'Roos win home opener in double OT

SHERMAN, Texas – Zach Mamot plunged in from two yards out and the Austin College defense held firm in the second overtime to give the ’Roos a 21-14 come from behind victory over McMurry University in their 2008 home opener on Saturday. The ’Roos piled up 221 yards rushing in the win and improve to 1-1 on the year.

Austin College found itself in good shape early when Andy Stowe stripped the ball from Brandon Roberson and Tanner Martin recovered at the McMurry 25, and five plays later Andy Braly found Austin Sherman for an 11-yard strike to put the ’Roos ahead 7-0 with 3:57 left in the first quarter.

The lead didn’t last long though, as the ’Roos proved to have trouble hanging onto the ball in the sloppy conditions. Austin College put the ball on the ground three times in the first half, with McMurry recovering each time. McMurry took advantage early in the second quarter when Evan Hearn rushed 12 yards for the touchdown to tie things at 7-7 with 10:53 left in the half.

That would remain the score heading into the half, but McMurry drove 46 yards in eight plays midway through the third quarter thanks largely to a 31 yard completion from Taylor Penn to Simeon Neal. Hearn scored for the second time two plays later to put McMurry ahead 14-7 with 5:21 left in the quarter.

The ’Roos looked to be in rough shape to start the fourth quarter when McMurry downed a punt at the Austin College two yard line, but Coach Ronnie Gage’s team put together an incredible 20 play, 98 yard drive lasting nearly 10 minutes and ending with an acrobatic leap into the endzone by Mamot to tie things at 14-14 with 4:09 left in regulation. Braly completed passes of nine and 22 yards on the drive and added a 20 yard scramble to keep the drive alive.

McMurry had a chance to end things in regulation when they drove down to the Austin College 11-yard line, but the field goal attempt by Josh Neaves with three seconds left sailed wide right and sent the game into overtime.

In the first overtime McMurry turned it over on downs on their first possession, but once again a fumble killed the next possession for the ’Roos when Ross Hasten lost the ball at the end of a 10 yard run. Austin College got the first in the second overtime, with Mamot ripping off a 19 yard run and taking it in two plays later to put the ’Roos ahead 21-14.

McMurry converted a big third down play when Penn found Josh Chatman for a 12 yard completion and two plays later got down to the Austin College 10-yard line, but the ’Roo defense came up big with Nick Youngblood breaking up a pass in the endzone and Matt Orr breaking through the line and leveling Penn as he released the ball on fourth down, causing the ball to sail out of bounds and end the game.

Hasten led the ’Roos with 73 yards on 14 carries and Mamot hauled it nine times and picked up 56 yards with a pair of scores. Braly finished the game completing 5-of-11 passes for 72 yards along with a touchdown and an interception, and added 35 rushing yards on 12 carries. Hasten led the team with two catches for 23 yards.

Scooter Means had a big game defensively, coming up with 15 stops including two tackles for loss. Orr finished with nine tackles including three for loss, and Stowe and Youngblood each had seven tackles.

Hearn carried the ball 26 times and gained 105 yards with two touchdowns to lead McMurry, while Penn completed 9-of-19 passes for 114 yards and ran it 13 times for 47 yards. Neal finished the game with four receptions for 83 yards. Joe Alexander had 13 tackles to lead the McMurry defense, while Mark Jimenez and Gene Vogelman each made nine stops. Jamorian Wilkins added eight tackles and an interception.

Austin College opens its Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference schedule next Saturday when they travel to Jackson, Mississippi to take on Millsaps College with kickoff scheduled for 1:00 p.m.

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