Half-dozen turnovers sink Gardner-Webb in FCS playoff loss

William & Mary beat the Runnin’ Bulldogs 54-14

William & Mary wide receiver JT Mayo makes a touchdown catch as Gardner-Webb cornerback Raequan Ousley during the Pride's win Saturday in the second round of the FCS playoffs in Williamsburg, Virginia. (Daniel Sangjib Min / Richmond Times-Dispatch via AP)

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. — Darius Wilson threw three touchdown passes and William & Mary turned turnovers into three consecutive touchdowns in the second quarter, and the fifth-seeded Tribe rolled to a 54-14 win over Gardner-Webb in the second round of the FCS playoffs on Saturday.

Two fumble recoveries and two interceptions led to 27 points in the second quarter for William & Mary (11-1), which plays fourth-seeded Montana State or Weber State next weekend in the quarterfinals.

In its first FCS playoffs, Gardner-Webb (7-6) self-destructed with six turnovers, including four interceptions by three different quarterbacks. A week after piling up 405 yards on the ground, in a 52-41 win over Eastern Kentucky in the first-round, the Running’ Bulldogs had 200.

The Tribe, ranked eighth in the FCS coaches poll, went 66 yards in 10 plays on the opening drive, capped by a 3-yard run by Bronson Yoder. They then turned three consecutive turnovers into touchdowns. Two were passes to JT Mayo covering 34 and 43 yards. The third was a 6-yard run by Donavyn Lester.

In the final minute of the first half, the Runnin’ Bulldogs had their fourth turnover and Ethan Chang got his second field goal for a 34-0 lead.

Gardner-Webb put together a 75-yard drive to open the second half, scoring on a 17-yard pass from Matthew Caldwell to Caleb Borders. But the Tribe responded with a scoring drive — and Yoder’s second score — and then scored two more touchdowns after interceptions. Tye Freeland had two of the picks.

Wilson was 14 of 24 for 240 yards and ran for another 89 yards.