HAMPTON — Homecoming Saturday was wet, miserable and sloppy. Perfect for a grinder like Jeremiah Schwartz.
With the rain falling all day, Schwartz rushed for 188 yards on 33 carries and scored twice as Hampton held on to beat
"Yeah, I do like games like this when I know we're not going to throw the ball as much," Schwartz said. "Getting the ball is always something you look forward to. When you've got the ball in your hands, it shows the team trusts you to make the play."
HU coach Donovan Rose knew the
Williamson was intercepted twice in six attempts, and backup Najee Tyler also threw a pick. The Pirates all but abandoned the passing game from the second quarter on.
"With J.J. Williamson being a freshman and the rain, there was no doubt in my mind we'd have to run it," Rose said. "When we did throw, we ended up with three interceptions. I didn't see any need to do that. I knew they'd pile nine or 10 in the box, but (Schwartz) got the yardage."
Still, HU had trouble sustaining anything against a Savannah defense that came in allowing 52 points a game (121st in the nation). In its previous seven games, the Tigers (1-7, 0-5) had held an opponent scoreless for a quarter only once. But HU failed to scratch in the first period Saturday.
The Pirates trailed 3-0 until Antonio McCloude's 12-yard touchdown run with 4:08 left in the second quarter. Schwartz added his 61-yard TD to make it 14-3 at the half.
Savannah gift-wrapped HU's third touchdown, which was set up when a bad snap in punt formation was recovered at the Tigers' 1-yard line. Schwartz scored on the next play to make it 21-3 with 3:43 left in the third.
Savannah cut it to 21-13 on Preston McCarthy's field goal with 9:25 left in the game and then had a chance to tie five minutes later with a first-and-goal from the 6-yard line. But Charles Benning and Matthew Davis sacked Tigers quarterback Antonio Bostick on fourth-and-goal.
"That was big," Rose said. "If they had scored on that one, it probably would have been a different scenario."
Also big was HU's defense in the red zone. Savannah drove inside the HU 15-yard line five times but only once came away with a touchdown. Twice the Tigers didn't score anything.