(BEAVER FALLS, Pa.) - Senior defensive back Zach Autenrieb (Cincinnati, Ohio/Elder) tied the NCAA Division III career interception record, but the Thomas More College football team loss 50-48 to Geneva College in four overtimes today (Saturday, September 29, 2012) in a Presidents' Athletic Conference (PAC) game at Reeves Field in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania.
With the loss, the Saints fall to 1-3 overall and 1-2 in the PAC. With the win, the Golden Tornadoes improve to 1-3 overall and 1-1 in the PAC.
Thomas More led, 7-0, after one quarter, Geneva led 12-7 at halftime and the game was tied 15-15 after three quarters and 29-29 after regulation.
Autenrieb had two interceptions in the game, one in the second quarter and one that he returned four a touchdown in the fourth quarter to improve his career march to 29. That tied him with Ralph Gebhardt, who had 29 from 1973-75 at Rochester University.
Thomas More took a 7-0 lead with 1:27 to play in the first quarter when freshman quarterback Jensen Gebhardt (Kings Mills, Ohio/Kings) connected on a six-yard touchdown pass to freshman tight end Cody Hinkel (Eminence, Ky./Henry County) and junior place kicker Tim Gormly, Jr. (Cincinnati, Ohio/McNicholas) made the point-after-attempt.
Geneva pulled to 7-6 when Bryan Visingardi made a 32 and 31-yard field goals in the second quarter.
The Golden Tornadoes took a 12-7 lead at halftime when Jordan Curry scored on a two-yard run and Visingardi's PAT was blocked with 56-seconds to play in the second quarter.
The Saints took a 15-12 lead with 13:58 to play in the third quarter when junior defensive back Jake Fishburn (Cincinnati, Ohio/Elder) returned a block punt six-yards for a touchdown and junior running back Adam Rauch (Yorkville, Ind./East Central) scored on the two-point rushing attempt.
Visingardi tied the game at 15-15 for Geneva when he made a 27-yard field goal with 6:26 to play in the third quarter.
With 12:19 to play in the fourth quarter, Autenrieb returned his NCAA record tying interception 25-yards for a touchdown and Gormly added the PAT to give the Saints a 22-15 lead.
The Saint increased the lead to 29-15 with 5:16 to play in the fourth quarter when Gebhardt connected on a nine-yard touchdown pass to sophomore wide receiver Ryan Winkler (Independence, Ky./Simon Kenton) and Gormly added the PAT.
Geneva cut the lead to 29-22 with 2:30 to play in the game when Rocco Colavecchia scored on a four-yard run and Visingardi added the PAT.
The Golden Tornadoes forced overtime when they tied the game at 29-29 with 56-seconds to play in the game when Colavecchia scored on another four-yard run and Visingardi added the PAT.
In the first overtime period, both teams missed their field goal attempts.
In the second overtime, the Saints scored first when Rauch scored on a two-yard run and Gormly added the PAT. Geneva matched the score on a Colavecchia two-yard run and a Visingardi PAT to make the score 36-36.
After the second overtime period teams after to go for two-point attempts after scoring per NCAA rules. Geneva had the ball first and scored on a 25-yard pass from Zack Hayward to Corey O'Patchen, but the two-point attempt failed. Thomas More tied the game at 42-42 after three overtimes when Rauch scored on a four-yard run and the two-point attempt failed.
Thomas More had the ball first in the fourth overtime and scored on a 25-yard pass from Gebhardt to freshman wide receiver Goose Cohorn (Florence, Ky./Dixie Height), but the two-point conversion failed. Geneva matched the Saints' touchdown with a Colavecchia five-yard touchdown run and then converted on a Zach Hayward two-point rushing attempt for the 50-48 victory.
Offensively, the Saints were led by Gebhardt, who was 16-of-27 passing for 178 yards and three touchdowns in his first collegiate start. Rauch led the team on the ground as he had 43 yards rushing on 21 carries and had two touchdowns. Winkler had five catches for 51 yards and one touchdown, while Cohorn had three catches for 46 yards and a touchdown and sophomore wide receiver Al Upshaw (Cincinnati, Ohio/Gamble Montessori) had one catch for 40 yards.
The Saints defense was led by junior defensive back Alex Taylor (Cincinnati, Ohio/Elder), who had 16 tackles (15 solo, one assisted). Autenrieb finished the game with eight tackles (all solo) and two interceptions, Fishburn had eight tackles (seven solo, one assisted) and senior defensive end Jay Volker (Cincinnati, Ohio/Elder) had seven tackles (six solo, one assisted), including a half sack for a loss of four yards and two and a half tackles for a loss of 10 yards.
Thomas More returns home next Saturday (October 6) to host Washington & Jefferson College on Homecoming at The Bank of Kentucky Field in Crestview Hills, Kentucky. The game is scheduled to kickoff at 1:30 p.m.