Playing for a chance to stay alive in the NCAA Division II football playoff picture, regionally-ranked Urbana University fell to No. 25 Truman State University, 24-14, in the regular season finale and senior day at UU Stadium on Saturday.
UU closes the season at 7-4 overall and 7-3 in the MEC for its first winning season in six years, tying the program’s best record since joining the Mountain East Conference in 2013. Truman finishes with a 9-2 record.
UU senior quarterback Izzy Sanders (19-36, 286 yards, 2 TD, INT) made his first career start and tossed a pair of touchdowns to senior wideout Jesse Bray, who recorded a career-best 126 receiving yards on five catches. Junior running back W.R. Sanders Jr. led with 47 yards on just three carries and had two receptions for 27 yards.
Izzy Sanders’ 42-yard strike to Bray near the end of the third quarter made it a six-point game, 13-7.
However, the Bulldogs responded by taking nearly seven minutes off the clock on a drive to move back in front by two scores, and then Truman added a field goal in the fourth for a 24-7 lead.
The second TD catch by Bray came in the final seconds.
UU missed on three opportunities in Truman territory during the first half with a blocked field goal, crucial holding penalty and an interception. The Bulldogs, who took a 3-0 lead after one quarter, capitalized on the takeaway with a 34-yard TD pass with two minutes left until halftime. UU didn’t force a turnover for the second straight week.
Truman ran the ball 52 times on 73 total plays and outgained UU, 286-94, on the ground.
Total yardage was about even as UU threw for nearly 300 yards, but the Bulldogs won the clock battle by holding possession for 38 minutes. The Blue Knights, who had the ball for just 22 minutes, were undefeated this season when recording a time of possession of over 30 minutes.
TSU running back Jordan Salima had 216 yards on 32 carries, averaging 6.8 yards per rush, with one score. Quarterback Jaden Barr finished 11-of-21 passing for 111 yards and one touchdown.
UU had several defensive standouts, led by LA Kelly with 15 total tackles and Desdamon Lake recording 13 (10 solo). Four-year starters and former high-school teammates Onajai Davenport and Chris Richardson had solid outings in their final game with 11 and 10 stops, respectively. Richardson flew all around the field and knocked down five passes in coverage. Sherman Watson also had a pair of pass breakups with five tackles in his final game.
UU remains winless against ranked teams in the school’s D-II era (0-11) and suffered its first non-conference loss under coach Haines (4-1). The last Blue Knight victory against a ranked opponent came in 2007.