WISE, Va. - Junior Domonique Jefferson hauled in a 25-yard pass from freshman quarterback Hogan Goodson to score the game-winning touchdown with three seconds remaining, lifting Union to a 24-17, road victory over NCAA Division II UVa-Wise on Saturday.
Tied at 17-17, the Bulldog defense came up huge to help set up the game-winning drive. Taking over on its own 28, UVa-Wise hurt itself with a delay-of-game penalty to move the ball to the UVa-Wise 23 with 1:00 on the clock. On the next play, Brandon Carr picked off the Cullen LaVoi pass at the Cavalier 39 and was tackled at the 38 with 50 seconds remaining.
After an incomplete pass, Brian Clark scampered 13 yards to move the Bulldogs to the UVa-Wise 25. Clark was stuffed for no gain on the next play, but on Second-and-10, Goodson hit Jefferson for a 25-yard scoring strike.
With the win, Union improves to 1-3 overall, while UVa-Wise falls to 0-4.
Goodman, playing in his first collegiate game, completed 16-of-34 passes for 228 yards and one touchdown. Jefferson hauled in four passes for 74 yards as did Jared Smith. Leonard Dixon led the ground game with 71 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries with Clark adding 30 yards on six attempts.
Union outgained UVa-Wise 342-283 in total offense.
LaVoi completed only 9-of-24 passes for 136 yards and a touchdown. He also threw two interceptions. Andre Dickerson led the Cavs rushing attack with 99 yards on 11 carries.
Punter Alex Sigmon came up huge for the Union, averaging 43.2 yards on his nine punts and pinning UVa-Wise inside its 20-yard line four times at the 7, 20, 6 and 1. The Cavaliers' averaging starting position was their own 27, while the Bulldogs' was their 44.
Sigmon gave Union the early lead with a 33-yard field goal with 6:53 left in the first. However, James Long returned the ensuing kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown to put the Cavs up 7-3 with 6:39 on the clock.
The second quarter was all Union. Michael Lowder intercepted a LaVoi pass at the Union 48 and returned it 34 yards to the UVa-Wise 18 to set up Union's first touchdown. Facing third-and-11 at the 19, Dixon found a seam in the defense and powered his way into the end zone. After the PAT, Union led 10-7 with 5:52 left in the half.
Right before the half, Union engineered a five-play, 54-yard scoring drive to take a 17-7 lead into the half. Goodson capped the drive with a 10-yard run with 29 seconds remaining.
UVa-Wise pulled even with Union in the third thanks to a 66-yard touchdown pass to Terrence Younger and a Paul Melshen 46-yard field goal.
Late in the fourth, Union looked as if it would win the game on a Sigmon 25-yard field goal. But the kick was blocked by Jeremiah Cooke, and the Cavaliers took over on their own 25.
The game appeared destined for overtime, but Goodson's 25-yard strike to Jefferson with three ticks left on the clock changed all that.
By the Numbers
- Union now leads the series with a 9-5 record.
- For a series known for high scoring, the last three meetings are among the four lowest-scoring contests between Union and UVa-Wise.
- For the fourth game of the season, Union won the time-of-possession battle as it held the ball for 37:22.
- Ryan Shipley posted his third double-digit tackle outing in a row as he lead Union with 10 total stops. He leads the team with 44 tackles on the year.
- The Bulldog defense was strong. In addition to forcing five Cavalier turnovers, Union did not allow UVa-Wise inside the red zone at all.
- The last time Union won at UVa-Wise was in 2008 when the Bulldogs won 37-34 on a last-second field goal.
Union returns home to face Reinhardt (Ga.) on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. for the Bulldogs' Homecoming game.