Second Half Rally Leads to Homecoming Win for Benedictine
LISLE, Ill. - The Benedictine University football team overcame a 16-0 halftime deficit to post a 26-19 win over Aurora University on homecoming, improving to 2-0 in Northern Athletics Conference play.
Aurora University opened the scoring on the game's opening drive. The Spartans marched 80 yards following a touchback on 12 plays, nabbing the lead when quarterback Jimmy Bevell dove in from a yard out. The extra point failed and the Spartans led 6-0 with 8:52 to play in the opening quarter.
Aurora continued to move the ball on the Benedictine defense, extending the lead to 9-0 early in the second. Fernando Albarran connected on a 27-yard field goal with 14:52 remaining in the half, capping a 13-play drive.
The Spartans lost their starting quarterback to injury midway through the second quarter, but backup Noah Martin directed a one-play drive in the final minute of the half, finding Evan Hackbarth for a 48-yard strike to extend the lead to 16-0 with :58 to play in the half. Aurora amassed 255 yards of offense in the first half.
Benedictine came out of the locker room and used a big play to score for the first time. After managing just 90 yards in the entire first half, John Borsellino took an option down the sideline 61 yards on the opening play of the half. The Eagles went for two but failed to pull within a score, trailing 16-6.
The first possession of the second half for Aurora also resulted in point. Albarran drove his second field goal of the game through the uprights, kicking a 26-yarder with 7:31 to play in the third, building the lead to 19-6.
Borsellino's first chance to return a kick of the game saw the junior race 84 yards for a touchdown on the ensuing kickoff, pulling Benedictine to within 19-13. The kick return marked the first of the season for the Eagles. Aurora did not kick to Borsellino in the first half.
Following a punt, Benedictine was backed up inside their own 20, but another one-play drive allowed the Eagles to tie the game at the onset of the fourth. Quarterback Matt Brown stepped up in the pocket and threw to Brandin Austin down the sideline for an 84-yard score with 14:32 left, the longest pass play of the year. Brown and Austin previously hooked up on an 82-yard score in the season opening victory over Eureka. The extra point missed, keeping the game tied.
Austin and Brown connected again later in the quarter. Facing a 4th and 15, Brown hit Austin over the middle. Austin cut in and dragged his way into the endzone for a 32-yard touchdown to hand Benedictine the lead for the first time in the game with 7:59 to go.
Brown finished the game 13-for-21 with 183 yards and two touchdowns. Austin sanred five passes for 146 yards and both scores through the air. Borsellino totaled 98 yards on the ground on 16 carries with the long score. Trent Altieri led six double digit tacklers with 13. The Eagles totaled 312 yards in the game with an even balance of 129 on the ground and 183 through the air.
Benedictine (3-2, 2-0) travels to Wisconsin next weekend to face Concordia-Wisconsin.