ATHENS— Frostburg brought the big chill to Athens in its first trip to Callaghan Stadium.
A new conference opponent from Maryland, the Bobcats of Frostburg State, overwhelmed the Concord University Mountain Lions 52-14 on Saturday afternoon in CU’s first home football game of the year.
The Bobcats had played the past 31 years in NCAA Division III, and moved up a notch this year to Division II, joining the Mountain East Conference. Frostburg State had gone 10-1 in 2018, leading many people to wonder what kind of success they would have against Mountain East teams like Concord.
They answered that decisively.
Concord (0-2) trailed just 21-14 at halftime but was outscored 31-0 after intermission.
“For me there’s no excuses,” said Concord head coach Paul Price. “They got the better of us. … We were a bit out-coached and a bit out-played. Next week we’ll be a different football team.”
Frostburg State (1-1) took its early lead on two short touchdown runs by Gavin Lavat, a 225-pound halfback with deceptive speed and leg drive. In three quarters of action, Lavat racked up 141 rushing yards and three TDs.
Concord’s leaky offensive line made life difficult for the Mountain Lions’ runners and passers. Over the first three quarters, before substitutes took over the field for both teams, Concord netted 74 yards rushing.
In the game, CU suffered 11 tackles for loss of yardage, three fumbles, five sacks, an interception run back 61 yards for a score, a 2-for-12 performance on third down and a 1-for-3 success rate in the FSU red zone.
“Probably the word of the day is, we were just not as consistent (in offensive line play) as we needed to be,” Price said. “There is no football team in America that goes 2 for 12 (on third down) and has a good day.”
Running back Joshua Maxwell, who ran for 104 yards for CU and averaged 5.8 yards per carry, said that Frostburg State had “a good D-line and linebackers who run downhill.”
The Mountain Lions cut their deficit to 14-7 in the second quarter on an impressive 30-yard run by Maxwell.
“It was being patient,” he said. “I followed the big boys (on the line). Isaiah (Bowman) had a good block on the corner.”
The Bobcats were cruising toward halftime with a 21-7 lead when Concord’s Jakil Sarhim deflected a pass attempt and teammate Dwain Porterfield grabbed it out of the air for his first collegiate interception.
The Mountain Lions then narrowed the gap at halftime to one score, 21-14, on a 7-yard run by Tywan Pearce with 28 seconds left in the second quarter.
Maxwell said his team’s success in the second quarter came from “all 11 (players) doing their job. The offensive line was fired up.”
After halftime, Frostburg State got touchdowns from four players, including the 61-yard pick-six by defensive back Michael Bell, to earn its first victory on the Division II level. The Bobcats finished the day 6 for 6 in CU’s red zone, and amassed an offensive output of 456 yards, gaining an average of 7.6 yards per play.
Porterfield said he’d seen the potential, in game film, before Saturday had even dawned.
“I knew what they were coming out here to do,” the CU linebacker said. “Obviously, I think we shot ourselves in the foot a lot.”
On offense, senior wideout Brandon Plyler caught seven passes for 108 yards. That gave Concord its first day since 2015 in which a runner and a receiver both surpassed 100 yards.
Quarterback Kyle Akin went 14 for 23 passing for 169 yards, and backup Matt Shearer was 6 for 14 in fourth-quarter action.
Concord produced 381 yards of offense, but much of that was stymied by untimely penalties and fumbles.
“We had segments of our running game that were good,” Price said, “but the inconsistencies are setting us back.”
Porterfield was Concord’s defensive standout, with seven solo stops and three tackle assists.
Maxwell said at the end of a postgame press conference, “Tomorrow, everybody will put this behind us and start getting ready for the next game.”
Concord plays at Glenville State (1-1) next Saturday.