UU scores 30 points in 4th quarter to win

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INSTITUTE, W. Va. — Urbana University scored 30 points in the fourth quarter to overcome a 22-point deficit Saturday, spoiling West Virginia State’s senior day with a 36-35 triumph over the Yellow Jackets at Laken Field. UU scored the most points in a quarter since putting up 34 in a 51-6 win at Taylor (Ind.) in 2007.

Trailing 35-28, UU scored with 1:05 remaining and head coach Tyler Haines elected to go for the win. The Blue Knights rewarded the confidence and came out successful on the two-point try. Senior wideout Tre Saunders caught the final touchdown along with the PAT, becoming the school’s career TD receptions leader with his 31st TD grab.

The Blue Knight defense came up big in clutch moments, including with its only three-and-out stop of the game to set up the game-winning drive. Then, Roman Sneed’s interception on WVSU’s final drive sealed the win for UU.

UU senior quarterback Tajuan Green displayed his best performance of the season, totaling 366 yards (223 pass, 143 rush) and four touchdowns through the air. On the final scoring drive, Green scrambled on fourth-and-7 and ran 20 yards to the WVSU 15 to set up the game-winning TD pass two plays later. Green tied his season high of four passing touchdowns and set a career high in rushing yards.

Three different receivers caught a touchdown, including a pair of TD grabs for Rodell Rahmaan (3 rec, 62 yds). The sophomore leads UU with a career-high 11 TD catches this season following a 27-yard grab and a 10-yard TD. Saunders finished with a team-high five receptions for 63 yards while junior Shemar Hooks scored on a 25-yard catch and led the team with 73 receiving yards on four catches.

WVSU senior wideout Quinton Gray caught three touchdowns and racked up 13 receptions for 134 yards. Matt Kinnick tossed five touchdowns and threw for 307 yards, but UU picked him off twice and recovered a fumble on a bad snap.

Kinnick engineered a 17-play drive that spanned over eight minutes at the end of the third quarter, capping the march with a three-yard touchdown pass that put WVSU (5-5) ahead 28-6 going into the fourth quarter. UU then outscored the hosts 30-7 and held possession for over nine minutes in the final period.

Freshman linebacker L.A. Kelly led UU with 10 total tackles while senior lineman Clayton Bullard totaled nine stops. Sophomore cornerback Richie Carpenter Jr. recorded an interception and two pass breakups. In his first career start, freshman lineman Marcus Omosule recorded UU’s only sack in the first quarter.

UU (4-6) captured its fourth win, marking its highest win total since 2013 (7-4).

Stat of the game:

UU rushed for 209 yards, led by Green’s career-high 143, and totaled a season-high 432 yards of total offense. UU improved to 18-3 when rushing for over 200 yards during the Division II era (2010).

Turning point:

UU got the rally started when it drove 94 yards on nine plays to score in response to WVSU’s 22-point lead. The Blue Knights had five plays of 10 or more yards on the drive which was capped by Rahmaan’s 27-yard TD grab. Then, Onajai Davenport recovered a fumble on the next drive at the WVSU 46 and UU scored 1:34 later to quickly get back within a touchdown, 28-21, with 10:45 remaining.

UU closes out the season on Saturday at home against Concord (2-8, 1-8 MEC). Kickoff is slated for 1 p.m. at UU Stadium.

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