West Virginia State edged by Fairmont State, 21-20

Courtesy of James Garcia, Sports Information Director, West Virginia State Athletics

Fairmont St. Logo


Winner FAIR

West Virginia State Logo




INSTITUTE, W.Va. – West Virginia State football (4-4, 4-3 MEC) came up one point short, 21-20, to Fairmont State (7-2, 5-2 MEC) on Saturday afternoon at Lakin-Ray FIeld at Dickerson Stadium. The Yellow Jackets grabbed the lead in the third quarter before the Falcons scored the game-winning touchdown in the fourth quarter.


  • Quarterback Donovan Riddickcompleted 18-of-28 passes (64 percent) for 213 yards and a score. He also rushed three times for 33 yards.
  • Running back Joel Felder was stifled for most of the game but was still responsible for both touchdowns scored by the Yellow Jackets.
  • Wide receiver Nolan Johnson caught three passes for 76 yards.
  • Brennen Schmitt made both of his field goal attempts and both of his point after tries. He also had two punts over 50 yards along with two punts inside the 20 yard line.
  • Linebacker Kwesi Tillman made five solo tackles, including one sack.


  • Fairmont received the opening kickoff and scored a touchdown on an 11-play, 69-yard drive. Ten of those plays were running plays. Running back Dereik Crosby II crossed the goal line on a 10-yard rush, 7-0.
  • Brennen Schmitt pinned the Falcons at their own one yard line with a 56-yard punt. The WVSU defense then came up with a stop that allowed State to start a drive near midfield. The Yellow Jackets made their way down to Fairmont’s six yard line before being faced with a fourth down situation. Schmitt came on to convert a 22-yard field goal attempt, 7-3, with approximately one minute to go in the first quarter.
  • The Fairmont drive that started after the field goal finished midway through the second quarter. Again, the Falcons stuck to the run outside of one 31-yard pass completion. The scoring drive was capped with a five-yard rushing touchdown, 14-3.
  • State responded with a 14-play, 75-yard scoring drive. Running back Justin Pessoa broke off a 30-yard run to Fairmont’s 34 yard line to give the WVSU offense some juice. On third and goal from the one, Joel Felder took a direct snap and punched the ball into the end zone, 14-10. The Falcons were unable to score in the 1:46 remaining in the first half.
  • The Yellow Jackets made the necessary adjustments at halftime and turned the game around in the third quarter. The momentum shifted when Fairmont was forced to punt from State’s 37 yard line.
  • Nolan Johnson made the play of the game on the ensuing drive. He snatched the ball over a Falcon defensive back and sprinted down the sideline until stepping out at the 10-yard line for a 57-yard reception. Donovan Riddick then completed a nine-yard touchdown strike to Felder in the back of the end zone, 17-14.
  • State scored once more in the third quarter with a 31-yard field goal from Schmitt to put WVSU up by six points, 20-14.
  • The Yellow Jacket defense forced a turnover on downs with 6:41 left in the fourth quarter. On the ensuing drive, a fumble was forced and recovered by the Falcons to give them another shot at recovering the lead.
  • On third and 10 from State’s 17 yard line, quarterback Michael Floria completed a pass to wideout Michael Gage who dragged one foot inside the end zone for the go-ahead touchdown, 21-20.
  • WVSU got the ball back after the kickoff with 1:22 remaining in the contest. The Yellow Jackets approached midfield before turning the ball over on downs and sealing their fate.


West Virginia State will travel to Wheeling on Saturday, Nov. 4 for a noon game.

Next Game:
at Wheeling University
11/4/2023 | 12:00 PM

Team Statistics

Total Yards356348
Pass Yards154213
Rushing Yards202135
Penalty Yards12-1309-90
1st Downs2215
3rd Downs6-155-11
4th Downs3-40-1
FAIR09:43 – FAIR – Crosby II, Dere 10 yd run (Richardson, Emm kick), 11 plays, 69 yards, TOP 5:1770
WVSU01:14 – WVSU – Schmitt, Brenne 22 yd field goal 10 plays, 48 yards, TOP 3:4373
FAIR07:46 – FAIR – Floria, Michael 5 yd run (Richardson, Emm kick), 15 plays, 95 yards, TOP 8:19143
WVSU01:46 – WVSU – Felder, Joel 1 yd run (Schmitt, Brenne kick), 13 plays, 75 yards, TOP 6:001410
WVSU05:57 – WVSU – Felder, Joel 9 yd pass from Riddick, Donova (Schmitt, Brenne kick) 6 plays, 97 yards, TOP 2:211417
WVSU02:38 – WVSU – Schmitt, Brenne 31 yd field goal 6 plays, 37 yards, TOP 1:381420
FAIR01:23 – FAIR – Michael, Gage 17 yd pass from Floria, Michael (Richardson, Emm kick) 9 plays, 50 yards, TOP 3:27

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