RENSSELAER, IND – Harnish Ayora’s two, one-yard touchdown runs sandwiched a Caleb Roberts fumble recovery in the endzone as the Truman Bulldog football team notched the first win of the season against St. Joseph’s College (Ind.) 23-13 on Saturday afternoon in Rensselaer, Ind.
All three Bulldog scores came on consecutive possessions in the first half as Truman raced out to a 20-0 lead before hanging on for Head Coach Gregg Nesbitt’s first collegiate coaching victory for the purple and while.
The Bulldog offense rolled in the first half as Ayora, who finished with 95 yards on 25 carries and quarterback Phil Davis (8-of-15; 130 yards) accounted 199 of the ‘Dogs 267 first half yards.
Ayora scored from a yard out at the 8:13 mark in the first quarter and following a surprise onsides kick, Roberts recovered Anton Bernard’s fumble in the endzone for a 13-0 lead.
Ayora capped off the third straight possession with another one yard score on the first play of the second quarter.
Davis and the Bulldog offense were sidelined in the second half as the defense was able to preserve the victory with key stops and seven sacks.
Truman’s defense grounded St. Joseph’s rushing attack as the Bulldogs kept the Pumas leading rusher Jashon Banks to just 32 yards on seven carriers.Combined with the sack yardage, Truman held the Pumas to a minus seven yards on the ground.
Derek Koon added a 32-yard field goal in the third quarter as the Bulldogs capitalized on a poor eight yard punt that set up good field position for Truman.
Two turnovers by the Bulldogs in the second half gave the Pumas life.However, Dennis Walls and Terrance Byrd were able to break up pass attempts by quarterback Mike Hladlik (21-of-39; 238 yards) on fourth down plays.
Truman finished with 324 yards of total offense while St. Joseph’s netted just 231 on the day.
The Bulldogs will open the 2010 home season next Saturday night against SouthwestBaptistUniversity at 7:00 p.m. in Kirksville.
Game Notes: Freshman Dallas Grier led Truman in receiving yards with five catches for 106 yards and a long of 51, all in the first half…the 51 yard reception matched last season’s longest pass play…Ayora’s 25 rushes bested last season’s high of 23 by Vanness Emokpae against Emporia State…The Bulldogs streak of 56 consecutive point after kicks was snapped when Derek Koon missed on his second attempt of the day…the victory was the 527th all-time in Truman football history and is second behind the University of Missouri-Columbia (607) among NCAA football playing schools in the state of Missouri…Nesbitt, the 22nd head coach of the Bulldogs, became the first Truman coach to win his first game on the sidelines since Randel Lukehart in 1972 (0-7 in coaching debuts since 1975)…it was the first Truman game on natural grass since 2007 and the Bulldogs are 11-1 in their last 12 games on grass…it will be their only game on grass this season.