Caleb Collins, a senior from Savannah, answered the call.
Putting together one of the best all-around performances of his career, Collins rolled up 163 all-purpose yards, caught a touchdown pass and ran for another to help the Hawks earn a 35-13 non-conference win over Point University at Barron Stadium.
Shorter’s offense — which was held to its lowest output of the season in last week’s loss to North Alabama — returned to form by gaining 408 yards in total offense.
Included in offensive production was 340 yards on the ground.
Collins stepped into the spotlight early in the game, giving the Hawks their first two touchdowns of the game — a 23-yard scoring reception and a 30-yard run.
He also set up the team’s third TD late in the first half. All told, Collins caught all three of Shorter’s passes for 68 yards and added 69 more yards when he served as SU’s kickoff returner.
“He’s a great kid and he plays like that in practice every day,” said Shorter head coach Phil Jones. “He means so much to the team and he had a great game today.”
While Collins played a versatile role for the Hawks, junior fullback Bradley Moon turned in another solid outing to head up Shorter’s ground game.
He finished with 132 yards — his fourth 100-plus yard effort this season — on 17 carries and scored two touchdowns.
Junior Roderick Jones added 98 yards on just four carries, while quarterback Eric Dodson ran for 42 yards and a touchdown.
Shorter wasted little time gaining command of the game, taking the opening kickoff 57 yards down the field.
Collins covered the final 23 yards when Dodson dropped back on a first down play and lofted a perfect pass into the left corner of the end zone to the slotback who hauled in the ball behind the outstretched hands of the Point defender. Troy Postell connected for the extra point, the first of five on the day.
On their third possession of the afternoon, the Hawks needed just seven plays to cover 48 yards, with Collins adding his second touchdown of the game. This time, he took a pitch on a fourth-and-4 situation and found room to run down the sideline for a 33-yard score.
After Point appeared to have Shorter backed up in their shadow of its own end zone, the Hawks put together their longest scoring drive of the season, marching the 94 yards on nine plays. The big gainer was a 43-yard pass from Dodson to Collins. The drive culminated when Bradley Moon scored from seven yards out with 4:26 left in the half.
Trailing 21-0 heading into the third quarter, Point (0-5) broke into the scoring column on its second series of the second half, putting together a nine-play, 56-yard drive that was capped when Devon Thames hooked up with Anthony Armstrong for a 5-yard touchdown pass with 4:33 remaining in the period.
The Hawks quickly responded.
Thanks to a 43-yard kickoff return by Allen Huntley that gave Shorter the ball at the Su 49, the Hawks needed just four snaps to get back into the end zone, the last one seeing Moon break into the open for a 42-yard scoring run.
The Skyhawks found a crease in Shorter’s defense one more time late in the fourth quarter when Thames again went to the air, this time hitting William Eichman on a 13-yard scoring strike early in the final stanza, but Shorter added some breathing room with 3:52 left to play, this time marching 73 yards on eight plays with Dodson taking in it for the touchdown on a fourth-and-goal play from the Point 2.
Point managed to combine for 225 yards in total offense, but while the Hawks all but shut down the Skyhawks on the ground – the visitors rushed for just 68 yards – Point threw for 157 yards, most of that in the second half.
Thames, who came into take the snaps behind center in the second half, led Point completing 10 of 20 passes for 136 yards and the two TDs.
“We had contain problems more than anything,” Jones said, “and when that happens the lane assignments change. But we’ll take this week,” the coach added. “We’ll go back to work and try to get better, and we’ll be searching to get above the .500 mark next week.”