Wise, Virginia - Visiting Cumberland University rushed for 302 yards en route to a 24-17 victory over UVa-Wise at Carl Smith Stadium on Saturday. The victorious Bulldogs were led by Lemeco Miller who gained 160 yards on 29 carries while also rushing for three touchdowns. In a losing effort, Paul Melshen tied the UVa-Wise school record for made field goals with a 44 yard field goal late in the first half.
Lemeco Miller got the Bulldogs on the board when he capped off a 13 play 67 yard drive with a one yard touchdown scamper. Jared White connected on the point after to give Cumberland a 7-0 lead.
UVa-Wise tied the game on its first drive of the second quarter when Cullen LaVoi escaped pressure in the backfield, rushed towards the end zone, turning a somersault on a tackle attempt, landing across the goal line for the first points of the game for the Cavs. Paul Melshen made the point after to tie the game at 7-7. One drive later, it was once again Miller putting the finishing touchdowns on a long scoring drive. The tailback darted in from two yards out to complete a 12 play 67 yard drive; once again White was successful on the point after to give the Bulldogs a 14-7 advantage.
The subsequent UVa-Wise drive saw Melshen make history. The Cavs moved the ball to the Bulldogs to the 27 yard line before the drive stalled out. Head Coach Dewey Lusk elected to send Melshen out for a 44 yard attempt. The junior was true on the kick, his 18th made field goal of his career to tie the all-time career field goals made record previously held by Jay Withrow. With just 52 ticks showing on the scoreboard, the Bulldogs raced down the field setting up White for a 25 yard field goal try. The kick was good to make the halftime score 17-10 in favor of the visitors.
The second half saw the Bulldogs continue to dominate on the ground as Miller scored his third rushing touchdown of the game on the half's opening drive. This time, the back scored from four yards out to finish a nine play 60 yard drive. White made his third point after of the game to give Cumberland its biggest lead of the tame at 24-10. Late in the quarter, LaVoi scored his second rushing touchdown of the game when he scored from one yard out on a fourth and goal opportunity. The play finished a nine play drive that ate up nearly four minutes of clock. The point after attempt by Melshen was good to draw the Cavs within a score at 24-17.
In the fourth quarter, UVa-Wise appeared to be on the cusp of tying the game as the Cavs moved the ball inside the visiting 40 yard line with under a minute to play. Following an incomplete pass on second and one, UVa-Wise once again came up unsuccessful on third down as LaVoi was unable to pick up a first down after having to escape the pocket due to pressure. From there, UVa-Wise called its final timeout of the game prior to fourth down. On fourth down, the Bulldogs sent pressure and forced an errant throw by LaVoi to seal the 24-17 victory.
With the victory, Cumberland improves to 3-1 on the season while UVa-Wise drops to 1-4 on the year. The Cavaliers will return to action next week for Homecoming 2012 when Belhaven University visits Carl Smith Stadium for a 6:00 PM kickoff.