JACKSONVILLE – Five turnovers sealed the fate of the MacMurray College football team in a 35-25 loss to Rockford University on Saturday afternoon. With the loss, it is the second straight season the Highlanders have dropped their opener to the Regents.
MacMurray falls to 0-1 while Rockford begins 2019 1-0.
Junior quarterback Bobby Tedesco was 22 of 35 for 215 yards and one touchdown, while also adding 130 yards and a touchdown with his legs.
Junior Ahmad Washington turned in a career performance, recording 15 tackles. Both Corben Edwards and Chris Williams finished with 11 tackles.
HOW IT HAPPENED
After recovering a Highlander fumble, Rockford started their drive at their own 46-yard line. With 5:02 remaining in the first quarter, RU's LaVar Johnson put the visitors on the board first with a 1-yard run. Columbus Bradberry blocked the PAT, as the Regents held a slim 6-0 early lead.
MacMurray got on the board in the second quarter after a 7-play, 80-yard drive was capped off by a 21-yard field goal from freshman Luke DesNoyers.
On their next drive, the Highlanders picked up right where they left off, using a 12-play 59-yard drive to take a 10-6 lead. Ethan Downs powered through the Rockford defense for a 2-yard score before DesNoyers's PAT ricocheted off the right upright and through for a successful kick.
Minutes before halftime, Rockford received great field position, starting at MacMurray's 44-yard line. Just 41 seconds later, the Regents took the lead on a 24-yard touchdown pass. The 13-10 score held into halftime.
Midway through the third quarter, Tedesco found the end zone with a 3-yard rush, vaulting MacMurray back in front. Another good PAT by DesNoyers pushed Mac ahead, 17-13, completing a 79-yard drive.
With four minutes remaining in the third, MacMurray forced Rockford to punt. On the punt, the bouncing ball hit a MacMurray player before being recovered by the Regents. Rockford continued their drive at the Highlander 26 and scored on the next play to take a 20-17 lead.
Rockford added a touchdown on their first drive of the final quarter, inflating the lead to 10 points. The Highlanders responded on the ensuing drive, which started with a 40-yard kickoff return by Demetrius Curry. Four plays later, Tedesco found a leaping Curry, who hauled in a 20-yard TD pass. Tedesco ran the ball in for the 2-point conversion, trimming the Rockford lead to 27-25 with 6:35 on the clock.
Once more, Rockford answered at the other end. Following a touchdown, MacMurray blocked the PAT, but the ball rolled to a Rockford player, who threw to a wide-open receiver for an unconventional 2-point conversion, giving the visitors a 10-point cushion.
MacMurray final drive commenced in an interception, icing the game for the Regents.
BEYOND THE BOX SCORE
MacMurray outgained the Regents, 377-359, but were significantly edged in time of possession, as Rockford held the ball for almost 13 minutes longer.
The Highlanders fall to 2-4 all-time against Rockford.
MacMurray faces a tough test next week against the defending NACC champion, Eureka. Kickoff against the Red Devils is slated for 6 p.m. in Eureka.