The No. 13 Union College football team scored 21 unanswered points in the second half to defeat Case Western Reserve University, 24-21, in the first round of the 2019 NCAA D-III Football Championship on Saturday afternoon at Frank Bailey Field at Bertagna-Class of 1985 Stadium.
The Dutchmen trailed 21-3 at halftime, but kept the Spartans off the scoreboard in the second half, while Griffin Beal had two touchdown catches in the second half to help Union rally back for the win.
Union improves to 11-0 for only the third time in program history (2005, 1989) and increases the
nation's fourth-longest active winning streak to 14 games.
- Case Western Reserve scored all 21 points in the second quarter. It marks the most the Dutchmen have given up in a single quarter, and ties for the most the Dutchmen have conceded in a game this season.
- The 18-point deficit at halftime was the largest deficit the Dutchmen have faced all season.
- William Bellamy threw for 174 yards and three touchdowns in the second half alone, completing 13-20 passes in that span. He finished the game 17-for-29 for 235 yards.
- Griffin Beal caught 17-yard and 16-yard passes for TDs, with the second score cutting the Dutchmen's deficit to five (21-16). Union's two-point conversion failed after the TD.
- Bellamy connected with Andre Ross Jr. for a 36-yard score to put the Dutchmen on top with less than three minutes to play in the contest.
- In addition to the two TD catches, Beal reeled in a pass to complete the two-point conversion after Ross' TD to make it a three-point game. He finished with 10 catches for 118 yards and two scores.
- With no sacks and only three tackles for loss in the first half, the Dutchmen turned up the pressure on defense in the second half, earning two sacks and five tackles for loss.
- Daniel Gioioso ended the contest with nine tackles, one sack and two tackles for loss.
- Vincenzo DiCaterino forced a fumble in the third quarter, which was recovered by Evan Gilland. He finished the day with six tackles and a sack to go with his forced fumble.
- DJ Martin blocked a field goal in the fourth quarter, which would have given the Spartans a 24-16 lead at the time.
- Gilland and Joe Vanderhoof both ended the contest with one interception.
How It Happened
After an uneventful first quarter that saw three punts and an unsuccessful field goal attempt by the Spartans, Case Western broke open the scoring with back-to-back passing TDs to Colt Morgan for a 14-0 lead.
Evan Gilland intercepted a pass midway through the second quarter at the Case Western Reserve 38-yard line. Despite getting the ball to the one-yard line, Union had to settle for a 22-yard field goal by Will Halpin III to get on the board.
The Spartans then went 96 yards on the ensuing possession to make the score 21-3 heading into halftime.
In the third quarter, it was the Union defense that got the momentum started for the Dutchmen. After a 10-yard sack by Vincenzo DiCaterino that forced starting quarterback Drew Saxton to the sidelines, backup Ryan Coolidge had the ball stripped by DiCaterino two plays later and Gilland recovered the fumble to put Union back on offense.
The Dutchmen made short work of the turnover, and two passes later were in the back of the endzone for the first time of the day on a 17-yard strike from William Bellamy to Griffin Beal.
Union later completed a 12-play, 96-yard drive with a second Bellamy-to-Beal touchdown to cut the deficit to 21-16. Union went for two after the TD, trying to bring the game within a field goal to tie, but the conversion was stopped by the Spartans, and the Dutchmen remained trailing by five.
With 4:48 to go, Case Western Reserve lined up for a 36-yard field goal, hoping to take a 24-16 lead. However, DJ Martin got in around the right corner and blocked the kick to keep Union within one touchdown of taking the lead.
On the very next possession that's just what the Dutchmen did. Bellamy capped off an 80-yard drive with a 36-yard pass to Andre Ross Jr., for the 22-21 lead. The Dutchmen were assessed a five-yard penalty for delay of game afterward and had to try the two-point conversion from the eight-yard line. However, it didn't matter as Bellamy hit Beal in the corner of the endzone to put the Dutchmen up by a field goal.
In the final minutes of the game it was all Dutchman defense. Union stopped the Spartans from keeping a drive alive from 4th and 1, and then Joe Vanderhoof intercepted a pass with 17 seconds left to clinch the victory for the Dutchmen.
Up Next for the Dutchmen
Union will hit the road for the second round of the NCAA Tournament, taking on No. 6 Salisbury on Nov. 30 in Salisbury, Md.