MEMPHIS - Cajun Fest took another whole meeting Saturday afternoon on the campus of Rhodes College. As parents and fans began to gather to honor 13 Lynx seniors, the smell of Cajun food was in the air. Fans that arrived early for the delicious grub and stayed late for the end of the game were rewarded as the Lynx, who trailed 31-32 with 3:04 left, defeated Austin College 37-32. On second and 10 with 21.6 seconds left in the game, quarterback PJ Settles rolled out to his left and found junior Carter King down field for the game-winning 50-yard touchdown. The throw ate nine seconds off the clock as the Lynx staved off the Kangaroos to end their 2017 campaign with a victory.
Rhodes' defense began the game by forcing a turnover on downs against the 'Roos. On Rhodes' second drive, Settles' pass was intercepted but Duke Sherrell aided his teammate with an interception of his own to return the ball to the Lynx. Settles then opened scoring with a 46-yard touchdown. Austin tied the game on their next drive on a 30-yard pass. Austin continued their momentum after a 12-yard sack and seven-yard rush for a touchdown to take the lead after just under three minutes played in the second quarter.
Rhodes was able to tie the game 14-14 on a 10-yard pass to senior Alex Richards with 3:40 to go in the half. The Lynx defense forced Austin to punt on their fourth play of the next drive, in which the Lynx almost turned into a touchdown. With three seconds on the clock, Settles drew back and found Richards 51 yards down field. Richards roped in the catch surrounded by 'Roos who stopped him laterally at the one-yard line to keep the game tied as both teams headed into their locker rooms.
Rhodes, who had won the toss and deferred to the second half, put their choice to good use as Settles ran for a 32-yard touchdown top open second-half scoring. His athleticism turned nothing into something as his 15th touchdown of the year broke the single-season rushing touchdown record at Rhodes, held by Michael Lee from 1995. Lee had 14 rushing touchdowns and one receiving touchdown on the year.
With Rhodes leading 21-14, senior Kyle Edmiston connected on a 21-yard field goal. The 'Roos opened the fourth quarter with a 36-yard completion to Kyle Mucerino, but the kick attempt failed for the extra point.
Settles gave the Lynx some breathing room on a 51-yard touchdown with 11:08 to play. His 16th rushing touchdown of the year is the new mark to beat and the second-most total touchdowns in a single season.
Austin's Colt Collins (quarterback) connected with Mucerino to cut Rhodes lead to 31-26. After Austin forced and recovered a fumble, Mucerino and Collins put the 'Roos up by one with 3:04 to go.
Cesar Ruiz' 61-yard kickoff was brought back by freshman Adam Martinez 33 yards to put Rhodes in position to make the comeback. On fourth and five, the Lynx failed to connect and turned the ball over, but the Lynx defense held strong and forced Austin to punt on their sixth play of the drive.
King pulled in a 28-yard catch to get Rhodes to the 50-yard line before coming back to the opposite side of the field for his game-winning catch.
On the Day
Settles not only broke and set the new mark for rushing touchdowns in a single season, he recorded 220 rushing yards and threw for 302 yards, taking his total offensive yards on the season to 3,780 yards and breaking his own record set last year. Settles' 1,111 rushing yards is third all-time in school history with the record being 1,142 yards by Darrel Brown in 1996.
Against Hendrix, wide receiver Josh Lucas broke the record for receiving yards in a single season. He set a new mark with his 55 yards against Austin. The new record to beat is 1,199 yards, breaking the 1977 record of 1,120 yards set by Jerry Hampton.
King led the Lynx with 158 receiving yards including a 70-yard catch.
Martinez finished the game with 134 return yards during kickoffs.
Taylor Smith returned an interception for 16 yards.
Duke Sherrell returned an interception for four yards. He led the Lynx with eight total tackles including six solo. Overall, the Lynx recorded four sacks to set Austin College back 13 yards. Eric Monroe tallied four breakups to lead the game.
Rhodes ends their season with a 4-6 overall record as they went 3-5 in conference play. "I'm so proud of how our guys stayed with us, not just today, but throughout the year," commented head coach Jim Ryan. "We had so many guys play well today, I know we have a bright future ahead of us."
Video of game-winning 50 yd TD reception by Carter King:
Game winning 50yd TD reception by Carter King with 12 sec left over Austin College!! Rhodes wins 37-32 pic.twitter.com/ZMLmEeW5uk— Rhodes Athletics (@RhodesAthletics) November 11, 2017