BUENA VISTA, Va. – Led by record-setting quarterback Adam Dixon and a relentless defense, the Wilmington College football team routed Southern Virginia University 52-27 in the season-opener Thursday evening.
The win for the Fightin’ Quakers avenges a 41-34 overtime loss at WC to begin the 2021 fall season.
Dixon, starting his first collegiate game, threw for seven touchdowns to set a new program record for a single game. The previous record was held by East Clinton High School graduate Billy Blackburn, who threw six touchdowns against Marietta College in 2007. Originally, stats provided by Southern Virginia had one less TD pass for Dixon but it was confirmed after the game Dixon had all seven scoring passes for Wilmington.
The 52 points are the most for the program since a 55-6 victory over Franklin College Oct. 9, 1999.
“I so proud of our players and coaches,” head coach Corey Fillipovich said. “Both groups played and coached with shocking efforts and you could see that on the field tonight. That’s a part of #QuakerStyle.”
Dixon hooked up with Itika Wynn for 161 yards and three scores while Xavier Fuller caught two TDs and Lathan Jones and Ace Taylor had one each.
On the ground, Ben Hobbs plowed his way to 109 yards on 19 carries.
Na’Zere Neal had an interception on defense for Wilmington. Deven Speck had a fumble recovery.
Wilmington held Southern Virginia to 288 yards on the day, including just 2.8 yards per rush on 36 attempts. The Quakers ran up 510 total yards on offense.
Though SVU was 10 for 18 on third down, the Knights failed on four attempts on fourth down as the Wilmington defense rose the challenge each time.
Jarod Lee had 10 tackles while Joey Weikel finished with nine. Quentin Davis and Sean Hollenback had eight tackles each.
Dixon connected with Taylor on a post pattern for the first score of the game, but SVU answered with two touchdowns to take a 13-7 lead.
Dixon found Wynn Jr. for a long score to regain a 14-13 advantage, and after the WC defense came up with a stop on 4th-and-1 from near midfield, Dixon took advantage of a blown coverage to put the visitors up 21-13.
The Wilmington offense would only be stopped, it seemed, by the clock expiring in the first half. Wynn Jr. hauled in an impressive catch and score on 3rd-and-20, and after another defense stop, Dixon picked apart a Knight zone for a fifth score of the half. Up 35-13, the Quakers nearly scored again, but a pass breakup in the end zone ended the half.
Southern Virginia scored the first 14 points of the second half to pull within a score at 35-27, but a Seth Best field goal ended that run with the Quakers up 38-27.
The WC defense once again camp up big as linebacker Lee stuffed a run on 4th-and-short. A missed field goal followed, but the Quaker defense was determined to give the ball back to its offense, coming up with another stop on fourth down.
Dixon put the game out of reach with a touchdown to Lathan Jones then set the touchdown record with a slant to Wynn Jr. as the game’s final score.
“The performances tonight were some of the best in the history of Wilmington football,” Fillipovich said. “What a night for those two.”
Wilmington will open Ohio Athletic Conference play hosting Baldwin Wallace University 1:30 p.m. Sept. 10.