So much for the Great Heist II.
A year after Saint Ambrose quarterback Eric Williamson filched what seemed a certain Saint Francis’ victory with a touchdown pass and two-point conversion with 1:45 to play, the Cougars left the sequel on the cutting room floor Saturday night. Barely.
Up 10 points with 11:49 to play, they hung on to win 38-37 when Quinn Treiber’s 41-yard field goal attempt cartwheeled wide left as the clock ran out.
"Two good football teams slugging it out," Saint Francis coach Kevin Donley said. "Told our guys it was gonna be 15 rounds toe-to-toe punching to the end, and it was that way."
It was the third straight one-point game between the No. 2 Cougars and No. 7 Fighting Bees, and in the end the Cougars got huge nights from quarterback Josh Miller and running back Antoin Campbell to get the job done.Campbellran for a career-high 194 yards and four touchdowns on a career-high 37 carries, Miller completed 25-of-37 passes for 412 yards and a score, and the Cougars’ high-volume offense ran 94 plays and piled up 651 yards.
And still, they were hanging on for dear life at the end.
In those last 11:49, Williamson -- who finished 30-of-50 for 339 yards and three scores -- took the Fighting Bees on an 11-play, 45-yard drive that ended in a 38-yard Treiber field goal, then drove them 66 yards in 13 plays to narrow it to a single point on Cole Kelly’s 2-yard run with 3:37 to play.
But a wide-open Mitch Overstreet dropped Williamson’s conversion pass in the end zone, and that was the difference. And it was sighs of relief all around for the Cougars, who twice on Saint Ambrose’s final drive dropped interceptions and were dinged for a critical pass interference penalty on fourth-and-10 that kept the drive alive.
"When they’re scoring like that, you’ve got to go out and respond and put pressure on their offense,"Campbellsaid. "It was just about fighting adversity, coming out and playing as a team and doing it together."
Saint Ambrose used just seven plays and1:45to breeze 70 yards the first time it touched the football, Ryan Byrne getting the last nine. At the12:14mark of the first, the Bees led 7-0.
But Williamson was picked twice going downfield on subsequent possessions, once by Taylor Brown and once by Kory Stamps, and the Cougars’ hurry-up offense started chipping away. After running aground twice inside the Saint Ambrose 30, they took off on a 14-play, 80-yard drive that ended withCampbellbarging in from the 7-yard line.
With13:26to play in the first half, the battle was officially joined.
A 6-play, 69-yard drive put the Fighting Bees back up 14-7 at the 6:08 mark of the second, Williamson getting the touchdown on a 14-yard pass to Overstreet. The Cougars answered with a 7-play, 73-yard drive,Campbellagain doing the honors from eight yards away at the 4:09 mark.
And after the Cougars took the lead onCampbell’s 2-yard run with 24 seconds to play in the half … Williamson’s 42-yard Hail Mary to Sam O’Donnell on the last play of the half tied it again at 21-21.
The teams swapped the lead twice more in the third before Coate’s grab in the back of the end zone put the Cougars up 38-28.