Gabriele Yuille would prefer not to moonlight as J.C. Smith’s quarterback.
Yet the Golden Bulls’ receiver won his collegiate debut behind center in their 34-8 homecoming victory against St. Augustine’s Saturday at McGirt Field. With starter Harold Herbin nursing a shoulder injury, Yuille didn’t pass much (4-of-9 for 29 yards) but steered the offense to a season-best effort.
“I feel great. It’s my first day at quarterback and we win at homecoming,” said Yuille, who also ran for a 39-yard touchdown to open the scoring. “We didn’t really change anything. The whole team supported me, the coaches supported me and we just had faith we were going to come out here and win.”
J.C. Smith (2-7, 2-4 CIAA) took the pressure off Yuille to throw the ball by running effectively and locking down on defense. The Golden Bulls rushed for 218 yards on 49 carries, with freshman running back Braxton Gambrell accounting for 117 yards and a score on 18 attempts. As a result, J.C. Smith held possession for 37 minutes, 21 seconds, which kept the defense fresh.
“That’s what they say all over the football nation: If you control the running game, you control the game,” Gambrell said. “If we do that every game, we should have a lot more Ws.”
Said free safety Carlo Thomas, who had four tackles and broke up two passes: “We locked in. We played our kind of football, we said everybody’s got to be all in and we came out here and accomplished what we wanted to do.”
Especially with an emergency quarterback eager to return to his usual position.
“Hopefully, I’ll go back to receiver,” he said.
Three who mattered
Yuille: J.C. Smith’s emergency quarterback had no turnovers in his first collegiate game at the position.
Gambrell: Freshman running back’s career-best 117 yards included a 56-yard touchdown burst, J.C. Smith’s longest run of the season.
Brandon Howard: Freshman walk-on kicker nailed 3-of-3 field goal attempts, including a career-best from 49 yards.
▪ The win was J.C. Smith’s third straight homecoming victory.
▪ The Golden Bulls limited St. Augustine’s (2-7, 2-4) to minus-1 yards rushing and 151 yards total offense.
▪ J.C. Smith closes its season against arch rival Livingstone in the annual Commemorative Classic Saturday at McGirt Field.