SOUTH EUCLID, Ohio – A season-high five turnovers and a blocked punt derailed the Urbana University football team’s chance of an upset win on Saturday as the Blue Knights fell, 45-14, to 17th-ranked Notre Dame College at Mueller Field in front of 1,492 fans.
After NDC (7-0, 7-0 MEC) gained the lead on a 27-yard field goal in the first quarter, UU (4-3, 3-3 MEC) responded to grab a 7-3 advantage early in the second quarter when Khalil Trotman tossed a three-yard touchdown to sophomore wideout Chad Swanson. It was the first touchdown of the season for both first-year players. The eight-play, 68-yard drive was highlighted by a 33-yard catch by Swanson down the Notre Dame sideline.
Making his first appearance at quarterback, Trotman finished 10 of 17 passing for 123 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. He also added 27 yards on the ground. Trotman had previously been playing running back and receiver before this game. Freshman Cee Jay Hale started behind center and recorded 31 rushing yards. His only pass attempt was picked off on the opening series.
With 7:46 left in the second quarter, the momentum shifted in the game when Notre Dame blocked a UU punt and then recovered another fumble. Those miscues led to 14 unanswered points for NDC and a 17-7 lead at halftime.
Then, the two teams traded touchdowns in the third quarter to put the score at 24-14 Falcons.
NDC marched down field out of the break and scored on an eight-yard pass, but then UU responded with a five-yard connection from Trotman to freshman receiver Craig Burt with 2:47 left in the third. The scoring drive was ignited by Chris Richardson’s interception at the NDC 30. It was Burt’s first career TD grab as he hauled in a team-high three receptions along with WR Shemar Hooks.
At that moment, the game seemed destined for an entertaining finish.
However, NDC struck with an 85-yard touchdown on a screen pass and then returned an interception for a touchdown right before the end of the third quarter to take a commanding 38-14 lead. The Falcons tacked on another touchdown pass with 9:49 left to seal the win.
NDC outgained UU, 442 yards to 279, with both teams rushing for over 150 yards despite both defensive units allowing less than 100 rushing yards per game. NDC held the slight edge in the ground game, 188-156.
Junior Isaiah Young led the Blue Knights with 63 yards on 17 carries to push his season rushing total to 494. Running backs David Hickey and Bailey Wallen combined for 40 yards on seven attempts.
The Falcons were led by redshirt-freshman quarterback Chris Brimm, who tossed four touchdowns on 12-of-25 passing for 254 yards and one interception. The nation’s leading rusher Jaleel McLaughlin posted 75 yards and a touchdown before exiting the game with an injury in the second quarter. McLaughlin’s lowest rushing total in a game was 123 yards prior to Saturday. Conner Henry caught three passes for 102 yards, highlighted by a 65-yard catch and run.
Defensively, linebacker Duray Hall and safety DeArmon Lewis led UU with seven tackles each. Lineman Marcus Omosule posted the team’s only tackle for loss and registered four total stops. For only the second time this season, the Blue Knights did not record a sack.
Both teams were flagged nine times for a combined 144 yards. The Blue Knights produced 15 first downs while going 4 of 11 on third-down conversions. The Falcons had 17 total first downs (6-14).
The Falcons now lead the all-time series 5-3 with five consecutive wins over the Blue Knights. UU also dropped to 1-3 in games played at Mueller Field.
UU returns home Saturday for a 1 p.m. matchup against Shepherd (4-2, 4-2 MEC). The Rams are coming off a Week 7 loss to Fairmont State at home.