Freshman quarterback Jake Sturgill got significant playing time on Saturday for the University of Virginia’s College at Wise.
However, it was Shepherd University’s senior signal caller who stole the show.
Connor Jessop passed for 386 yards and four touchdowns as Shepherd overwhelmed UVa-Wise for a 63-35 Mountain East Conference football win on Saturday afternoon at Carl Smith Stadium.
Shepherd (10-0) ran its winning streak against MEC foes to 30 games and built a 35-7 halftime lead in vanquishing the Highland Cavaliers. The Rams were ranked second in the latest NCAA Division II national poll.
Jessop, a former standout at Broad Run High School in Ashburn, Virginia, and a Virginia Tech transfer, has 3,284 passing yards and 38 TD passes this season.
Sturgill threw the first two touchdowns of his collegiate career for UVa-Wise (5-6), hooking up with Kaian Duverger twice on scoring strikes. Duverger caught a 12-yard strike with 4:47 remaining in the third quarter and hauled in a 6-yard TD pass from Sturgill with 2:54 left in the third on a highlight-reel one-handed grab.
Sturgill finished 14-of-33 for 144 yards and one interception. The former Abingdon High School standout appeared in four games for the Cavs in 2017, sharing time with Brycen Lee and fellow freshman Jarome Johnson.
UVa-Wise finished in a tie for fifth in the 11-team MEC after losing its final four league games.