The Urbana University football team suffered its first loss of the season in Saturday’s 40-20 setback to No. 5 Notre Dame College at UU Stadium.
UU (3-1, 3-1 MEC) built momentum early when it scored first on the opening drive as quarterback Eddie Stockett found Rafael Floyd on a 14-yard passing play.
However, the Blue Knights went three-and-out, turned the ball over on a fumble and surrendered a blocked punt return for a TD on the next three drives, which Notre Dame capitalized on to move ahead 23-7 with 9:51 left in the second quarter.
With under five minutes before halftime, W.R. Sanders Jr. capped a 10-play drive with his seventh TD of the season, a five-yard plunge, which trimmed NDC’s lead to 23-14. The Blue Knights kept the deficit there at halftime, while going into the break with more yardage (200-167) than the Falcons.
UU did a good job containing NDC running back Jaleel McLaughlin in the opening half, allowing him just 44 yards on 13 carries. However, the nation’s leading rusher sprung loose in the second half with a 73-yard TD run and finished the game with 223 yards on 29 carries to lead the Falcons.
In the second half, NDC tacked on a field goal in the third quarter and then scored on McLaughlin’s long run to move ahead 33-14 early in the fourth. UU tried to climb back with under 10 minutes remaining, as Stockett connected with Isaiah Young for a seven-yard TD pass.
Then, UU forced a punt after a big open-field tackle from Dimitri Lee Jr. stopped the Falcons’ next drive with six minutes left to steal momentum back. But, the Blue Knights failed to convert a first down and turned the ball over on downs.
NDC sealed the game shortly after on an 11-yard TD pass with 4:18 remaining in the contest.
Stockett finished 19 of 33 for 224 yards and two TDs while being sacked just once. Jesse Bray (5 rec./78 yards) and Rafael Floyd (6 rec./70 yards) had productive outings to lead the receiving corps, while Maurice Warren Jr. led the rushing attack with 43 yards on five attempts.
Overall, the Falcons outgained the Blue Knights 443 to 327 and held the advantage in time of possession at 33:11. The Falcons went 5 for 5 on red-zone chances and only punted two times. The Blue Knights also fell victim to penalties after being flagged seven times, including six in the first half.
NDC quarterback Chris Brimm was 14 of 21 passing for 180 yards, two TDs and one interception. His only mistake was when UU freshman Micah Tillman picked him off in the third quarter. Tight end Zaire Mitchell led the Falcons with 71 receiving yards and hauled in both TD receptions.
Defensively, Chris Richardson led the Blue Knights with 19 tackles and one pass breakup. Duray Hall finished with 13 stops while Mikal Toliver had seven tackles. Wendell Wheeler picked up the only sack of the game for the Blue Knight defense late in the second quarter.
UU plays at Frostburg State (3-1) on Saturday.