NEWTON, Mass. – A potential game-winning 33-yard field goal, with 15 seconds left in regulation, by Mount Ida College fell short as Gallaudet University survived Saturday's 7-6 defensive showdown on the road in the Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC) opener at Alumni Field.
Gallaudet (4-0, 1-0 ECFC) remains undefeated as the Bison continue its best start in program history, as a NCAA Division III program, since 1987. The Bison, who entered averaging over 35 points per game, were held to a season-low seven points and trailed for the first time all season.
"We have a tremendous group of players on this team. I am so proud of them today. They never stopped playing hard and bounced back in the second half," said Gallaudet coach Chuck Goldstein. The Mustangs led 6-0 at halftime.
A quick three and out by the GU defense midway through the third quarter led the Bison to their first score of the game. Goldstein turned to sophomore running back BJ Flores (Raymondsville, Texas) as he was handed the ball seven out of nine plays as Gallaudet drove 52 yards to a touchdown. Flores ran in from 12 yards with 2:10 left in the third quarter.
Gallaudet's defense was stout in the second half as it forced Mount Ida (1-3, 0-1 ECFC) to punt three times, turn the ball over on downs once and held the Mustangs to a last second field goal attempt at the end. The Bison only had two possessions in the fourth quarter before the Mustang field goal attempt but Gallaudet ran a lot of time off the clock (over nine minutes) with 16 plays.
The Bison drove to near midfield, late in the fourth quarter, and were forced to punt after seven plays. Sophomore kicker Chase Magsig (Hudsonville, Mich.), who missed two field goal attempts (25, 39 yards) in the game, booted a 50-yard punt, his longest of the season, as it was downed at the Mustang 5 with 1:45 left in regulation.
Jawad Yatim (16-for-25, 284 yards) went to work for the Mustangs as he ran the two-minute offense. He completed three passes, including a 45-yard reception to Chandler McCoy, which put the Mustangs at the Bison 19-yard line with 32 seconds left. A Bison penalty brought the Mustangs five yards closer as the drama built on Mount Ida's Homecoming weekend. Yatim ran for a loss of two yards and then threw two incomplete passes to set-up Nick Muccia's 33-yard field goal attempt with 15 seconds on the clock. Muccia's kick went right and was short as the Bison gained possession and set-up in victory formation where they took a knee to run out the final seconds.
The Bison defense sacked Yatim five times for a loss of 22 yards and held the Mustangs to just two yards rushing. Gallaudet recorded 317 yards on the ground in the victory and held the ball for nearly 37 minutes. Mount Ida only converted 3-of-12 third-down attempts and was 0-for-2 on fourth down opportunities
Mount Ida, the defending conference champions, got on the scoreboard in the second quarter when Yatim hit tight end Mike Babich for a 74-yard score with 5:48 left before halftime. Mount Ida kicker Muccia missed the point after attempt.
Bison sophomore quarterback Todd Bonheyo (Frederick, Md.) fumbled twice inside the red zone in the first half. On Gallaudet's first drive, Bonheyo coughed up the ball after being dropped for a six-yard loss at the Mustang 23-yard line, just four minutes into the contest. Then right after the Mustang touchdown, Gallaudet marched 66 yards on 11 plays down to the Mount Ida 5 before Bonheyo fumbled at the 4-yard line. Bonheyo accumulated 39 yards on the ground, as the Bison didn't complete one pass in the game.
The Bison miscues continued to start the third quarter as they marched 52 yards on 11 plays back into the Mustang red zone. On fourth down and goal from the Mount Ida 3, senior running back Ryan Bonheyo (Frederick, Md.) rushed for two yards before fumbling the ball into the end zone as the Mustangs recovered and received a touchback. The elder Bonheyo finished the day with seven carries for 22 yards.
Junior linebacker Gregg McConville (Frederick, Md.) led the Bison with eight tackles and one tackle for a loss of two yards. Junior defensive end Tyler Snider (Thornville, Ohio) had a game-high three sacks for a loss of 16 yards while senior Adham Talaat (Springfield, Va.) and freshman Carneilus Smith (Chesapeake, Va.) had one sack each with a loss of eight and five yards, respectively. The Bison defense had 11 tackles for a loss of 48 yards.
Gallaudet returns home to host Norwich University (2-2, 1-0 ECFC) next Saturday, October 12, in a conference game at Hotchkiss Field. Norwich defeated Becker College 20-9 at home today.