WASHINGTON – Trailing 21-6 with just 3:30 to play, The Catholic University of America football team pulled off an improbable comeback to defeat McDaniel in overtime, 28-21. The victory gives Bill Bachman his first career head coaching win in his debut game.
The Cardinals scored the first touchdown of the game on a 19-yard run by junior quarterback Jorge Pola, but it was all McDaniel from there as they took a 14-6 lead into the break and scored early in the fourth as they appeared to take control for good.
Momentum swung in Catholic's way on with just 3:26 to go however as senior Justin Paige blocked a punt deep in the Green Terror's zone and sophomore Jake Marcelino recovered to bring the Cards within eight.
From there it was all Lucas Morley.
Catholic drove 76-yards on eight plays in the final two minutes, setting up a 17-yard corner-endzone strike from Pola to Morley. The Cardinals' signal-caller went right back to his All-Region receiver on the must-have two-point conversion, as Morley pulled the ball away from a close defender to tie force overtime.
The Cards got the ball first in overtime and once again it was the Morley-Pola connection that saved the day for Catholic as the three-yard touchdown and ensuing point-after put CUA up for good.
The Cardinal defense, which held McDaniel to only 212 yards through the air and forced nine punts, came up big once again on McDaniel OT turn, holding on four-straight plays to earn the victory.
Morley finished the day with six catches for 43 yards, two touchdowns and a conversion, with all but one catch coming in the second half.
Pola, who started his first career game, completed 23 passes for 246 yards and added a team-high 70 yards on the ground, totaling three touchdowns.
Defensively, the cornerback duo of Paige and Marcelino made life difficult on McDaniel receivers all day. Paige and senior Mark Dimatteo also chipped in interceptions.
All-ODAC linebacker Ross Sanford posted a team-high 10 tackles, adding a sack and 1.5 tackles for loss. Fellow senior Dave Zarkoski registered six solo stops and nine total tackles to go along with a pass breakup.
Catholic will look to bring their momentum away from Washington, D.C., as they being a three-game road trip starting next Saturday at Rochester.
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