Noticeably absent over the past few weeks, the big play made a return for the Hawks on Saturday.
Shorter rushed for 343 yards and forced three turnovers as part of a 21-point second quarter in a 44-21 rout of Edward Waters College Jacksonville.
Kenny Foster ran for 89 yards and two touchdowns and T.J. Telfair chipped in with 66 yards and a score for the Hawks (5-3), who scored on three plays of 20 yards or more in rebounding from its worst rushing output in school history a week ago in a loss to Cumberlands.
"We have to have big plays," said Shorter head coach Phil Jones. "When you run the ball as much as we do, you have to take advantage of big play opportunities when they present themselves. We did that today.
"I am proud to come down here and get a victory," Jones added. "What Edward Waters has done with that new staff and those talented players is amazing. You have to tip your hats to them."
The game took to a turn in Shorter's favor in the second quarter after several big plays left Edward Waters (2-6) staring at a huge deficit.
With the score tied at 7, the Tigers ventured deep into Shorter territory and had first and goal inside the Shorter 5, but Shorter's Demery Hawkins stood up Edward Waters fullback Cleve Williams on second and third down from the 1 and Mason Strickland blocked the Tigers' 18-yard field goal attempt on the next play to give the ball back to Shorter's offense.
On Shorter's ensuing drive, Telfair ripped off a 37-yard run on third down to the Edward Waters' 47 and Foster took it the remaining 47 yards for a score on Shorter's next play from scrimmage, putting the Hawks ahead 14-7 with 3:04 until halftime.
Following an Edward Waters three and out, Shorter quarterback David Byrd engineered a 4-play, 51-yard drive capped by his 24-yard TD strike to Kareem Hawkins with 54 seconds left.
With Edward Waters trying to make something happen before the half, Hawkins stripped Williams of the football and Eric Stallworth returned the recovery all the way down to the Edward Waters 1, setting up Byrd's 1-yard plunge with seven seconds remaining in the half to put Shorter up 28-7.
"Our defense bounced back and made some big plays," Jones said of his defense, which intercepted Edward Waters quarterback Brandon Turman earlier in the second frame and forced Williams into two first half fumbles. "Those were huge plays in the game. To be any good, you have to have playmakers and we had guys step up today."
Edward Waters scored the first 14 points of the second half to pull within one score on touchdown runs from Antonio Bellamy and Phillip Teamer, but Shorter responded with more big plays to close out the hosts.
A 41-yard scamper by Jonny Sitton set up Telfair's 9-yard TD run just before the end of the third quarter and after David Guilford tacked on a 42-yard field goal five minutes into the fourth period to put Shorter ahead 37-21, Caleb Collins got loose for a 40-yard touchdown run with 4:37 left in the game – the finishing touch on a dominating performance from Shorter's offensive line.
"Our offensive line was consistent today," Jones said. "We ran a lot of different types of plays and anytime that you ask your offense to do that many things and they are still able to move the ball for that type of yardage, you have to be proud of them."
Shorter set the tone with a trademark 10-play, 63-yard drive capped by Foster's 3-yard run on the first possession of the game.
Edward Waters answered back to tie the game at 7 in the first quarter on Turman's 31-yard TD strike to Suwayne Hilton following a Shorter fumble, but that was all for the Tigers during the remainder of the half, who turned the ball over three times and the one field goal attempt blocked in its next four possessions.
Hawkins paced Shorter's defense with 12 tackles, two of which were for loss. Jamey Rice had nine tackles and 1.5 sacks and Stallworth had the interception of Turman in addition to his fumble recovery.
Teamer ran for 97 yards on nine carries for the Tigers and Turman, who came into the day averaging nearly 170 yards of total offense per game, was held to 92 yards through the air and 39 yards on the ground.
Shorter returns to Mid-South Conference West Division play on Saturday, Nov. 5 when it travels to Barbourville, Ky., for a date with Union College.