Courtesy of Aurora University
AURORA, Illinois -- Excitement was abound on Vago Field on Saturday afternoon as the Spartan football team hosted senior day prior to taking on longtime rival Benedictine University. The closely played game would go into overtime with the Spartans winning in thrilling fashion with senior Justin Gibbons blocking a point after kick attempt to seal the win and the Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference Championship.
THE BASICS - Box score
FINAL SCORE: Aurora University 28, Benedictine University 27 - overtime
LOCATION: Aurora, Illinois - Vago Field
RECORDS: Aurora University 6-4; 5-1 NACC; Benedictine University 6-4; 4-2 NACC
WEATHER: 52 degrees and sunny
HOW IT HAPPENED
During pregame, AU recognized the 13 seniors before the last game of their collegiate careers.
AU took the opening kickoff and marched down field, controlling the clock for over eight minutes. The 13 play, 69-yard drive was capped off by Noah Allgood hitting Chris Villafuertewith a jump pass and a 7-0 lead.
Benedictine answered with a score on their first drive and the Spartans were tied 7-7 which would be the score at the end of the first quarter.
At the end of the first quarter, AU punter Travon Royal pinned BU deep in their own zone and after the Spartan defense forced three and out, BU was forced to punt out of their own end zone.
The Spartans drive continued into the second quarter and fifth play, Allgood plunged two yards for the score and AU led 14-7.
Just before the half, BU would tie the game 14-14 as the teams went into the halftime intermission.
With the Spartan defense turning BU over on downs to start the third quarter, the AU offense once again controlled the clock and marched down field. A 12 play, 74-yard drive that took over seven minutes with Allgood running in from a yard out resulted in AU taking a 21-14 lead.
AU would maintain the seven-point lead heading into the fourth quarter.
As they had done all afternoon, AU ground out another long drive in the fourth quarter. The Spartans held the ball for over nine minutes but were forced to punt.
After the punt, Benedictine answered with a touchdown drive and tied the game 21-21 with under five minutes left in the game.
Both teams had a possession to end regulation but the score remained tied 21-21 and set up the extra exciting overtime session.
AU took possession in overtime first and on the fifth play of the drive, Allgood hit Sean Mullens on a slant from 11-yards out and AU led 28-21 following the successful point after.
Benedictine followed with their possession and scored in three plays and set up for a point after kick try.
Just as the ball was snapped, Spartan senior Justin Gibbons hurdled the BU snapper and smothered the kick attempt. After the ref crew huddled to confirm the play, AU was victorious and celebrated a NACC Championship on Vago Field.
FOR THE SPARTANS
Justin Gibbons had the play of the day as he leaped over the Benedictine line on a point after try and blocked the kick attempt to secure the 28-27 win.
Noah Allgood had 228 yards of offense and accounted for all four touchdowns. He had 90 rushing yards with two rushing touchdowns and was 19-of-25 passing for 138 yards and two touchdowns.
Brendan Fulton and Kam Ryan each had seven tackles on the day.
AU controlled the ball for over 38 minutes (38:10) and was 9-of-17 on third downs.
SPARTAN STAT LEADERS
Carries: Noah Allgood (29) Connor Olson (17)
Yards: Noah Allgood (90) Connor Olson (74)
Touchdowns: Noah Allgood (2)
Passing: Noah Allgood 19-of-25 for 138 yards, two touchdowns and one interception
Catches: Sean Mullen (5) Chris Villafuerte, Lorenzo Williams, and Tyree Chaplin (3)
Yards: Sean Mullen (74)
Touchdowns: Sean Mullen and Chris Villafuerte (1)
Tackles: Brendan Fulton and Kam Ryan (7)
Sacks: Ray DiMatteo and Byron Leach (1)
BEYOND THE BOX
AU captured the program's sixth conference championship and first since 2008, the first year of the NACC.
The Spartans are now 23-16 all-time against BU.
The only turnover of the game came on the last play of regulation as AU hurled a pass down field.
The Spartans conclude the 2016 season as the Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference Co-Champions with a 6-4 overall record and 5-1 in the NACC.