Breaking News from William & Mary

Breaking News from William & Mary

Shortly after William and Mary's surprisingly narrow escape from Division II New Haven Saturday night, Tribe coach Jimmye Laycock said there's only a few things his team needs work on.

"We need to block better, we need to protect better, we need to catch better and we need to throw better," the coach said. "Other than that …"

It was that kind of night for the Tribe (2-1), which used generally stout defense to overcome a seemingly not-quite-ready-for-Colonial-Athletic-Association offense to finally subdue the upset-minded Chargers 13-10 and capture their home opener.

Drake Kuhn's 28-yard field goal with 5:28 remaining in the fourth quarter snapped a 10-10 tie, and Jabrel Mines' interception at the goal line a little over a minute later snuffed out New Haven's best chance at a reply.

"We knew we needed to keep 'em out of the end zone," Mines said. "Our mindset for each game is, if they don't score, they can't win."

Problem is, the Tribe isn't doing much scoring, either. The Chargers (2-1) led 3-0 for nearly all of the first half, and it took backup quarterback Michael Graham to add a second dimension to an offense that through the first 30 minutes was pretty much Jonathan Grimes or bust.

Grimes ran for 129 yards on a career-high 32 carries, with 101 of those yards coming in the first half. Meanwhile, but starting quarterback Mike Paulus threw for just 7 yards before intermission on 2 of 4 passing with an interception.

To be fair, Laycock said the game plan was to pound away at New Haven with the running game.

Still, 7 yards?

So it was hardly shocking that when the Tribe jogged onto the field for its first second-half series, Graham jogged out, too.

"(Paulus) just wasn't doing well," Laycock said in explaining the switch. "He made mistakes on throws, some mistakes on calls…. It just wasn't his night. (Graham) has been doing well (in practice). I thought he deserved a chance."

So did the 8,649 at Zable Stadium, as a hearty cheer erupted when Graham was introduced. The understudy quickly justified the faith by completing 3 of 4 passes on his initial drive, including an 11-yard hookup with Grimes that vaulted the Tribe ahead 10-3.

"I just wanted to give us a jump-start," said Graham, the Tribe's scout team quarterback the past two years.

The Tribe seemed poised to extend their advantage after Terrell Wells' interception set the Tribe up at the New Haven 25. But the drive stalled, and Kuhn hooked a 30-yard field-goal attempt wide left.

The Chargers promptly drove 80 yards for the game-tying touchdown courtesy of a Ryan Osiecki 17-yard strike to a wide-open Demetrius Washington-Ellison.

Fortunately for the Tribe, Graham had one more big play in him, a 56-yard hookup with D.J. Mangas that set Kuhn up with another chance. This time, Kuhn delivered.

Graham finished 6 of 11 passing for 112 yards and the touchdown with no interceptions. Enough to earn the full-time gig? Laycock said it was too early to make that call.

On this night, the coach was just happy to survive.

"There's different ways to win games, and we found a way to win this one," Laycock said. "We did what we had to do."