San Diego, CA - The University of San Diego Toreros Mason Mills connected with Reggie Bell for a 29-yard game-winning touchdown with just a minute remaining to defeat the Western New Mexico Mustangs 34-27 for their first win of the 2012 campaign.
The Toreros got on the scoreboard first when their second drive ended in an Ernie Collins 37 yard field goal. The Mustangs were able to respond in the closing seconds of the first quarter when freshman quarterback Mitch Glasmann connected with Marquis Sumpter for a 40-yard touchdown, putting the Mustangs up 7-3.
The Toreros tacked on two touchdowns before halftime. The first came on a 47-yard screen pass from Mills to junior running back Joe Ferguson. It was the first career touchdown as a Torero for Ferguson, who transferred from American River College.
The Toreros then put together an eight-play 63-yard drive that ended in a 31-yard touchdown pass to sophomore Brandon White to put the Toreros up 17-7 going into the locker room at halftime.
The Mustangs hit the ground running in the second half, scoring on their first two drives. The first came at the hands of Donald Byrd, who took a wide receiver reverse 57 yards for a touchdown to bring the Mustangs within three.
The Mustangs next drive went 82 yards in seven plays and ended with a John De La Rosa 21 yard touchdown run, giving Western New Mexico a 21-17 lead with just under nine minutes remaining in the third quarter.
The Toreros pulled within one after Ernie Collins kicked a 51-yard field goal with 4:13 left in the third quarter. Collin's boot tied for the second longest in USD history.
The Mustangs, who feature 18 players from San Diego County, answered back when Glasmann connected with Sumpter for another touchdown, this time on an eight-yard wide receiver screen. The Mustangs were unable to convert the PAT, giving them a 27-20 lead with 11:22 left in the game.
Mills and the Toreros offense started to click at this point as they methodically marched down the field on an 11-play 72-yard drive that ended with another Brandon White touchdown reception. This time White hauled in a 12 yard fade route in the front corner of the endzone. Collins' successful PAT tied the game at 27 apiece with 5:19 left.
The Torero defense stood strong and forced the Mustangs to punt giving Mills and the Toreros one last chance to put points on the board. Starting on their own 16-yard line with 3:32 remaining, Mills effectively moved the ball down the field and found sophomore Reggie Bell for a 29-yard touchdown with just one minute remaining to give the Toreros a 34-27 lead. Mills went 6-8 for 65 yards on the game-winning drive connecting with four different receivers.
The Mustangs had some trouble on the ensuing kickoff return and only made it out to their own two-yard line. Glasmann's hail mary attempt at the end of the game was intercepted by senior Drew Harris, his second of the game, as the Toreros held on to earn their first win of the season 34-27.
Mills rebounded from a rough outing against Cal Poly going 27-37 for 303 yards and four touchdowns. White led all Toreros receivers with eight catches for 96 yards and two touchdowns. Bell hauled in four passes for 79 yards and the game-winning touchdown. Junior Sam Hoekstra caught seven balls for 53 yards.
Offensively, the Mustangs were led by two players from the San Diego area. Glasmann, a true freshman from Temecula, went 22-35 for 266 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. His favorite receiver was Marquis Sumpter, a senior from Oceanside, who had nine receptions for 139 yards and two touchdowns.
Defensively, senior Jamil Wade led the Toreros with five tackles. The Mustangs leading tackler was Temecula native Deshawn Hathorne.
The Toreros hit the road next week as they take on the Harvard Crimson Tide Saturday at 9:30 a.m. It will be Harvard's first game of the 2012 season.