WASHINGTON - The Gallaudet University football team suffered a gut-wrenching 23-21 loss to Greensboro College here Saturday at Hotchkiss FIeld. Greensboro freshman kicker David Chappelear got a second chance to kick a 22-yard game-winning field goal with 23 seconds left in regulation and this time around it split the uprights and sent the Pride home winners.
Gallaudet's defense did the best it could to mount a goal-line stand in the waning seconds. GU stuffed Greensboro's first two rushing attempts and Kamryn Webster's pass to Jerry Adams was broken up right on the cusp of the end zone. That forced Greensboro to trot out its freshman kicker with an opportunity to win the game. Gallaudet tried to ice the kicker, with a timeout right before the snap, but Chappelear still got his kick off and it was blocked but the play did not count. After the timeout and with a second chance Chappelear made the kick, even after a low snap, to give the Pride (1-1) a two-point lead.
Greensboro's 12-play, 84-yard drive was riddled with Bison penalties and several pass interference calls that were declined after a large gain on the play. GU (0-2) had forced a 4th and 5 from the Gallaudet 36 but Webster (6 of 12, 184 yards, two touchdowns) completed a 33-yard pass to Ryan Wahl (four catches, 74 yards) with a Bison defender drapped on him when the flag was tossed and later declined after the clutch first down.
Gallaudet senior slot Joell Dixon (Brandywine, Md.) scored all three touchdowns for the Bison. He ran in the game's first touchdown on an 18-yard run on the opening drive in the first quarter. He later caught a 10-yard pass from sophomore quarterback Timel Benton (Columbia, S.C.) right before the half. His third and final touchdown came on a five-yard run early in the fourth quarter. Dixon finished the game with 63 all-purpose yards while Benton completed 7 of 19 passes for 152 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. Benton was GU's top rusher with 57 yards gained on 12 carries.
The Pride fumbled a kickoff at its own 10 with 28 seconds left before halftime and Gallaudet leading 14-13. The Bison got down to the four-yard line before Greensboro called a timeout with 19 ticks on the clock left. On third down, Benton forced a throw in the middle and it was intercepted by Montrell Tillman in the end zone for a touchback.
Greensboro scored the only points in the third quarter when Webster hit Hall for a 36-yard touchdown strike at the 7:21 mark.
GU regained the lead early in the fourth quarter as Dixon ran in from five yards out to cap a nine-play, 69-yard drive. The Pride were forced to punt on the ensuing drive as Gallaudet's offense took the field at its own 27 with 11:06 left in regulation. The Bison put together a long, methodical drive which featured 16 plays and covered 62 yards and chewed up eight minutes, 23 seconds of the clock. GU got into the red zone and faced fourth down at the Greensboro 11 but Benton's pass fell incomplete to turn the ball over on downs with 2:43 left in the game.
A young Bison squad continues to figure things out on the field and improvements are being made each and every snap. There were opportunities for the Bison to win the game and more teachable moments they need to learn from. GU dropped several interceptions and 15 penalties for 145 yards are unnecessary self-inflicted wounds. The Bison will need to pick themselves up, turn the page and prepare for next week's home game.