OBERLIN, Ohio -- In what has become a familiar occurrence, the Hiram College football team used another late game score to record a 24-21 win over Oberlin on Saturday afternoon in its season finale.
The Terriers end the season with a 4-6 overall record and 4-5 mark in the NCAC, while Yoemen conclude 2015 at 3-7, 3-6.
The victory is Hiram's third come-from-behind win in the last five weeks.
On October 17, Hiram used a last second field goal to top Ohio Wesleyan 32-31. Last week, the Terriers got a 52-yard touchdown with just over a minute left stun Wooster 40-36. But Saturday have been the most exciting of all.
Trailing 21-16 with just over two minutes remaining, junior Nic Paolo (Chardon, Ohio/Harding) hit senior Nate Eaton(South Euclid, Ohio/Walnut Ridge) for a 98-yard touchdown strike to give the Terriers the lead. Hiram would convert on the two-point conversion to take a 24-21 lead with 2:20 left to play. The 98-yard pass play is the longest in school history, bettering the record of 88-yards set earlier this season.
Oberlin looked to mount a comeback drove of its own and got the ball all the way down to the Hiram 21 yardline. A desperation pass with six seconds left into the endzone fell incomplete to give the Terriers the dramatic win.
Hiram converted a 29-yard field goal to jump out to a 3-0 lead at the 8:55 mark of the first quarter.
From there, it was all Oberlin, as the Yeomen scored 21 straight points to build a 21-3 lead with 5:08 left in the third. But Hiram would counter with the final 21 points of the game for the thrilling victory.
The Terrier comeback began at the 2:26 mark of the third quarter as Hiram went on a five-play, 46-yard drive that ended with Paolo finding Eaton for a nine-yard score, trimming the Yeomen's lead to 21-10.
Paolo scored on a three-yard run with 10:32 to go, capping a five-play 82-yard drive. Hiram's two-point conversion attempt failed, making the score 21-16. A key 65-yard reception by senior Britton Lewis (Tampa, Fla./Paul R. Wharton) helped set up the touchdown.
The teams would trade possessions before Oberlin was forced to punt and pinned the Terriers at their own two yardline with 2:33 remaining. It took just one play for Hiram to gain the lead as Eaton raced past his defender to get open and Paolo hit him in stride for the game winning touchdown.
Paolo finished with 297 yards passing and two touchdowns, while adding 23 yards on the ground.
Eaton made his final game in a Hiram uniform one to remember, finishing with seven catches for a career-high 184 yards and two touchdowns. Lewis finished with 77 yards receiving.
Sophomore Danny Robinson (Labelle, Fla./Labelle) added 80 yards rushing.
On defense, junior Dan Hernandez (San Diego, Calif./Castle Park) registered a career-best 14 tackles, including three for a loss.
The Terriers outgained Oberlin 427-274, limiting the Yeomen to just 38 yards rushing.
The nine wins over the last two season for Hiram are the most for the program since the 1987 and 1988 season, when the program won 14 games in a two year span.