GREENVILLE, Pa. – Senior Scott Andrews did it again; he ended the 2011 season with an 18-yard field goal with 2.9 seconds left on the clock to lift Juniata College football to a 17-16 win over Susquehanna University, and he started the 2012 season with another field goal that gave the Eagles a 16-13 lead and the win over Thiel College on Saturday afternoon in Greenville, Pa.
Andrews hit his field goal with 4:56 left on the clock, leaving plenty of time for Thiel (0-1) to pull out a field goal at least to tie, but Juniata (1-0) defense wasn't going to allow anything to jeopardize the lead. The Eagles defense permitted Thiel to advance just 14 yards following the game-winning field goal, before letting the time slip away in the Tomcat's final drive of the game that lasted just 27 seconds and moved 40 yards and into Juniata's territory.
Not only was the football team winning a sweet victory, as it broke its nine season-opener loss streak, but the "w" also completed Saturday's three sport sweep for Juniata Athletics over the Tomcats. Men's soccer, 3-1, and women's soccer, 3-0, each won against Thiel at Winton Hill Field earlier in the day. "It's just a good day on College Hill, " remarked Head Coach Tim Launtz about the sweep.
"We as a team weren't aware that we haven't opened with a win since 2002, but the fact that we were down at half and then came back to win; it just shows what we're capable of. It's just a very good team win," said Launtz.
After a seven play Juniata drive to open the game, that included a Ward Udinski (Doylestown, Pa./Central Bucks West) pass to Dominic Bornman (Mechanicsburg, Pa./Cumberland Valley) good for 19 yards followed by a game-high 30 yard rush by Zach McCaully (Bellwood, Pa./Bellwood-Antis), Andrews broke open the game's scoring at 12:45 in the first quarter with a 28-yard field goal to put the Eagles up by three.
The Eagles defense came out strong, only allowing Thiel to move nine yards in its first possession, but eventually allowed Thiel to complete 13 plays and move 76 yards to score the first touchdown of the game to open the second quarter.
But Juniata certainly wasn't going to give up and responded immediately with a nine-play 58-yard drive that lasted 4:28 that included back-to-back first downs from a Coleman Rigg (Bellefonte, Pa./Bellefonte) 16-yard reception and a McCaulley 10-yard rush. Juniata again reached field goal range, and this time took the pressure off Andrews and gave sophomore Ken Kysor (Port Allegheny, Pa./Port Allegheny) his opportunity, and Kysor certainly capitalized. Kysor hit a 26-yard field goal to bring the game to within just one point.
In the first half alone Juniata saw more offensive production that in six of Juniata's 2011 complete games with 194 yards. The Eagles had also completed 10 first downs as compared to Thiel's six and possessed the ball for nearly seven more minutes than the Tomcats.
Thiel again upped-the-ante with another touchdown at the 10:36 mark in the third quarter, but a missed extra-point left Juniata with the opportunity to tie the game with a touchdown, and five minutes later that's just what Juniata did.
The Eagles started on the Juniata 30 and moved up with an Udinski six-yard rush followed by a Rigg 14-yard reception. Two plays later, Udinski completed another pass to Colton Myers (State College, Pa./State College Area) good for 49 yards, the longest pass play of the day for either team, to take Juniata to first and goal. Udinski took the pigskin the next play and crossed the goal line for Juniata's first touchdown of the season. Andrews completed the touchdown with a successful extra point attempt.
Udinski finished the day completing 16-of-28 passes for 212 yards as part of Juniata's 349 total offensive yards, the most offense Juniata has produced in a game since its 56-21 loss to Gettysburg College in 2010.
"Ward demonstrated that he has really benefited from a year of experience and he is a leader of this football team. We had a very solid performance from Ward and the entire offense," said Launtz.
McCaulley was Juniata's leading rusher with 120 net yards, and Bornman was the top receiver with 88 accumulated yards. Rigg was second in receptions with 30 and Udinski was second in rushing with 28 yards.
On defense, sophomore Ethan Wilt (Altoona, Pa./Altoona Area) led Juniata is total tackles with 12 (10 solo), while both Kevin Gorman (Waverly, N.Y./Waverly Central) (five solo) and Noah Walstrom (Altoona, Pa./Altoona Area) (three solo) recorded seven.
"I thought that defensively we came up with some huge plays and we had three takeaways and we didn't give up the ball offensively. We did the things that a team needs to do to win," Launtz commented.
Juniata will debut on Goodman Field at Knox Stadium's synthetic turf on Saturday, September 8, against Dickinson College at 1:00 p.m.