SU football stuns Hampden-Sydney 36-35 on the road
HAMPDEN-SYDNEY — Shenandoah University registered possibly the biggest football upset in school history with a 36-35 ODAC victory over Hampden-Sydney Saturday afternoon.
Shenandoah (3-4, 2-2 ODAC) erased a 19-0 first quarter deficit to stun the first-place Tigers (5-2, 3-1).
SU scored the winning points by driving 64 yards in eight plays, finishing with a Qlyl Middelijn 22-yard touchdown reception with 47 seconds remaining.
The Hornets elected to forgo the potential game-tying extra point and went for the win, giving the ball to sophomore Andrew Smith around the right end for the two-point conversion and game-winning points.
Smith, who had 152 yards rushing and another 95 receiving, was untouched as he hit the goal line.
Hampden-Sydney started on its own 39 on what proved to be the final drive of the game and advanced to the SU 46, but saw quarterback Nash Nance’s pass fall incomplete at the goal line as time expired.
Nance threatened to blow the Hornets out in the first quarter, throwing for 212 yards and two touchdowns on nine completions in 12 attempts.
However, in an omen of things to come, the Tigers failed on both two-point conversion attempts on their opening two scores.
Hampden-Sydney later missed a conventional try on its touchdown in the third quarter.
Shenandoah began its comeback with a Smith touchdown, this one from 15 yards out, at the 8:30 mark of the second quarter and then scored two touchdowns in the third to cut the deficit to 22-20.
The second touchdown, a Drew Ferguson 57-yard pass to Smith, was followed by a failed two-point attempt.
The two teams then traded touchdowns, with the Tigers taking a 35-28 lead on a Nance 25-yard run with 2:37 remaining before the Hornets drove for the game-winning score.
Hampden-Sydney outgained Shenandoah 474 to 427, with the Tigers throwing for 328 yards and the Hornets rushing for 236.
SU possessed the ball for 32:27, including 10:39 in the second quarter to help take the Hampden-Sydney offense out of sync.
Senior Tijun Findley paced the victorious defense with eight tackles. Byron Mitchell had seven solo stops and blocked a punt in the third quarter to set up the Hornets’ initial second half touchdown.
Shenandoah plays its final road game of the regular season at 1 p.m. on Saturday at Randolph-Macon.