GLENVILLE — On Thursday night, I.L. and Sue Morris Stadium in Glenville temporarily became a no fly zone, with the Glenville State defense playing the role of air traffic control.
Fairmont State traveled south with their nationally-ranked offense on I-79 to meet their Mountain East Conference rival in the 95th Annual “Battle for the Bit.”
The Falcons — who entered the game 14th in the nation in total passing offense with just three turnovers on the season — met their toughest match yet in a Glenville defense that tallied five interceptions and scored 12 points en route to a 22-15 victory.
“We played one heck of a game,” said sophomore Glenville defensive back Delonte Hood. “Last game we played against these guys, they aired us out, and we came in tonight knowing we had to stop the pass to win the game. It was a dog fight, but we played lights out and that’s what we had to do.”
Hood, who nabbed two of the five interceptions and now leads the nation with six total on the season, led a defense that kept Fairmont quarterback Takwan Crews-Naylor off his game all evening. The senior completed just 40 percent of his passes (16-of-40) in addition to his five giveaways.
“It was my fault, I just wasn’t completing passes. It’s simple as that,” Crews-Naylor said. “That first half I was 5-for-16 and that should never happen. That’s on me.”
Hood credited his team’s front seven for helping pressure Crews-Naylor throughout the game, keeping him rattled and forcing bad decisions.
“The whole game we were getting back to the quarterback, and forced him out of the pocket a few times. I feel like we did that real well,” he said.
In total, the Falcons committed seven turnovers and scored just 13 points offensively, despite outgaining the Glenville offense by well over 200 yards. It was an uncharacteristic performance for a team that has been defined by its offensive output this season.
“I don’t think we executed well. We had some guys open and we weren’t able to make the right catches and throws when we needed to,” Fairmont State coach Jason Woodman said. “You have to give credit to Glenville, they played hard all night. They made plays when they needed to and we didn’t.”
The contest marked the first win in the rivalry series for Glenville in six seasons. The loss was the third-consecutive and fourth overall this season for Fairmont State, which lost just seven games combined during the last three seasons.
“We just have to keep going forward, and there’s nothing more that we can do,” Crews-Naylor said. “Our backs are against the wall, and we still have to try and regroup and come back stronger.”