Oct. 12, 2013
(San Diego, Calif.) - The USD Toreros rallied for a 35-33 home victory over the Marist Red Foxes (2-1 PFL, 3-3) to stay undefeated in PFL play. Sophomore kicker David Last made a 28-yard field goal as time expired for the game winner. The Toreros found themselves down 20-5 early in the third period before rallying for victory before a homecoming crowd of 3,513. The win kept USD's series record against the Red Foxes perfect at 9-0, with four of the last five outcomes by 7 points or less. USD (3-0 PFL, 4-2) is now atop the PFL standings with Butler (3-0 PFL, 5-2).
"Marist came ready to play, and played very well," said USD head coach Dale Lindsey. "Not to take anything away from them, but the combination of how bad we played and how well they played created this kind of outcome. We were flat in the first half, and after a stern halftime talking to, we ratcheted it up and played with a lot more emotion and intensity. We were lucky today."
In the first half Marist held a 14-5 lead with the defense limiting the Toreros to just 139 yards of offense, including just 41 yards thru the air by quarterback Mason Mills. After a scoreless first quarter, Marist jumped out to a 7-0 lead when QB Chuckie Looney connected with Armani Martin for a 19 yard touchdown play that capped off an 11-play, 95 yard drive. The drive was setup after a Joe Ferguson fumble on the Marist 8-yard line that was recovered by Zach Quarles.
USD senior defensive end Blake Oliaro got USD on the scoreboard with 2 points when he sacked Looney for a 7-yard loss in the endzone for a safety with 4:10 to go in the half. David Last added a 32-yard field goal to pull within 7-5 before Looney completed a 33-yard TD to WR Bart Leneghan for the 14-5 halftime score.
After Looney opened the third period with his second touchdown pass to Martin, this time for 66 yards, the Toreros answered with three straight touchdowns. Mills connected with Sam Hoekstra for 9 yards and Cole Naone for 3 yards before fullback Montell Allen closed out the quarter with a 1-yard burst. Allen's score gave USD its first lead of the game and was set up by Ryan Downing's blocked punt and recovery on the Marist one yard line.
In the fourth period USD extended its lead to 32-20 on a 62-yard pass play from Mills to Reggie Bell. Marist rallied with back-to-back touchdown passes from Looney to Joe Tralli (29 yards) and Martin (9 yards) for a 33-32 lead with 5:19 to go. Martin's third score of the game was set-up by Nick Kaszei's 88-yard interception return to the USD 3-yard line. Torero running back Joe Ferguson caught Kaszei from behind to keep him out of the endzone, but the Red Foxes would convert four plays later.
USD began their final drive from their own 25-yard line with 5:19 to go. Mills connected with Reggie Bell for 17 yards on a third and 10 from USD's 37 to keep the drive going. Mills then connected with Joe Ferguson for a 19-yard gain on a third and eight from the Marist 28-yard line. With 5 seconds to go redshirt sophomore kicker David Last lined up for a 33-yard field goal, but missed. Marist was called for a roughing the kicker penalty and Last came through on his second try from 28 yards for the game winner.
The Torero defense, which gave up 228 yards of offense to Marist in the first half, held the Red Foxes to just 146 over the final two periods. Defensive ends Blake Oliaro and Steve Garguilo both had big days. Oliaro finished with 10 tackles, 2 sacks, including the safety; Gargiulo finished with 9 stops, 3 sacks, and 1 forced fumble.
Mills, who had just 41 yards of passing at intermission on 4-of-14 passing, rallied the Toreros in the second half to finish with game totals of 20-of-39 for 349 yards and 3 touchdowns. Brandon White (5 catches for 100 yards) and Reggie Bell (4 catches for 104 yards, 1 TD) were his key targets. Joe Ferguson was USD's top rusher with 53 yards on 9 carries. For Marist, Looney finished 19-of-33 for 298 yards and 5 touchdowns, with Martin totaling 6 receptions for 118 yards and three scores.
The Toreros head to Dayton, Ohio next Saturday for a 3:00 p.m. (PDT) contest against the Flyers.