CHARLESTON -- The safety the University of Charleston scored late in the second quarter was more than just happenstance. It was by design.
The Golden Eagles added a touchdown 18 seconds later and, from there, more big plays followed, a school record fell and a freshman quarterback distinguished himself as a worthy backup.
The defense, meanwhile, contributed by not allowing Fairmont State's offense inside the Golden Eagle 14, and UC defeated the Falcons 30-10 Saturday afternoon at UC Stadium. A crowd of about 500 attended.
Equally important, the Golden Eagles (4-1) recovered from last week's 16-10 loss to Shepherd - a loss that snapped a seven-game winning streak that began last year and elevated UC to conference contender.
"This game taught us how to bounce back,'' said quarterback John Knox, a redshirt freshman from Salisbury, N.C. "We needed this game. We lost to Shepherd, but we're trying to win out.''
Knox, who's filling in for the injured Maurice Leak, threw a 56-yard touchdown pass to Chris Maxwell on the Golden Eagles' first possession and hit Darrell Byrd on a 55-yard TD pass late in the third quarter, giving UC a 30-10 advantage and virtually sealing the victory.
Knox, who also scored on a 1-yard run, completed 10 of 18 passes for 172 yards with one interception and rushed 15 times for 93 yards, including a 71-yarder to the Fairmont 20.
"He continues to improve and get better,'' said UC coach Pat Kirkland. "He's been put in a role where he has to lead this offense, and he's handling that.''
Leak, a junior, wore a protective boot Saturday for his sprained ankle, and his status, said Kirkland, is still up in the air.
Saturday's game was competitive, tied at 7-7 in the second quarter, until running back Jordan Roberts, playing on the special-teams unit, blocked a Fairmont punt out of the end zone for a safety.