ST. BONIFACIUS, Minn. – It took longer than expected, but the MacMurray College football team escaped with a 27-21 double overtime win over Crown College on Saturday afternoon. Senior Marquez Ellison scored with three seconds on the clock to push the game into overtime and Jacquese Goins iced the game with an interception in the second OT, keeping MacMurray's quest at a conference title alive.
The Highlanders have now won four straight, improving to 4-1 overall, 4-0 in the UMAC. Crown slips to 0-7, 0-5.
Sophomore Asa Donaldson had a career-day for the Highlanders, racking up 137 rushing yards and a touchdown. Ellison found the end zone twice – both in critical moments.
In addition to his game-winning interception, Goins had a team-high 10 tackles.
The Highlanders dominated the run game, 179-45, as Crown controlled the air, 254-144.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Devonta Preston opened the scoring with a 20-yard touchdown reception from Nathan Randall with 6:35 remaining in the first quarter. Noah Sandoval's PAT was good for a 7-0 lead.
Crown fumbled the kickoff return and the ball was recovered by the Highlanders, but the visitors squandered the opportunity to extend their lead, turning the ball over on downs.
The slim 7-0 MacMurray advantage held into halftime.
On their first possession of the second half, Crown got on the board thanks to a 5-play, 53-yard drive. The next Crown possession, the Storm capitalized on a 3rd and 10 from their own 43 for a 32-yard pass, charging into MacMurray territory. A 6-yard touchdown rush followed by a PAT pushed the hosts ahead 14-7.
Their perfect UMAC record on the line, MacMurray got the ball back with 2:15 to play at the Crown 44-yard line. Donaldson gave the Highlanders a first down, which was followed by another first down pass from Randall to Ian Leib. One play later, Donaldson broke through for a 14-yard run before being tackled at the Crown 7-yard line.
On a 3rd and goal, it appeared Randall's pass was picked off and returned for a game-sealing pick-six. The return was called back due to a holding penalty, giving the Highlanders a fresh set of downs – and new life -- setting up Ellison's heroic plunge into the end zone with three seconds left. Sandoval's PAT was good, sending the game into overtime knotted at 14.
With the ball first in OT, the Storm was facing a 4th and 5 from the MacMurray 20. The hosts completed a 19-yard pass for a first down and scored two plays later to take a 21-14 lead.
MacMurray answered with a 55-yard run by Donaldson on their first play from scrimmage in the extra period. The drive started at their own 45-yard line due to two personal fouls.
In the second overtime, Ellison recorded his second score of the afternoon, but Sandoval's extra point was blocked, putting the pressure on the Highlander defense to get a stop.
They got the stop they needed as Goins picked off Crown's Devin Westbrook in double overtime, sending the Highlanders home victorious.
INSIDE THE BOX SCORE
The teams combined for 25 penalties, totaling 215 yards.
Javon Muhammad added five TFLs for 33 yards including three sacks. Muhammad now holds the NCAA lead in TFLs/game (4.0) and sacks per game (2.0).
MacMurray has now won four straight contests over the Storm.
QUOTES FROM THE COACH
"Give Crown coaches and players credit, they played very hard and very well," said head coach Chris Douglas. "In the end, our guys were able to respond and make plays when we absolutely had to have them."
Douglas on the defense: "The defense played extremely well and kept us in the game until we could get on track offensively … Without the play of Coach Langhoff's squad the outcome would have been disappointing."
MacMurray returns to Illinois next weekend to host Iowa Wesleyan for Homecoming. Kickoff at Freesen Field is at 1 p.m.