By Paul White
12:06 AM EDT, September 30, 2012
WILLIAMSBURG - For four games, snake-bitten William and Mary seemingly couldn't catch a break. So in the fifth, the Tribe decided to create a few of its own.
Seven forced turnovers later, the Tribe celebrated their first victory of the season courtesy of a 35-3 thumping of hapless Georgia State on Saturday before 11,125 at Zable Stadium.
Keith McBride ran for 163 yards and two touchdowns for the Tribe, which churned out 312 yards rushing. And Raphael Ortiz contributed efficient passing and two more scores with some fearless running.
Still, it was the Tribe's opportunistic defense that set the stage for William and Mary's stunning rout. The seven forced turnovers were the most mistakes the Tribe (1-4, 1-2 CAA) coaxed from an opponent since they pried seven from Virginia during a 26-14 victory in 2009.
"It's something we've been talking about and talking about," Tribe coach Jimmye Laycock said of the need to produce more takeaways. "Tonight they really kind of swarmed around and made things happen. That set the tone for everything."
Of course, the Tribe can't count on seven turnovers each week. But what W&M does plan on replicating is the enthusiasm and intensity they used to rattle the Panthers (0-5). From the outset Saturday, the Tribe players were jumping around between plays, continually imploring the crowd for more noise and generally acting nothing like a team that had yet to win a game.
"Honestly, (lack of enthusiasm) is probably why we haven't been as successful," Tribe safety Brian Thompson said. "We emphasized setting the tone and having fun from the jump. That's the biggest reason we were able to play the way we did."
Georgia State turned the ball over four times in the second quarter alone. Still, the Tribe led just 7-3 with less than two minutes remaining in the first half. The game turned for good when Panthers returner Albert Wilson muffed a punt at the GSU 11-yard line. William and Mary's Frank Tamakloe recovered, and four plays later, Ortiz bulled into the end zone from a yard out.
The muffed punt was one of the biggest plays Laycock never saw.
"I was over there talking to the quarterbacks and somebody said, 'We've got the ball,' " he said. "I said, 'I'd better get back to work.' Yeah, that was big."
A 26-yard scoring run by Darnell Lewis midway through the third quarter staked the Tribe to a 21-3 advantage. McBride scored his second TD of the game, from 36 yards, early in the fourth, and Ortiz added a 7-yard scoring run with 7:22 left.
Georgia State's lone points came on a 37-yard field goal by Wil Lutz to open the game's scoring in the first quarter.
Several Tribe defenders had a hand in Saturday's larceny. In addition to Tamakloe's recovery, Thompson, Jerome Couplin, Ivan Tagoe and Ryan Smith all picked off passes. Bryan Stinnie and Jasper Coleman each scooped up a Georgia State fumble.
Laycock joked that it was almost as though the Tribe defenders were competing with each other to get takeaways.
"They get jealous," he said.
For the first time this season, Laycock could afford to crack wise postgame, as his Tribe finally has something to build on for the rest of the season.
"This is kind of like a blueprint," Laycock said. "Like, this is the way we need to be to play pretty well. Now, let's move forward to it."
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