Tribe football advances to NCAA semifinals

  • Tribe victory in CarbondaleW&M's Jonathan Grimes scores the game's first touchdown on five-yard run. The Tribe defeated Southern Illinois 24-3 on Saturday.

    Photo courtesy of Tribe Athletics

    Tribe victory in Carbondale
  • Tribe victoryThe Tribe took its first lead of the game when Grimes capped off an eight-play, 77-yard drive with a 6-yard touchdown run with 1:37 left in the half. Junior punter David Miller helped keep the drive alive with a 12-yard run on a fake punt near midfield.

    Photo courtesy of Tribe Athletics

    Tribe victory
  • Tribe prideW&M fans gathered in Carbondale to help cheer the Tribe to victory over SIU.

    Photo courtesy of Nicole Noble '01

    Tribe pride
Sophomore running back Jonathan Grimes rushed for three touchdowns as the No. 6 William and Mary football team earned a 24-3 victory at No. 1/2 Southern Illinois in the NCAA Quarterfinals on Saturday afternoon. In addition to advancing W&M to the NCAA Semifinals for the second time in the last six years, the win was also significant in that it was the 200th of head coach Jimmye Laycock's career. He becomes just the 13th head coach in FCS history to accomplish the feat. A video tribute to the milestone victory is available online at TribeAthletics.com.

The Tribe's semifinal contest will be against the winner of Villanova-New Hampshire next Friday or Saturday.

W&M's victory snapped the top-ranked Salukis' 11-game winning streak and improved the Tribe's mark to 11-2, as it equals a school record for most wins in a season with the 2004 team that also advanced to the NCAA Semifinals.

Although the Tribe was outgained 102-2 and trailed 3-0 after the first quarter, it posted a dominant performance in the final three quarters - outscoring SIU, 24-0, and outgaining it, 371-85. Southern Illinois (11-2) entered the contest with one of the nation's top offenses and was averaging 36.6 points per game and 412 yards of total offense per game.

Individually, All-American senior defensive end Adrian Tracy and senior place-kicker Brian Pate both etched their names in the Tribe's single-season record book. Tracy earned his 12th sack of the season and equaled Luke Cullinane's mark established in 1996, while Pate kicked his 21st field goal of the season and equaled the mark set by Steve Christie in 1989.

In addition to rushing for three touchdowns, Grimes piled up 133 yards on the ground to go with a pair of catches. It marked the second consecutive week that the Palmyra, N.J., native rushed for more than 130 yards, as he moved up to fourth on the program's single-season rushing list with 1,235 yards.

Defensively, junior linebacker Evan Francks registered a game-high 10 tackles, nine of which were solo, while junior defensive tackle Michael Stover earned a pair of sacks. Redshirt freshman cornerback B.W. Webb tallied his eighth interception of the season and moved into a tie for third on the program's single-season list.

Southern Illinois got on the scoreboard first when place-kicker Kyle Dougherty connected on a 46-yard field goal to cap off the contest's opening drive. Quarterback Paul McIntosh helped set up the score with a 34-yard run on the game's first play from scrimmage.

The Salukis had a chance increase its lead, but Dougherty missed a 39-yard field goal on SIU's next drive.

W&M evened the score at 3-3 when Pate kicked a 36-yard field goal with 6:06 remaining in the half. Senior quarterback R.J. Archer completed 4-of-4 passes for 50 yards on the drive, while senior wide receiver D.J. McAulay hauled in three catches for 41 yards to help set up the score.

The Tribe took its first lead of the game when Grimes capped off an eight-play, 77-yard drive with a 6-yard touchdown run with 1:37 left in the half. Junior punter David Miller helped keep the drive alive with a 12-yard run on a fake punt near midfield, and then Archer lofted a 24-yard pass to senior tight end Rob Varno along the Tribe sideline on the following play to put W&M inside SIU's 10.

The College had an opportunity to extend its lead with a drive late in the half, but Pate missed a 47-yard field goal with 0:02 showing.

W&M pushed the advantage to 17-3 when Grimes found the end zone for the second time, as he scored on a 7-yard run with 2:56 left in the third quarter. The drive used more than half of the third quarter and covered 80 yards on 16 plays.

Grimes' third touchdown of the afternoon, a 5-yard run with 1:45 remaining in the contest, gave the Tribe a 24-3 lead and helped secure W&M's 17th consecutive win against a non-conference FCS team.