-44 for 234 yards and two TDs
- Redshirt-sophomore Ga’Quan Maize (Florence, S.C.) rushed for 77 yards and a TD
- Redshirt-junior PJ Brown (Hopkins, S.C.) returned an interception 75 yards for a touchdown
- Junior Joshua Simmons (Moncks Corner, S.C.) added a 35-yard interception return for a touchdown; he also posted 10 tackles
- Redshirt-junior CJ Blackmon (Lancaster, S.C.) finished with a team-high 13 tackles and a pick
- Sophomore Chris Mathis (Moncks Corner, S.C.) added seven tackles and a sack
HOW IT HAPPENED
A fumbled snap on a punt attempt on Limestone’s opening possession set the Lions up with a first-and-goal at the 2-yard line less than two minutes into the game. Mars Hill scored one play later on a 2-yard run by Craig Rucker to make it 7-0 right off the bat.
The Saints would tie the contest later in the quarter when Brown pulled down a tipped pass and sprinted 75 yards down the home sideline for the touchdown. It was his second defensive score of the season.
Mars Hill responded with a 4-play, 79-yard drive on its next possession, capped by a 69-yard catch-and-run by Gilbert Johnson to make it 14-7 after one.
The Lions extended their lead in the second quarter when Rucker caught a short hitch pass out of the backfield and then went the distance for a 63-yard touchdown. Mars Hill led 21-7 at the break.
After Mars Hill scored off a Limestone turnover to start the third quarter, making it a 28-7 ballgame, the Saints used a 10-play, 62-yard scoring drive to cut into the margin. Maize had 27 yards on the drive and finished it off with a 2-yard touchdown plunge to close the gap to 28-14.
A few plays later, Simmons stepped in front of QB David Salmon’s pass attempt and returned it 35 yards for a touchdown, pulling the Blue and Gold to within 28-21 with 5:35 left in the third.
Limestone made it 28-24 early in the fourth as a 31-yard field goal by senior Logan Ard (Rock Hill, S.C.) capped an 11-play, 56-yard drive. However, the Lions countered with a long 90-yard drive on the ensuing possession to pull ahead 35-24 with less than 10 minutes to play.
The Saints continued to fight back and made it a one possession game when Corbin hit Smith for a 44-yard touchdown strike. The duo would then connect on the two-point conversion as Limestone trimmed the lead to 35-32 with 8:34 remaining.
Mars Hill would put the game away with an 11-play, 81-yard drive that melted 5:28 off the clock on its next possession, pushing its lead to a 10-point advantage. The Blue and Gold would then make it 42-39 with 41 seconds left as Corbin and Smith once again hooked up for a touchdown.
The Lions recovered the resulting onside kick, and then took a couple of knees to close out the game.
The Saints made it a one-possession game three times during the fourth quarter, but the Lions were able to hold off the momentum shifts with two long touchdown drives in the final frame.
- Limestone recorded 362 yards of offense, but surrendered over 500 yards to Mars Hill
- The Saints were flagged 11 times for 88 yards
- Leading the nation in takeaways entering the game, the Blue and Gold added three more and now have 15 through the first three games
- Limestone has four defensive touchdowns on the year
Limestone will head back out on the road next week as it travels to face Lenoir-Rhyne University on Saturday, September 24 at 7 p.m.