LEXINGTON, Va. (Sept. 10, 2011) - The No. 5 William and Mary football team extended its winning streak against VMI to 25 games with a 24-7 victory on Saturday afternoon at Foster Stadium.
W&M (1-1) nearly recorded its second consecutive shutout versus the Keydets (0-2) after earning a 45-0 win last season in Williamsburg, but a late touchdown pass in the waning minutes of the fourth quarter helped VMI avoid its first home shutout since Sept. 8, 2001, which was a 34-0 Tribe win.
The College outgained the Keydets, 377-225, and piled up 216 yards on the ground.
Senior All-American running back Jonathan Grimes scored a pair of touchdowns - one on the ground and one through the air - and finished the afternoon with a game-high 87 rushing yards on 21 carries. In doing so, he increased his career all-purpose yards total to 5,664 and moved past former Delaware standout Omar Cuff into eighth place on the Colonial Athletic Association's all-time list.
Redshirt freshman running back Keith McBride also aided the ground attack and totaled 76 yards on 12 carries with his first career touchdown.
Junior linebacker Jabrel Mines followed up his 16-tackle effort at Virginia last weekend with a game-high 12 stops against the Keydets. Senior linebacker Jake Trantin and junior linebacker Dante Cook also came up big with nine tackles apiece, while senior defensive end Marcus Hyde and junior safety Brian Thompson recorded interceptions. Hyde also blocked a punt early in the third quarter.
After a scoreless first quarter, the Tribe took a 7-0 lead with a 6-yard swing pass from senior quarterback Michael Paulus to Grimes with 12:49 remaining in the second quarter. The 13-play, 75-yard drive was keyed by a 24-yard pass from Paulus to redshirt freshman wideout Sean Ballard, while Grimes carried the ball seven times for 25 yards to help set up the touchdown.
VMI threatened to move into the red zone midway through the second quarter, but Trantin and Hyde combined to stop VMI running back Chaz Jones for no gain on a fourth-and-one at the Tribe's 24-yard line.
The Tribe increased its lead to 14-0 with a 5-yard touchdown run by McBride, the first of his career, with 1:48 remaining in the half. The five-play, 57-yard drive lasted just 2:01 and was set up with a 34-yard pass from Paulus to senior wide receiver Ryan Woolfolk down the W&M sideline on the play prior to McBride's score.
In addition to owning a two-touchdown lead at halftime, W&M outgained VMI, 184-112, and piled up 105 rushing yards in the opening 30 minutes. Grimes led the offensive attack with 75 rushing yards on 15 carries.
After an interception by Hyde (off a ball tipped at the line of scrimmage by senior tackle Harold Robertson II) gave W&M possession at VMI's 9-yard line, the College scored three plays later on a 3-yard touchdown run by Grimes to push the lead to 21-0 with 10:18 showing in the third quarter.
A 20-yard field goal by sophomore placekicker Drake Kuhn early in the fourth quarter increased the margin to 24-0 and capped off a 17-play, 88-yard drive that lasted 8:35. Paulus engineered the drive by completing 6-of-7 passes for 62 yards, while senior tight end Alex Gottlieb had four catches for 47 yards. McBride also aided the drive with 41 rushing yards on five carries.
The Tribe looked as if it might punch in another touchdown early in the fourth quarter, but VMI's Logan Staib intercepted sophomore quarterback Brent Caprio on a fourth-and-one pass in the end zone to halt the scoring opportunity.
An 11-yard touchdown pass from Adam Morgan to Trent White on a fourth and four with 3:20 remaining put VMI on the scoreboard and helped the Keydets avoid the shutout.
The Tribe will return to action next weekend when it hosts New Haven for its home opener on Saturday at 7 p.m.