NEWTON, Mass. - A last-minute touchdown by Mount Ida College snatched victory out of Gallaudet University's grasp on a wet and rainy Saturday afternoon at Alumni Field in New England. The host Mustangs scored with 56 seconds left and converted a two-point conversion to defeat the Bison 28-21 in the Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC) opener.
Gallaudet (0-4, 0-1 ECFC) clung to a 21-20 lead for the majority of the fourth quarter but couldn't add to its lead over the course of its final four possessions. The Bison got to the Mount Ida 12-yard line early in the fourth quarter but an incomplete pass turned the ball over on downs. The two teams traded possessions before the Mustangs (2-2, 1-0 ECFC) marched 81 yards on 12 plays in four minutes to win the game.
Mount Ida quarterback Mike Pina (14-for-26, 120 yards) threw a 24-yard touchdown pass to Oscar Lopez (five receptions, 72 yards) for the game-winning score. Pina completed the two-point attempt with a pass to Alex Rosemond. GU fumbled for the fourth time in the waning seconds to end the game.
Gallaudet jumped out to an early 14-0 in the first quarter. Mount Ida was in the red zone when Kolbie Humble (16 carries, 110 yards) fumbled at the Gallaudet 2-yard line. Junior Jamie Cumberbatch (Waldorf, Md.) scooped up the loose ball and sprinted 97 yards for the game's first score with five minutes left in the opening quarter.
The Bison defense forced a three and out and the GU offense went to work at midfield. Sophomore quarterback Timel Benton (Columbia, S.C.) completed a 40-yard pass to junior wide receiver Dylan Mento (Atco, N.J.) to put the Bison in the red zone. Two plays later, Benton hit senior Cody Paulay-Simmons (Kailua-Kona, Hawaii) with a 17-yard touchdown pass.
GU scored twice in a three-minute window.
The wet conditions got to the Bison on their next two possessions as they fumbled the ball away. The two turnovers were costly as Mount Ida scored touchdowns and knotted the game at 14.
After halftime, the Bison took a 21-14 lead as Benton connected with freshman wide receiver Jordan Martin (Kansas City, Kan.) on a 32-yard touchdown pass just five minutes in.
Humble scored on the next possession for Mount Ida but Nick Hewitt's extra-point pass attempt failed as GU held a 21-20 lead with 4:23 left in the third quarter.
- Benton was 5 of 13 for 113 yards and two touchdowns, he ran the ball 11 times for 47 yards
- Freshman DeMichael Shelbon (Monroe, La.) had nine carries for 61 yards to lead GU's rushing attack
- Martin had two catches for 51 yards
- Sophomore kicker Jacob Guertler (Staunton, Va.) was 3-for-3 on extra-point attempts and averaged 40.6 yards per punt
- Junior linebacker Louie Akuffo (Bowie, Md.) led the defense with 11 tackles (seven solo)
- Sophomore linebacker Mason Gooch (Mount Sterling, Ky.) reached double figures with 10 tackles
- Junior Tony Libit (Deerbrook, Wis.) had the game's lone interception in the fourth quarter as he returned it five yards
- Mount Ida ran for 325 yards on the ground
Gallaudet returns home for its conference home opener against Anna Maria College (0-4, 0-1 ECFC) on Saturday, Oct. 7, at 1 p.m.