ATHENS, Ohio — Head coach Dan Enos was all smiles as he entered a throng of people after Saturday’s win against Ohio.
His offense endured another setback this week, losing leading junior receiver Titus Davis to an injury, and yet his team, a 20-point underdog, pulled out a 26-23 victory over the Bobcats.
“All the adversity this week and the last two weeks we’ve gone through, I’m really proud of them,” head coach Dan Enos said.
The receivers second through sixth in total receiving yards this season had combined to tally just 514 yards for the season entering the game, four fewer than Davis alone.
In the first half, no receiver had more than one catch.
On the game winning drive, junior receiver Courtney Williams was responsible for two, including a touchdown reception on a slant for five yards with 22 seconds left.
“When one of us goes down, we’re expected to pick up the group. I mean, that’s a given,” Williams said. “With him being out, it took a little bit from us, but in the end we had some players step up.”
Quarterback Cooper Rush’s last pass was one of his 20 completions on 28 throws. He threw for 224 yards and had three touchdown passes and one interception.
Running back Saylor Lavallii also contributed a career-high 184 yards rushing with three runs of at least 30 yards.
“You’re down Titus and you’re down Zurlon, and those are our two most explosive players, so we were concerned on how we were going to get explosive plays,” Enos said. “I think we were able to run the ball effectively. I think that was real positive.”
The Chippewas showed little trouble compiling yards without Davis from the start.
Rush completed all three passes for 25 yards in his first drive. The first play was a play action to tight end Deon Butler for 19 yards on the sideline. Ben McCord, a little used pass catcher, corralled a pass for another first down for eight yards.
However, it was one of two drives of over 60 yards that was for naught, since a field goal was missed by kicker Ron Coluzzi.
CMU did capitalize after the missed field goal in the middle of the third quarter, adding a field goal to grow its lead to 13-3 and scoring two touchdowns that were enough for the win.
Williams credited the offensive line for capitalizing on the drives at the end.
“It was pretty much our O-line working harder and harder and them getting us going,” Williams said. “Once it funnels out to the whole 11, we had the push and were ready to get in the end zone.”