– Senior quarterback Kevin Lynch (Medfield, Mass.) hit junior wide receiver Willie Epps (Norwalk, Conn.) for their third touchdown connection of the day with just three seconds left, as the Southern Connecticut State University football team completed a furious fourth quarter rally to defeat American International on Saturday, 48-47.
The Owls were trailing 47-35 with 4:59 remaining and had the ball back at their own 14 after forcing a fumble with the Yellow Jackets on the verge of going up by three scores.
From there, SCSU put together a 13-play, 86-yard drive over the next 3:28, culminated by a 5-yard strike from Lynch to Epps. However, the PAT was no good.
AIC recovered the ensuing onside kick and drove to the SCSU 30, but the Owls stopped the Yellow Jackets by inches on a 4th and 2 to get one more crack at it with 1:07 remaining. Southern Connecticut then marched 70 yards in seven plays with Lynch hitting Epps on a low strike with 3 seconds left to even the score at 47-47. Christopher Hazelton (Bristol, Conn.) then added the PAT to provide the margin of victory.
Senior running back Rashaad Slowley (Mount Vernon, N.Y.) finished with 141 yards on 30 carries and scored four touchdowns to set a new SCSU single-season mark. The old record was 25, set by Rashaan Dumas in 1998. Slowley now has 26 touchdowns (24 rushing, two receiving) on the year.
Lynch finished 25-of-39 for 430 yards and three touchdowns. He finished just 13 yards shy of the single-game yardage record that he established last year.
Epps had seven catches for 118 yards and three touchdowns, while Andre Privott (Middletown, Conn.) totaled six catches for 169 yards and also had 86 return yards on the day.
Southern Connecticut improved to 6-2, 5-1 in Northeast-10 Conference play with the win, clinching their 11th straight winning season in the process. AIC is now 4-4, 3-3 in league play.
The Owls jumped out to a 7-0 lead with an effective opening drive. They needed only 2:37 to go 71 yards, and Slowley finished it off with a six-yard scoring run.
AIC scored the next 20 points of the first quarter, but the Owls closed to within six before the frame ended when Lynch found Epps on a 56-yard touchdown reception, followed by Hazelton’s PAT.
The Yellow Jackets then outscored the Owls by a 14-7 margin in the second quarter to carry a 34-21 lead into the break. Slowley’s second score of the day came with three seconds left in the half and helped cut the deficit to 13 at halftime.
Slowley’s third touchdown of the day and tying 25th of the year came early in the third quarter and got the Owls within six at 34-28. The Yellow Jackets quickly answered with a touchdown of their own, but failed on a two-point try, which kept the score at 40-28.
Slowley’s fourth of the afternoon and record-breaking 26th touchdown came with 1:15 left in the third quarter and trimmed the gap to 40-35 after three quarters.
AIC scored just seven seconds into the fourth quarter for a 12-point lead and held the double digit advantage for most of the frame before the furious Owls’ rally.
Sam-uel Johnson (Newark N.J.) had a team-high 12 tackles for the defense, while Gavin Nelson (Somerville, Mass.) and Jack Petion (Union, N.J.) added nine each.