By JONATHAN GREENE for the Daily Telegraph
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
George Washington was already going to be a tough task for Princeton. A healthy Ryan Switzer was an added bonus for the Patriots.
Switzer, who was playing in his second game of the year, sliced through the Tigers defense Friday night as George Washington ran away for a 61-11 victory at Hunnicutt Stadium.
“They've got a lot of speed and talent,” Princeton head coach Randy Peek said. “We're young and we're trying to build off every positive. We had some positives tonight. We moved the ball on them, but we couldn't punch it in at times.
“Defensively, we were in position a lot time, but didn't make the tackles. We're going to build off the positives and we're going to be okay.”
Switzer scored on runs of 1, 97, 23 and 1 in the first half and added a 59-yard score in the third quarter. He finished with 325 yards on 18 carries. The 5-foot-10, 175-pound senior out-gained the Tigers by himself in the opening half, 185 to 133 yards.
“Ryan's an outstanding player,” George Washington head coach Steve Edwards said. “He makes our team better. He's just a special young man. He prepares well and he deserves everything he gets.
“He's a good teammate. These guys block and work hard for him. In return, he works hard for them.”
Princeton was the first team to get on the scoreboard.
The Tigers' opening drive was highlighted by a 51-yard reception by Chad Wyrick. Jay Palmer hit the senior in the open and George Washington couldn't bring him down as Wyrick sprinted inside Princeton's redzone. Following three runs later, Austin Smith drilled a 24-yard field goal to make it 3-0.
George Washington didn't trail for long. It took the Patriots six plays before Switzer broke the plane for his first touchdown.
The Tigers put together a solid second drive as they crossed midfield. However, Palmer would make a mistake as he threw the ball up for grabs near the endzone and Jacob Jackson intercepted his pass.
One play later, Switzer found a hole then sprinted up the right sideline for a 97-yard touchdown.
“We were debating whether to punt or not then we threw the interception and we thought we had them pinned down,” Peek said. “Our defensive end runs up field and our corner doesn't make the tackle and off to the races. We don't have anyone with his speed.
“We're a young team and we don't have the talent they have. We have a lot of heart. Our kids played with a lot of heart I thought.”
Princeton would turn the ball over on downs on their ensuing possession.
George Washington continued to gauge the Tigers defense on the ground, but this time Trevor Bell broke loose for 19-yard score.
Before the end of the half, Switzer went 23 yards untouched for his third score of the night then added his fourth with 50 seconds left on a one-yard plunge.
“What we did was we tried to prepare everybody to get in the ballgame,” Edwards said of getting a big lead. “When you're in that situation like that, the hardest part is to get your team to play four quarters. I thought we did.
“I thought we answered the call. We're working on a lot of things and we're getting better as a team.”
Switzer wasn't done though. He galloped 59 yards for his fifth touchdown on the third play of the second half.
“He's a great back,” Peek said of Switzer. “If you take him off that team, it's a different team. They're lucky to have him on their side.”
George Washington would close out the game with three more scores. Dustin Crouser rumbled in for a three-yard touchdown then Trevon Johnson intercepted Palmer and took it 33 yards to the house. Clayton Anderson finished off the scoring in the fourth with a one-yard touchdown run.
The Tigers showed no quit though and put two solid drives together in late in the game. The first was powered by Palmer and Devin, but Princeton came up empty handed when Austin Smith missed a field goal.
The Tigers kept attacking and with just over a minute left in the game, Allen crossed the goal for a three-yard touchdown. Kirkland Perdue then added the two-point conversion.
“That's what we've been preaching all year,” Peek said. “They run on and off the field. They never got their heads down and they kept fighting. We talked about effort all week. No matter what the scoreboard says, we still want the effort. I was proud of them tonight.”
Palmer paced Princeton's attack with 65 yards passing and 84 yards rushing. Allen added 56 yards on the ground.
George Washington finished with 468 yards on the ground. Crouser had 74 yards. Bell also had 82 yards passing.
The Tigers (0-5) host Graham Friday night while the Patriots (4-1) are off next week.
At Hunnicutt Stadium
George Washington.............15 20 20 6 — 61
Princeton................................3 0 0 8 — 11
PRI - Austin Smith 24 FG, 8:40
GW - Ryan Switzer 1 rush (Trevon Johnson from Trevor Bell), 7:10
GW - Switzer 97 rush, 4:37
GW - Bell 19 rush (Reed Deer kick blocked), 11:04
GW - Switzer 23 rush (Deer kick), 7:08
GW - Switzer 1 rush (Jenson Lorea kick), :50
GW - Switzer 59 rush (Lorea kick missed), 11:21
GW - Dustin Crouser 3 rush (Deer kick), 6:28
GW - Johnson 33 interception return (Lorea kick), 4:46
GW - Clayton Anderson 1 rush (Deer kick blocked), 4:40
PRI - Devin Allen 3 rush (Kirkland Perdue rush), 1:20
RUSHING - George Washington, Ryan Switzer 18-325-5td, Dustin Crouser 6-74-td, Jacob Jackson 2-26, Austin Giacomo 1-11, Trever Bell 2-16, Clayton Anderson 2-8-td, Winsor Boggs 2-8, TEAM 1-0; Princeton, Devin Allen 17-56-td, Jay Palmer 27-84, Lamont Lee 2-2, Phillip Jones 6-17, Aaron Saunders 1-12, Kirkland Perdue 1-18.
PASSING - GW, Bell 5-6-0-82-0; PRI, Palmer 3-6-2-65-0.
RECEIVING - GW, Jordan Clay 3-54, Jacob Jackson 2-28; PRI, Chad Wyrick 1-51, Christian Marshall 1-5, Zen Clements 1-9.