BUCKHANNON -- Shepherd's nationally ranked Rams continued their roll through the Mountain East Conference on Saturday, defeating the home-standing West Virginia Wesleyan Bobcats by a 45-14 score.
Coach Monte Cater's squad, ranked second in the nation, utilized a 28-point first half to gain a strong early advantage.
Wesleyan played the Rams very tight early with the score after one quarter of action being 7-0 in favor of Shepherd on a Jabre Lolley two-yard plunge.
By halftime, the game stood at 28-0 on the three Ram touchdowns in the second quarter.
The backbreaker for Wesleyan was an 82-yard interception return for a touchdown by Jared Austin at the 6:55 mark. At the time, Wesleyan was deep in Ram territory and appeared primed to cut the deficit to 14-7 before Austin's big play.
Wesleyan delivered a pair of second half touchdowns.
After the Rams tallied the next 17 points, the Bobcats closed the day's scoring with a 68-yard touchdown pass from Deal to Jujuan Linzy.
Shepherd quarterback Connor Jessop connected on 18-of-24 passes for 313 yards to lead the Ram offense.
The Bobcat defense held league leading rusher Jabre Lolley to only 49 yards on 11 carries.
Deal threw for 280 yards on 18-of-35 passes, and two touchdowns.
Kenny Lewis Jr. was his primary target with five catches for 72 yards, while Nelson corralled four for 47 yards. Linzy was the top yardage receiver with 87 yards on three catches.
Defensively, team tackle leader Brandon Grayson was again on top of the stat sheet with six solo stops and one assist.
Shepherd is now 8-0 overall and in the Mountain East Conference.
Wesleyan fell to 4-5 overall and is 4-4 in the MEC.
Coach Del Smith's Bobcats are back in action next Saturday, traveling to Glenville State for a noon contest.
(File photo courtesy of Brian Bergstrom/The Record Delta)