WASHINGTON - Time was not on Gallaudet University's side Friday night as it suffered a gut-wrenching loss, 20-14, to Alvernia University to begin the 2019 football season.
Gallaudet clung to a 14-12 lead with just over a minute to play in the fourth quarter before 1,174 raucous fans overflowing the stands at Hotchkiss Field.
The Bison (0-1) had trailed for the majority of the game before junior RJ Randle (McCalla, Ala.) scored on a 12-yard touchdown run at the 1:21 mark. Gallaudet, now up two points, led for the first time since early in the second quarter.
Alvernia (1-0) started its game-winning drive near midfield. Sophomore quarterback Kevin Washington Jr. (15-for-26, 140 yards) found freshman wide receiver Monzell Ware (two receptions, 45 yards) for a 30-yard gain as the Golden Wolves marched into Gallaudet territory. The Bison defense forced an incomplete pass attempt on first down and stuffed running back Malcolm Carey (105 yards) on second down for a 1-yard loss on his 20th rush of the night. Alvernia was forced to use a timeout with 33 seconds left on the clock.
Out of the timeout the Bison faithful rose to their feet and cheered loudly for their team as the visitors faced a 3rd down and 11 on the Bison 26-yard line. Washington dropped back to pass and locked in on sophomore wide receiver Antwann Cade, who slipped through the Bison defense, and was left wide open in the end zone. Cade made the easy catch as the Alvernia bench and fans went into hysteria over the game-winning play. The Golden Wolves converted the two-point conversion on a Daniel Scott run up the middle for the six-point lead.
Gallaudet started its final drive on its own 38 before sophomore quarterback Lance Wood (Fishers, Ind.) got sacked for a loss of five yards as the final seconds ticked off the clock to end the game.
The Bison finished the game with 266 yards of offense (176 rushing yards) as they held the ball for over 32 minutes. Gallaudet's defense surrendered 307 yards of offense to the Golden Wolves as they rolled up 167 yards on the ground.
GU sophomore running back Cassmeir Hutchinson (Chesapeake, Va.) led all runners with 116 yards on the ground with a long run of 51 yards. Gallaudet used a trio of quarterbacks under center as junior Timel Benton (Columbia, S.C.) started under center and lasted into the second quarter. Benton threw a 26-yard touchdown strike to sophomore wide receiver Mitchell Dolinar (Las Vegas, Nev.) at the 2:22 mark in the first quarter as GU led 7-6.
Wood and sophomore Logan Taylor (South Prince George, Va.) split time the remainder of the game for the Bison. Wood (1-for-10) completed one pass for 26 yards and fumbled twice while Taylor (4-for-6) connected on four throws for 38 yards.
Alvernia only needed three plays to cover 50 yards on the opening drive to score a touchdown at the 14:17 mark to begin the game. Carey scored on a 14-yard run, his second touchdown of the game, at the 13:44 mark in the second quarter as the Golden Wolves regained the lead.
GU had a chance to take the lead in the second quarter as it marched into the red zone and got down to the Alvernia 2-yard line after Wood connected on a 26-yard pass to freshman Austin Sliva-Wynne (Rosenberg, Texas). The Bison then fumbled and recovered on two of the next three plays and came up empty handed on fourth down to end the threat.
Alvernia took a 12-7 lead into halftime.
On defense, Gallaudet was led by junior linebacker Rodney Burford Jr. (Brooklyn, N.Y.) with 11 tackles (three solo) and 1.5 tackles for a loss of four yards. Freshman Zachary Wade (Grovetown, Ga.) and junior Mason Gooch (Mount Sterling, Ky.) added eight tackles each in the loss.
The Golden Wolves were led by Matthew Mitchell on defense with eight tackles (seven solo) and three tackles for a loss of 19 yards including one sack.
- Sophomore Jack Gray (Atherton, Calif.) was a perfect 2-for-2 on his point after attempts
- Sophomore Nicholas Maccini (San Diego, Calif.) averaged 42.8 yards on his five punts, including four inside the 20
- GU converted twice on fourth down
- Alvernia leads this series 2-0
Gallaudet will have a week to regroup before heading down to Newport News, Va., to face the Apprentice School on Saturday, Sept. 21, at 1 p.m., in a non-conference game.