SHEPHERDSTOWN, W. Va. – For 30 minutes, the West Virginia Wesleyan Bobcats gave the fourth-ranked Shepherd Rams a ballgame here in the head coaching debut of Del Smith Saturday afternoon at Ram Stadium.
Wesleyan scored on their first possession and led most of the first half before dropping a 27-12 decision.
Wesleyan went 75 yards in 11 plays on their first drive.
The Bobcats opened the drive with a pair of Ryan Deal passes, a 12-yarder to Eric Lewis and an 18-yarder to Marcus Smith. A pair of Michael Anderson (pictured) runs netted three yards and an incomplete pass brought up fourth down.
Shepherd was guilty of roughing the kicker which netted Wesleyan a first down at the Shepherd 47.
A facemask call against Shepherd just one play later gave Wesleyan another first down at the Ram 20.
Following a false-start penalty by the 'Cats, Anderson was held for no gain on first down but scampered 12 yards to the Shepherd one-yard line.
That set up a one-yard plunge by quarterback Luke Casey to give Wesleyan a 6-0 lead with 6:22 elapsed off the clock.
Tyler Fischer's point-after-kick was good as the Bobcats took a 7-0 lead.
Shepherd finally managed to get points on the scoreboard with 8:20 showing on the second-quarter clock on a four-yard run by Deonte Glover.
Shepherd took their first lead with a one-yard run by Brandon Hlavach with 4:36 remaining in the half.
Brendan Feehan's kick was true as Shepherd took a 13-9 lead.
Wesleyan had a chance to add to their point total at the end of the half moving the ball down the Shepherd four-yard line, but the drive stalled with a 32-yard missed field goal.
The score remained 13-9 at the break.
Shepherd pulled away from Wesleyan in the third quarter with a pair of scores.
Jeff Ziemba threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to Ryan Feiss for the first third-quarter score at the nine-minute mark and then Ziemba found Billy Brown open in the end zone for the second score with 6:36 remaining in the third quarter.
That gave Shepherd a 27-9 lead heading into the final quarter.
A 32-yard field goal with 1:29 remaining by Fischer was the only scoring in the final 15 minutes.
Wesleyan racked up 275 yards of offense – 75 on the ground and 200 in the air.
Deal completed 15 of his 30 passes for 198 yards.
Anderson led the rushing attack with 84 yards on 25 carries.
Marcus Smith led the wide outs with four catches for 113 yards.
Wesleyan will return to action at home next Saturday when they host Glenville State in a Mountain East Conference contest.
Kick-off is slated for 1 p.m.