Tigers Win 119th Edition of "The Game" to Claim ODAC Title

Tigers Win 119th Edition of "The Game" to Claim ODAC Title

ASHLAND, Va. --- The Hampden-Sydney football team won its eighth ODAC title and fourth since 2007 after the Tigers defeated arch-rival Randolph-Macon, 28-26, in a thrilling edition of 'The Game.' With the win, the Tigers improve their advantage in the 120-year series to 61-47-11.  

The Tigers wrap up their regular season at 8-2 overall and 6-1 in the ODAC; they also punch their ticket to the 2013 NCAA Division III Football Championship. Hampden-Sydney will find out its opponent during the DIII selection show, which will be Sunday, November 17 at 6:00 pm and can be viewed at www.ncaa.com.

The 2013 version of 'The Game' did not disappoint, as the packed stadium was treated to a back-and-forth thriller that went down to the wire. A Randolph-Macon touchdown with 95 seconds to play pulled the Jackets within two, but Hampden-Sydney made a crucial goal-line stand to stop the two-point conversion and hold the lead.

The Tigers trailed just once in the game, and they took the first lead of the game, marching down the field on their opening drive to set a tone. Junior quarterback Nash Nance capped off an eight-play, 57-yard drive by running for a 10-yard score.

Both defenses then stepped up, forcing three-and-outs, before the Jackets tied the game on a John Byrd one-yard run.

Hampden-Sydney responded with a 91-yard scoring drive. Nance completed 5-of-6 passes, including a 39-yard strike to Michael Mey, before running for a six-yard score to reclaim the lead.

Randolph-Macon came back in the second quarter and tied the game at 14-14 on a 66-yard touchdown run from Will McGhee.

The Jackets followed that scoring drive up with another long strike as Zac Naccarato hit Greg Petrohovich for a 46-yard touchdown. After a failed PAT, Randolph-Macon led 20-14.

The lead, however, only lasted five plays as Nance hit Holton Walker for a 24-yard touchdown.

The Tigers had the chance to extend the lead before halftime, but were picked off in the end zone.

The Hampden-Sydney defense started the second half on its front foot, ending the first four Yellow Jacket drives early. Shreve Rohle picked off Naccarato on the opening drive of the half, the Tigers forced a turnover-on-downs, they withstood a missed field goal, and then forced a three-and-out.

On the offensive side, Nance ran in for his third rushing touchdown of the day to put the Tigers up 28-20 with just 4:35 to play.

Randolph-Macon strung together a six minute scoring drive that landed McGhee in the end zone with 1:35 to play. Hampden-Sydney then stopped McGhee on the two-point conversion, but was called for a facemask and gave the Jackets another chance. The Tiger defense held strong again and tackled McGhee before he reached the goal line.

Hampden-Sydney recovered the onsides kick, but came up just short of running out the clock. The Tigers were able to use all but two seconds of the clock and gave the Jackets the ball back with one more shot from the Hampden-Sydney 49-yard line. Bubby Morgan tossed the hail mary, but it was batted down, sealing the Tigers' ODAC Championship.

On the day, Hampden-Sydney tallied 414 yards of offense on 323 passing and 91 rushing. Nance was 23-of-34 for 323 yards, one touchdown, and three interceptions. He also ran 18 times for 56 yards and three touchdowns. Walker recorded a game-high 152 yards and a touchdown on 10 catches. Mey hauled in four passes for 95 yards.

Defensively, the Tigers allowed 327 yards on 213 rushing and 114 passing. Tyler Ikwild had 17 tackles. Josh Doggett and Nick Martin had 14 and 11 tackles, respectively, while Martin added an interception.

McGhee led Randolph-Macon's offense with 198 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 38 carries.  He finished the regular season leading the ODAC with 1,676 rushing yards, the second-highest single-season total in ODAC history --- just 54 yards shy of Sandy Rogers' (Emory & Henry, 1986) conference standard.

The ODAC Champion Tigers will find out their NCAA first round opponent on Sunday, November 17, at 6:00 pm. Play in the 2013 NCAA Division III Football Championship on Saturday, November 23.

--- This release is courtesy of the Hampden-Sydney College sports information department. ---