LEXINGTON, Va. – Following an historic 2021 spring season, the 17th-ranked VMI football team opened the fall campaign with an impressive 45-24 win over Davidson College Saturday afternoon at Foster Stadium.
In the spring, both teams advanced to the FCS playoffs as champions of their respective conferences.
The Keydets (1-0) jumped out early on the Wildcats, opening a 21-0 lead in the second quarter and held at least two-score advantage the rest of the way. After the VMI defense forced a three-and-out in Davidson’s first drive, senior running back Korey Bridy found the end zone with a 13-yard run to cap a 12-play, 69 yard drive. The Keydets took advantage of a Davidson turnover on the next possession and had to march just 40 yards to make the game 14-0. Redshirt sophomore quarterback Seth Morgan capped a two-play drive, running it in from four yards out.
Junior Aljareek Malry reeled in an interception at the end of the first quarter to again set up the Keydet offense in prime field position. Morgan capitalized with a nine-yard strike to Jakob Herres to push the lead to 21-0 early in the second period.
The Wildcats (0-1) got on the board at the 10:15 mark of the second quarter when Mark McCurdy took a pitch from quarterback Louis Colosimo and ran it 28 yards down the sideline for a touchdown to cut the VMI lead to 21-7. They would later add a 35-yard field goal by Caden Bonoffski with just under three minutes to play before the half.
VMI took advantage of the little time left and rushed down the field to set up a 46-yard field goal by Jerry Rice, a new career-high, as time expired to go into the half with a 24-10 lead.
Midway through the third quarter, Herres caught a 13-yard touchdown pass from Morgan to increase the VMI advantage to 31-10.
Both teams went scoreless until midway through the fourth quarter when VMI sophomore Rashad Raymond got into the endzone from one yard out to put the Keydets up, 38-10, with 7:41 to play.
Davidson’s Coy Williams scored on a 34-yard run with 3:21 left to make the score 38-17, which VMI quickly countered when sophomore running back Grant Swinehart rumbled 52 yards for VMI’s final touchdown of the game with 2:30 on the clock. Finishing the game strong, the Wildcats scored one final time with 32 seconds left on a 2-yard run by Bernard Turner for the game’s final outcome.
Morgan finished going 18-for-23 for 157 yards and two touchdowns with only one pick. Bridy led the Keydets with 68 net yards on the ground while Leroy Thomas led all VMI receivers with 58 yards.
Williams led the Davidson rushing attack with 80 net yards on the ground while Bradyn Oakley led all Wildcats with 18 receiving yards.
The Keydets return to action next Saturday morning to face their only FBS opponent of the season in Kent State of the Mid-American Conference. Kickoff in Kent, Ohio, is set for 11:30 a.m.
Postgame quotes – VMI Head Coach Scott Wachenheim
“It’s always great to win a first game especially the first game and even more special at home. Congratulations to our players who fought hard and got a win against a quality football team the Davidson who had the top team in FCS in rushing offense last year. I’m very proud of the way our team played and competed. We’re 1-0. We’ll enjoy it and then Monday we’ll watch the film and try to get better as we face Kent State of the MAC next week.”
“Our defense runs to the ball well and I thought they did a good job of tackling in the game for the most part. I liked they were aggressive and they were physical against a very physical opponent. Offensively, when we are executing on all cylinders we’re very difficult to stop and I thought we executed at a decent level for an opening ballgame. Our big-time players stepped up and made big-time plays. I liked the fast start we got out to. That was something we really emphasized in training camp.”