First Posted: 8/31/2009
FAYETTEVILLE In front of 8,300 fans Saturday night in the Two Rivers Classic, The University of North Carolina at Pembroke running back Travis Daniels wanted to make the most of his opportunity.
Locked in a battle with last seasons starter, Rashon Kennedy, throughout spring and fall practice, Daniels made the most of his 25 carries versus the Broncos in UNCPs wild 41-34 double overtime win.
The 5-foot-10 native of Washington notched a school-record 229 all-purpose yards, including 213 on the ground. Daniels chewed up the field turf at Luther Nick Jeralds Stadium, providing the games most stunning highlight with an 89-yard touchdown scamper with 4:50 to play in the fourth quarter.
After clearing the Broncos’ defensive line with his initial burst, Daniels put a move on two defenders at midfield and sprinted down the right sideline for the score, causing an eruption of cheers from UNCP supporters.
His second touchdown of the contest silenced the home crowd and gave his team a short-lived 28-21 lead.
I knew when my number was called I had to make the most of it, Daniels said. Coach told me during practice I would get a lot more carries this season. I just wanted to do my best out there.
Bruised and beaten after the final play, Daniels said he had to trust in himself and his teammates.
I just try to run hard, Daniels said. I put a lot of work in this fall and during two-a-days. I tried to prepare for this season as best as possible. My team was able to open up running lanes tonight.
Head coach Pete Shinnick raved about Daniels and Kennedys talents after each fall scrimmage and gave each running back his own share of carries in the season opener.
Kennedy gained 101 yards on 23 carries as the Braves rolled up 353 rushing yards as a team. Shinnick called 57 rushing plays to just 24 through the air.
We preached to our guys all through the preseason that we were going to be in great shape and that we were going to wear on people, and I am proud of them because they had one more play in them than Fayetteville State did tonight, Shinnick said. I think our defense was caught off guard on a couple of things that they did tonight, but I think our offense has a lot more confidence this year and we were able to get it done on that side of the ball.