Oct. 1, 2011
FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. - It was another tough start for the Fayetteville State Broncos.
This time, though, it was a dazzling finish, too.
Austin Turner made a 34-yard field goal in overtime, then Fayetteville State blocked Alexander Tucker's try from 23 yards to preserve a thrilling 31-28 come-from-behind victory over St. Augustine's in overtime on Saturday night at Luther "Nick" Jeralds Stadium.
"This one really feels good," said Fayetteville State coach Kenny Phillips. "We saw the makings of a football team coming together tonight. This is a great win for our team."
The Broncos (1-4, 1-1) trailed 14-0 barely 8 minutes into the game, and despite the St. Augustine's (2-3, 1-2) defense scoring two more touchdowns on interception returns in the second half, Fayetteville State still had answers.
Trailing 28-21 with under 7 minutes to go, Turner was roughed on a punt attempt, giving Fayetteville State a new set of downs from its own 30-yard line. From there, reserve quarterback Chauncey Concepcion (Fr., Charlotte, N.C.) marched the Broncos down the field in 11 plays, where running back Colon Bailey (So., Manteo, N.C.) scored on a 2-yard run on fourth-and-1 to tie things up with 3:07 to play.
St. Augustine's, which never got its offense going after a 62-yard pass play from Teddy Bacote to Jamian Smith on the game's third play from scrimmage, was stalled by the Broncos' defense, which enjoyed its best performance of the season. Facing fourth-and-30 from its own 45, St. Augustine's attempted to fake the punt, but Tucker's pass fell short, turning the ball over on downs.
Still, Fayetteville State was unable to move into field goal position before the end of regulation, setting up overtime.
The Broncos managed to pick up a first down, but stalled after that, giving Turner a chance from 34 yards. The Preseason All-CIAA kicker, whose 52-yard attempt near the end of the first half missed after it hit the left upright, calmly made the kick to give Fayetteville State the lead.
"I have to give my snapper and holder a lot of credit," said Turner. "They play offense and defense each, the whole game, and then they have to make the play for me. I can't say enough about them."
Getting their shot, the Falcons quickly moved to the 6 after rushes by Dennis Mathis, who led all players with 138 yards rushing on 27 carries. But Shane Russell lost a yard on second down, and Tyron Laughinghouse , who appeared to haul in a potential winning touchdown catch in the corner of the end zone on a fade route, was ruled out of bounds.
That brought on Tucker, who found himself under serious pressure after the snap.
"You won't find a guy in our locker room taking credit for the blocked field goal," said Phillips. "That was a team effort. That was a Fayetteville State block."
The Broncos took a 21-14 lead early in the third quarter when Concepcion found tight end Xavier Molina-Williams (Jr., West Covina, Calif.) for a 1-yard touchdown pass.
But St. Augustine's came right back with two interception returns in a span of 5 minutes, with Jamil Berry going 40 yards and Shonquez Nelson going 50 to give the Falcons a 28-21 edge with 2:47 to go in the third period.
Concepcion, who came on for Brandon Blumears-Cluff, finished with 160 passing yards and 38 rushing yards while Bailey led the Broncos with 66 yards on 22 carries and two scores. Antonio Allen (So., Raleigh, N.C.) had a game-high 66 yards receiving on five catches.
While the teams combined for 11 turnovers, Fayetteville State's defense matched everything St. Augustine's did. The Broncos also came up with two interceptions and sacked the Falcons' quarterbacks six times, with Marcos Esquivel (Sr., Kearney, Ariz.) recording his first two sacks of the season and Bryce Williams (Jr., St. Petersburg, Fla.) adding 1.5 sacks. Preseason All-American Andre Lyles (Sr. Ahoskie, N.C.) shared a team-high nine tackles with Esquivel while also picking off a pass, his second interception in as many games.
Freshman Steven Moore (Chapel Hill, N.C.), whose son Steven Childs Moore III was born earlier in the day, added 1.5 sacks and a touchdown on a fumble recovery as well. Fayetteville State held CIAA star wideout Tyron Laughinghouse to one reception for 11 yards while the Falcons were limited to just 219 total yards.
The Broncos' wild celebration on their home field was a stark contrast to the way the game began, no matter how familiar the start may have looked to a Fayetteville State team that has struggled getting out of the gates against opponents this season.
But this time the rally came before the St. Augustine's Falcons could get too far away, and it came before halftime.
The Broncos turned Falcons turnovers into almost instant points to get right back into a game in which they trailed by two touchdowns in just 8 minutes, managing to tie the game by the break and set up the second half.
The first blow came courtesy of Esquivel's second sack of the season - and the game 0 - forcing St. Augustine's Bacote to fumble. Moore scooped the ball up and raced 62 yards untouched 37 yards for the touchdown with 1:52 to go in the first quarter.
Late in the second quarter, the Broncos' defense again came up big, with Joshua Scales (So. Pinehurst, N.C.) coming up with an interception. That gave the Broncos' offense a short field, which Concepcion made even shorter with a savvy pump fake and run to bring Fayetteville State to the doorstep at the 2. Bailey scored one play later, making it 14-14.
After another fumble by Bacote, this one recovered by Marcus Witherspoon (So., Greensboro, N.C.), Fayetteville State had another scoring chance as the half wound down. Kicker Austin Turner (Sr., San Diego, Calif.) nearly broke his own record for longest field goal in school history, but his 52-yard try struck the left upright about halfway up and missed.
Fayetteville State hosts Virginia State at 1 p.m. on Saturday in a game televised by Urban Sports Entertainment.