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ON CAMPUS A look at the area college sports scene

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Magee sets NCAA rushing record as SCSU knocks off Saint Anselm

By Bill Cloutier
NEW HAVEN — Trailing Saint Anselm by double digits in the fourth quarter, the Southern Connecticut State football team was staring at 0-5.

That’s about the time SCSU running back Vaughn Magee said enough is enough.
Vaughn Magee scored 4 TDs on Saturday

Magee gained 187 of his career-high 297 yards in the fourth quarter as SCSU rallied for a 45-34 victory in a Northeast-10 Conference game at Jess Dow Field Saturday. The total was an NCAA Division II record for the most yards in a quarter.

“I thought Vaughn really carried us,” SCSU coach Rich Cavanaugh said. “When we needed the big play, Vaughn was the guy to make the play.”

Magee scored three of his four touchdowns in the fourth quarter to help Southern (1-4, 1-2 NE-10) reverse a 34-23 deficit in the final 11 minutes. He scored on runs of 25, 44 and 26 yards in the final quarter and also had Southern’s first TD of the game, an 11-yard run in the first.

“We didn’t give up,” Magee said. “We were down double digits, but we talked at the half that we’ve been in bad situations like this before. We have to keep our heads up. I just wanted to win so badly. I wasn’t giving up.”

Magee said he told the coaching staff to give him the ball down the stretch.

“I told them I believe in this line, let’s keep running,” Magee said. “The guys were telling me, ‘Come my way.’ The receivers were saying the same thing.”

Said Cavanaugh: “We figured he had the hot hand so we’d stay with him, and we really needed him in the fourth quarter. And the defense finally dug in. They were put in a hard situation, but they shut them down and got the ball back for us. Then we were able to get settled down offensively and came up with a win.”

The first half was full of miscues typical of 0-4 teams. There were dropped passes, numerous penalties, a missed field goal and a safety. Just when it looked as though the Owls would take a lead into the break after getting a 25-yard touchdown pass from Jacob Jablonski to Jayson Holt with 1:41 left, the Hawks drove the length of the field and Shea Cerio booted a 25-yard field goal to give Saint Anselm (0-5, 0-3) 17-16 advantage.

Jablonski opened the second half with a 27-yard touchdown pass to Willie Epps to give the Owls a 23-17 lead, but the game changed drastically soon after.

Making his first collegiate start, Saint Anselm freshman quarterback Andrew Murphy threw an 86-yard touchdown pass to Justin Bernard as Bernard broke away from a pair of SCSU defenders before midfield. Jablonski then immediately threw an interception and Murphy responded with a 22-yard touchdown pass to Ahkeem Williams.

Murphy finished 29 of 43 for 405 yards, just three yards short of the school record. Bernard grabbed 13 passes for a school-record 226 yards. Cerio then made it 17 straight points for the Hawks with a 29-yard field goal to start the fourth quarter.

But Southern didn’t quit, and the Hawks didn’t score again.

“It was a good lesson for the guys,” Cavanaugh said. “We always tell them you have to keep playing the game, you never know what’s going to happen.”

Said Magee: “When you’re down you can’t start pointing fingers at one another. I was telling them that we’ve been in this predicament before. We can’t get this loss.”

Jablonski finished 21-for-36 for 292 yards and two touchdowns for SCSU, which visits Pace next weekend.

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