Olivet football team rallies to beat Alma, 20-13, in overtime

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ALMA, Mich. – The Olivet College football team overcame a 10-0 halftime deficit to beat Alma College, 20-13, in overtime for its Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA) opener today at Bahlke Field in Alma. With the win, the Comets improve their overall record to 5-0.

The Scots scored their 10 points in the second quarter. Jack Pryde capped a 17-play, 64-yard drive with a 26-yard field goal at the 6:46 mark. After forcing Olivet to punt on its next drive, Alma needed only three plays to take the 10-0 lead. Jarrett Leister completed a 50-yard touchdown pass to Tyler Watters, and Pryde made the PAT kick.

The Comets scored their first touchdown on their first possession of the second half. Sophomore quarterback Braden Black snuck in from a yard out for the score, and senior Anthony Edwards made the PAT kick. The defenses then took over in the third quarter.

Olivet got the ball back at its own 41-yard line with 4:07 remaining in the game. For the majority of the drive, the Comets used Black's legs to pick-up first downs and move the chains. On a 3rd and 11 yards to go play, he rushed 12 yards into the end zone for the go-ahead score with only 47 seconds left. The PAT kick was missed to make the score 13-10.

A short kickoff was returned to midfield by the Scots. Alma marched down to the Olivet 30-yard line, and Pryde made a 47-yard field goal to send the game to overtime. 

The Scots won the coin toss to start overtime and elected to start on defense.  After getting only eight yards on the first two downs, sophomore Javier Lara broke loose for a 17-yard touchdown run on the third play. Edwards converted the PAT kick.

Alma then had its chance to tie the game. On first down, Leister was tackled behind the line of scrimmage for a 4-yard loss. After an incomplete pass on second down, Leister completed an 8-yard pass on third down. Facing fourth down, his pass attempt was dropped.

For the game, Olivet had 16 first downs and 293 yards of offense. Black accounted for 225 yards, as he carried the ball 18 times for 86 yards and two touchdowns, and completed 13-of-25 passes for 139 yards. Lara had 12 carries for 51 yards. Sophomore Tyre Alexander caught three passes for 45 yards. Sophomore Noah Keefer led the defense with nine tackles, while sophomore Curtis French had eight tackles, with a team-leading five tackles.

Alma recorded 15 first downs and 279 yards, with only 78 yards on the ground. Grant Wilson topped the ground game with 10 carries for 42 yards. Leister was 14-of-27 for 201 yards. Watters had five receptions for 97 yards. Adam Nelson finished with a game-high 10 tackles.

The Comets host Hope College next Saturday for its annual Homecoming game. Kickoff at the Cutler Athletic Complex is 2 p.m.

NOTES: The Comets have started the season with a 5-0 record for only the fourth time in school history, with the last time being the 1967 season. The other two times were 1901 and 1961. Olivet beat Alma for the first time since Oct. 28, 2006, and won on the Scots' home field for the first time since Oct. 27, 1973.

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