|Georgetown (Ky.) (1-0)||0||7||17||9||7||40|
|Faulkner (Ala.) (1-1)||7||7||7||12||6||39|
|Georgetown (Ky.)||Indv. Leaders||Faulkner (Ala.)|
|#29 Kyle Longworth - 42||Rushing||#35 Josh Gaines - 38|
|#17 Riley Hall - 234||Passing||#6 Clayton Nicholas - 274|
|#28 Luke Sharrock - 52||Receiving||#11 Alex Pina-Rhoden - 98|
|Georgetown (Ky.)||Team Statistics||Faulkner (Ala.)|
by Ryan Bartels
MONTGOMERY, Ala. - Despite a host of spectacular offensive strikes and explosive defensive stops in this afternoon's back-and-forth Mid-South Conference non-division thriller between Faulkner (1-1) and No. 21 Georgetown (1-0), the outcome was ultimately decided by an extra point in overtime. After the Tigers blocked two consecutive Eagle extra point attempts in the fourth quarter, the second of which was returned for the game-tying safety, it was a missed point after try in overtime that allowed the visitors to claim the 40-39 decision here at Billy D. Hilyer Stadium.
"This is a game we never should have let get away from us," said head coach Charlie Boren after the heart-breaking loss. "We made too many mistakes against a great team and you can't do that. We had them right where we wanted them with a minute to go and we have a second kick blocked and then missed the one in overtime. It's no one person's fault, though. It was a collective effort."
Faulkner broke the scoring silence just before the first quarter expired when quarterback Clayton Nicholas connected from 18 yards out with wide receiver Jacob McCrary who reeled in a brilliant one-handed, leaping touchdown catch.
Georgetown tied the contest halfway through the second quarter, but receiver Alex Pina-Rhoden moved the home team back in front just 53 seconds later when he collected a tipped pass and carried it 49 yards for the score.
Faulkner's 14-7 lead held through halftime.
Linebacker Ryan Lee's 28-yard interception return to the Georgetown 5-yard line on the second play of the second half ignited the home crowed and put the Eagles on the doorstep of another scoring opportunity.
The Tiger defense proved impenetrable, however, and a missed 19-yard field goal left Faulkner empty-handed while the stand ushered new life into Georgetown.
The visitors orchestrated an 80-yard scoring drive on the ensuing possession before catapulting into the lead with a 27-yard field goal following a key interception from the defense.
Nicholas revived the slugfest two minutes later with a 51-yard touchdown rocket to receiver Terrance Sims who made several defenders miss before crossing into the end zone.
Nicholas then wedged a 1-yard quarterback-keeper between a pair of Georgetown scores to keep the battle in a dead heat, but the blocked point after try following that touchdown exposed a weakness that the Tigers would exploit when it mattered most.
Deep in the fourth quarter, Faulkner built a methodical 79-yard drive that included a crucial fourth-and-3 conversion at the Georgetown 29-yard line and that culminated with a 13-yard touchdown strike to Pina-Rhoden giving the Eagles a 33-31 advantage with 1:02 to play.
The Tigers again blocked the extra point effort, but this time Cameron Oshodi scooped the loose ball and sprinted 87 yards for the game-tying safety.
Faulkner quickly regained the momentum, however, when Nicholas again found Pina-Rhoden along the home sidelines with a 25-yard touchdown pass on the first play in overtime.
A pair of illegal procedure penalties preceding the extra point try put the already rocky Eagle kicking game in an even more precarious position and the eventual 30-yard kick ended up missing its mark.
Georgetown found the end zone for the final time eight plays later and sealed the victory on the extra point.
Even though Born is disappointed with the final outcome of today's game, the third-year head coach is focusing on the things his Eagles did well that could easily get lost in the sting of defeat.
"I'm proud of the way our guys played overall," Boren said. "We were in a tight spot in the fourth quarter and had to drive the length of the field and convert a big fourth down and I was really proud of what they did. We didn't play perfect and you almost have to against a quality opponent like that. We're going to learn a lot from this game moving forward and we're going to get better."
Nicholas was 27-for-35 with 274 yards and five touchdowns on the day while also tossing a pair of interceptions.
Pina-Rhoden had three touchdowns and 98 yards on five catches.
The Faulkner offense, which tallied 241 yards on the ground last week, had just 68 this afternoon. Josh Gaines led the ground attack with 38 yards on eight touches while Joe Jones added 26 more on 11 carries.
Lee had six tackles, which included two sacks, in addition to his interception.
Faulkner will next host No. 3 Reinhardt University (Ga.) in another non-division MSC showdown at Billy D. Hilyer Stadium next Saturday at 1:30 p.m.