Saturday, November 18, 2023

Lenoir-Rhyne Wins Big in First Round of the Playoffs

HICKORY – In a historic performance, quarterback Sean White led the Lenoir-Rhyne Bears to a resounding victory over the Shepherd Rams in the opening round of the NCAA Playoffs. White’s stellar performance saw him amass 398 passing yards, breaking a 104-year program record and surpassing the previous mark set by Brian Bryson in 1987. White’s impressive stat line included 25 completions on 31 attempts, five passing touchdowns, and two rushing touchdowns.

The Bears dominated the game, securing a decisive 63-17 victory over Shepherd at Moretz Stadium in Hickory. With this win, Lenoir-Rhyne advanced to an 11-1 overall record, while Shepherd concluded their season at 9-3.

Key moments from the matchup included White’s flawless opening drive, where he went 10-for-10 for 65 yards, setting the tone for the game. The Bears displayed offensive prowess, recording six passing touchdowns – a feat achieved for the second consecutive game and a historic first in the program’s history.

The game statistics tell the tale of Lenoir-Rhyne’s dominance. White’s 405 total yards of offense broke an NCAA era program record, and the team registered a remarkable 617 total yards, with 461 yards coming through the air. The Bears showcased balance on offense, limiting the Rams to just 94 rushing yards on 32 attempts.

Individual performances highlighted Dwayne McGee’s 96 rushing yards on 16 carries, while Songa Yates continued his impressive form with six receptions for 141 yards, contributing to his back-to-back 100-yard games and five touchdowns over the past two weeks. Defensively, Jon Ross Maye recorded seven tackles and an interception, while Andre Jefferson contributed four tackles and two sacks.

Beyond the box score, the Bears set several records, including 461 passing yards, an 80 percent completion rate, and 8.9 yards per play – the second-highest in the NCAA Era. Jake Brown tied a record with nine made extra points, and Lenoir-Rhyne’s 617 total yards ranked as the sixth most in a single game in the NCAA Era.

Lenoir-Rhyne’s head coach, Mike Jacobs, secured his first win against Shepherd in three attempts and notched his fifth career playoff victory. Looking ahead, the Bears will face Super Region 2’s top seed, Benedict, next Saturday in Columbia, S.C., with kickoff scheduled for 1 p.m. As they continue their playoff journey, Lenoir-Rhyne aims to build on the momentum of their record-breaking performance and extend their success in the postseason.