Central Michigan football stuns South Alabama in final seconds
With 18 seconds left in the game, quarterback Jase Bauer took the snap looking like he was going to throw. Instead he charged up the middle for four yards and the touchdown putting Central Michigan ahead of South Alabama in the final seconds Saturday.
"I saw a little crease, I put my head down and had trust in those guys and they pushed me in the rest of the way," he said.
CMU started redshirt freshman quarterback Bert Emanuel Jr., but he was quickly relieved of his duties after two consecutive, three and outs.
When Bauer’s name was called, he rose to the occasionas the redshirt freshman accounted for all five of the Chippewas touchdowns with four coming on the ground. The biggest of which was the last that gave Central Michigan the win.
"He's(Bauer) waited his turn, what I like and what I found out last week is the game's not too big for him, he's a great competitor and I'm glad he's with us," McElwain said on Bauer.
South Alabama started the scoring early as it was able to score on each of its first two drives of the game putting CMU into a 14-0 deficit early in the contest. With the best of the two being a 35-yard pass from quarterback Carter Bradley to receiver Caullin Lacy.
Bauer got CMU into the endzone with a 15-yard scramble for his first score of the day, after a three-and-out by the Jaguar. Bauer led another scoring drive capped off by another Bauer rushing touchdown.
After South Alabama’s first two drives it wasn’t able to add any more points in the game until the end of the third quarter when they added a field goal that cut CMU’s lead to three points.
"We talked about a fast start and we didn't do that, but we won the last four minutes of the first half...and then we won the fourth quarter finally," head coach Jim McElwain said.
Junior linebacker Kyle Moretti paced the Chippewas‘ defense with 11 tackles in the game, while junior defensive back Trey Jones added nine tackles himself.
At the start of the third quarter, it looked like South Alabama was going to force CMU to punt. When on third and five, Bauer was pressured and as he escaped a near sack, he threw off his back foot while taking a big hit. he threw and connected with Jessie Prewitt III for a 70-yard touchdown extending CMU’s lead to 10.
"Luckily my receivers did great in the scramble drill, they gave me an option from there, they just gave me a chance," Bauer said on the 70-yard touchdown.
South Alabama would answer back with a long strike on third down for themselves, Bradley connected with Lacy on a 72-yard strike for the jaguars’ second long touchdown of the game.
After multiple defensive stands, South Alabama got the ball and would drive down the field and score a one-yard rushing touchdown, giving the Jaguars a 30-27 lead, with only 2:42 left in the game.
As CMU was moving the ball on its final drive of the game, it looked like the game was over as the Chippewas faced a fourth and seven. But South Alabama would commit an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on the play giving CMU a first down extending the drive.
Bauer would complete a pass to redshirt sophomore Tyson Davis for a 16-yard gain, placing the ball at the South Alabama four-yard line with less than 30-seconds to play.
Two incompletions laterm Central Michigan faced a third and goal, with 18 seconds to play. Bauer ran it up the middle for the score giving CMU a 34-30 lead with 13 seconds on the clock.
"I had total trust in our offense," Bauer said, "That's the stuff we practice every Thursday two minutes."
South Alabama would attempt a comeback, completing its first pass for a 20-yard completion, giving the Jaguars a chance at a hail mary attempt. The attempt would fall incomplete as the clock hit zero’s giving Central Michigan its second win on the season, in a final score of 34-30.
Central Michigan looks to carry its momentum into next Saturday’s contest, as the Chippewas open up MAC (Mid-American Conference) play. As it takes on Eastern Michigan with kickoff at 1:30 p.m. at Kelly/Shorts stadium.