DII football showcase: Shepherd's Connor Jessop's five TDs lead Rams past Notre Dame College
SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. – Senior quarterback Connor Jessop completed 35-of-48 passes for 476 yards and five touchdowns and rushed seven times for 50 yards and a pair of scores to lead Shepherd University to a 54-49 win over Notre Dame College in MEC football action at Ram Stadium on Saturday.
Shepherd took a 7-0 lead when senior quarterback Jessop teamed with sophomore wide receiver Hakeem Holland on a 16-yard scoring pass with 13:02 left in the first quarter. Senior kicker Zach Wise added the extra point.
DJ Greene rushed 14 yards to the Shepherd five-yard line and fumbled when hit by senior safety Tre Anderson. Tay Johnson recovered the fumble in the end zone with 1:30 left in the first quarter to tie the game.
Shepherd took a 14-7 lead when Jessop teamed with junior wide receiver Ryan Feiss on a 21-yard score with 9:49 left in the second quarter.
Emmanuel Smith of Notre Dame took the ensuing kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown with 9:37 left in the half to tie the game.
The Rams took a 21-14 lead into the break when senior running back Jabre Lolley scored on a two-yard plunge with 3:49 left in the half.
Notre Dame tied the game at 21-21 when a scrambling Malik Grove found Johnson in the end zone for a 16-yard scoring strike with 12:09 left in the third quarter.
Jessop and Holland teamed on a 21-yard scoring pass with 11:09 left in the third quarter to give the Rams a 28-21 advantage.
Grove fired a 19-yard scoring strike to Connor Henry with 8:31 left in the third quarter to tie the game.
Jessop rambled 18 yards for a score to give Shepherd a 35-28 lead with 6:26 left in the third quarter and minutes later teamed with Holland on a 15-yard scoring strike to give the Rams a 41-28 lead.
Jessop ran eight yards for a score with 12:35 left in the fourth quarter to give the Rams a 48-28 lead.
The Falcons answered back as D. J. Greene rambled 13 yards for a touchdown with 10:05 left in the fourth quarter.
Jessop fired a 12-yard touchdown pass to junior wide receiver Wayna Allen minutes later to extend the Shepherd lead to 54-35.
Grove teamed with Johnson on a four-yard score with 2:52 left in the game and Greene dashed 23 yards for a score with 2:03 left in the contest to complete the scoring.
Grove completed 21-of-29 passes for 216 yards and three scores for the Falcons.
Greene rushed for a game-high 121 yards on 22 carries.
Feiss led the Shepherd receivers with 11 catches for 196 yards, while Holland added 10 catches for 134 yards. Emmanuel Smith had 14 receptions for 98 yards to pace the Falcons.
Shepherd gained 561 yards of total offense, while Notre Dame totaled 389.
Senior inside linebacker James Gupton and senior defensive end Myles Humphrey each led the Rams with 10 tackles apiece. Gupton had two tackles-for-loss and a forced fumble, while Humphrey had three tackles for loss and a pair of sacks. Tre'von Slater and Alex Zeich each had seven stops to lead Notre Dame.
The Rams return to action on Sept. 16 when they travel to Glenville State for a noon contest.
Notes: Jessop's 476 passing yards are four yards shy of the Shepherd single game mark of 480 that he set against West Virginia State last year … Jessop's five touchdown passes tie a school single game mark … the 103 totals points scored in the game surpass the program mark for most points for both teams set in 2007 when California (Pa.) and Shepherd combined for 96 points.