BLUEFIELD, W.Va. - Union freshman Chandler Whittlesey threw for three touchdowns and became the second quarterback in program history to rush for over 100 yards as the Bulldogs outlasted host Bluefield (Va.) 45-35 in Mid-South Conference East play on Saturday.
Whittlesey completed 9-of-18 passes for 191 yards and three touchdowns and ran for 108 yards on 16 carries. The only other Bulldog signal-caller to rush for over 100 yards was Matt Pursel, who galloped for 141 yards on 15 carries in a 30-14 win over Belhaven (Miss.) on Nov. 8, 2003.
The win improves Union's record to 2-5 overall and 1-1 in conference play, while Bluefield drops to 0-7 overall and 0-3 in MSC East action.
The game was played at Mitchell Field in Bluefield, W.Va.
Bluefield held the early advantage, but Union took the game over just before the half and on into the third as the Bulldogs reeled off 24 consecutive points.
Trailing 20-14, Zack Martin capped a six-play, 70-yard drive with a 2-yard plunge with 3:31 left in the half. After the PAT, Union led 21-20.
The Union defense came up big as Marquis Oliver picked off a pass, giving the Bulldogs the ball on the Bluefield 27. After three plays of no progress, Union lined up for a field goal but faked out Bluefield instead as Levi Wilson hit Domonique Jefferson for a 27-yard touchdown pass, upping the margin to 28-20 with 1:27 remaining.
Alex Sigmon booted a 32-yard field goal to make it 31-20 Union with 9:03 to go in the third, and Whittlesey hit Jared Smith for a 20-yard scoring strike at the 3:32 mark to give Union a 38-20 cushion.
After Adrian Pope's 42-yard scoring run pulled the Rams with 10, Brian Clark rumbled 40 yards for a touchdown to put the Bulldogs up 45-28 with 14:06 left in the game.
Bluefield tacked on one more touchdown but could not get any closer as Union held on for the 45-35 victory.
Union outgained Bluefield 544-433 in total offense. The Bulldogs racked up 312 yards rushing with Clark leading the way with a career-high 184 yards on 18 carries. Smith caught four passes for 72 yards and two touchdowns, while Jefferson caught three passes for 94 yards and two scores.
Bluefield rushed for 420 yards with Pope leading the way with 155 yards and two scores on 13 carries. Sam Bennett ran for 141 yards and a score on eight attempts.
Defensively, Ryan Shipley led the way with 10 tackles with 2.0 going for a loss of 2 yards.
By the Numbers
- This is the fifth game in a row Jefferson has had a touchdown reception and the third consecutive game with two touchdown catches. He leads the team in scoring with eight touchdowns and 48 points.
- Union has scored 88 points in the last two games after scoring 102 in the previous five.
- The Bulldogs' balanced attack continues as they have rushed for 1,447 yards and passed for 1,438 on the year.
- Jefferson's eight touchdown receptions this season is tied for fourth most in program history.
- This is the second time this season Union has rushed for over 300 yards in a game. The Bulldogs ran for 306 against Cumberlands (Ky.) on Aug. 31.
- Union is 2-2 on the road this season.
Union returns home to play host to Kentucky Christian in another MSC East tilt. Kickoff is set for 1:30 p.m.