Colonels drop SAA opener 33-16 to Millsaps

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In the first-ever Southern Athletic Association (SAA) game for both programs, the Centre College football team fell 33-16 to visiting Millsaps College Saturday, Sept. 29 at Farris Stadium in Danville, Ky.

Following a Millsaps punt near the end of the first quarter, the Centre offense took over on its own 26-yard line. The Colonels gained nine yards on the first three plays, but were stopped short on a fourth-down attempt and turned the ball over to the Majors.

Millsaps then drove 35 yards on nine plays with running back Mike Barthelemy capping the drive with a one-yard touchdown run on fourth-and-goal.

On the ensuing kick-off, the Majors tried a short kick, but it went out of bounds giving Centre the ball on its own 37-yard line. After gaining 27 yards on seven plays, senior kicker Jordan Gay (Danville, Ky.) booted a school-record 53-yard field goal into the wind for a 7-3 game. Gay owned the previous record of 52 yards set in 2010, also against Millsaps in Danville.

The Majors scored touchdown on their next two drives, but missed the extra point on the second of two scores to go in front 20-7. 

Millsaps (4-0, 1-0 SAA) had a chance to add to the lead before the half on a fumble recovery on Centre's 24-yard line, but Garrett Pinciotti's pass on first down was picked off by junior cornerback Casey Vatter (Okeana, Ohio) in the endzone.

Sophomore quarterback Heath Haden (Kingsport, Tenn.) drove the Colonels down the field and had the offense at the Millsaps five-yard line with less than one minute to play. A pass attempt on second down fell incomplete, and Haden was sacked for a loss of 15 yards on the next play. Gay was brought in to attempt a 37-yard field, but it was blocked and the half ended with the Majors leading 20-3. 

Junior Rob Melillo (Louisville, Ky.) gave the Colonels great field position when he returned the second half kick-off 58 yards to the Millsaps 35-yard line. The Colonels gained only two yards on the next three plays and were forced to settle for a 49-yard field goal by Gay to cut the lead to 20-6. 

Gay added his third field goal of the game later in the third quarter, this time from 28-yards out to make it a 20-9 game, but Millsaps answered with another touchdown to take a 27-9 lead into the fourth quarter.

Haden hit senior Greyson Janeway (Johnson City, Tenn.) for a nine-yard touchdown pass with 2:00 left in the game, but it wasn't enough as the Majors scored on the next drive to seal the 33-16 win.

Each team turned the ball over twice in the game. Centre out-gained Millsaps 347-340 in total offensive yards, but the Majors had a 43:53-31:07 advantage in time of possession. 

Haden threw for 189 yards and a touchdown on 19 of 34 passing and also had a game-high 112 rushing yards on 34 carries.

Senior linebacker Michael Bozarth (Mt. Washington, Ky.) and junior linebacker Erich Vogelsang (Northbend, Ohio) led the defense with nine tackles each.

Centre, now 3-2 overall and 0-1 in the SAA, will look for its first conference win Saturday, Oct. 6 against Sewanee-the University of the South. Kick-off is set for 2 p.m. in Sewanee, Tenn.

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