(SHERBROOKE, QUE.) - A pair of fourth-quarter field goals by Jarett Saumure gave the Acadia University Axemen a 27-24, come-from-behind, victory over the Bishop's University Gaiters in Atlantic University Sport football action at Coulter Field in Lennoxville, Saturday.
The rookie place kicker from Timberlea, N.S. connected on a 10-yarder with 4:51 left to tie the game, and his 21-yarder with 1:55 left put the visitors ahead, capping an Acadia comeback from 24-12 down in the third quarter.
The Axemen got off to a quick start, as they blocked the Gaiters first punt of the game, and took possession on the Bishop's 47. Four plays later, a five-yard run by Dale Wright put the visitors up 6-0 with only 1:38 gone in the contest. The teams traded field goals later in the quarter, and a late safety touch gave Acadia an 11-3 lead after 15 minutes.
Playing with the wind in the second quarter, the Gaiters offence, under rookie quarterback Stephen Casey, started to find its footing. Vincent Dubé connected on a pair of field goals to cut the margin to 11-9. The Gaiters finally found pay dirt with 53 seconds left in period, as Casey, making his first career start, scampered on a 44-yard touchdown run.
His run put the Gaiters on top, 16-11, for the first time in the game. A kickoff single by Kevin Simard and one on a missed field goal by Saumure rounded out the first half scoring, as the Gaiters took a 17-12 lead into the break.
The Gaiters extended their lead to 24-12 on their first drive of the second half, as Louis-Philippe Gregoire scored on a two-yard run. The score was set up by an 81-yard pass from Casey to Nathan Walker on the play before.
The Axemen responded on their next series, as Cody Cluett led Acadia on a seven-play, 73-yard drive, capped by a pass to Cordell Hastings, to cut the gap to 24-19. The Gaiters conceded a safety touch in the last minute of the third to take a three-point bulge into the final period.
Acadia started to take advantage of the wind midway through the final quarter, as Cluett led the Axemen on an eight-play, 62-yard drive. The Gaiters defence held, forcing Acadia into a game-tying field goal with 4:51 to go.
After forcing Bishop's into a two-and-out, the Axemen put together another six-play drive, this time capped by Saumure's 21-yard game-winner.
The Axemen outgained Bishop's 516-446, and made 31 first downs to the Gaiters' 20. Flags were flying in the game, with Acadia being whistled 15 times for 122 yards, while Bishop's took 19 penalties for 140 yards.
The Gaiters' Casey finished with 301 yards passing, as he went 17-for-31 with an interception as he earned player of the game honours for Bishop's. He was also the Gaiters' leading rusher with seven carries for 72 yards. Walker had three catches for 115 yards, and finished with 224 all-purpose yards.
For Acadia, Wright took the MVP nod as he gained 188 yards on 30 carries, and ran for a touchdown. Cluett went 24-for-38 for 291 yards with a touchdown. Hastings finished with 112 receiving yards, while Eugene McMinns led Acadia with 211 all-purpose yards.
The Gaiters' leading tackler was Callum Jasinski, who had 7.5 stops and broke up a pass. Arnaud Dandin forced a fumble, which Liam Patton returned for 25 yards. Nicolas Caragenise had his first career interception.
The Axemen defence was led by Bailey Feltmate's 8.5 tackles, while Matthew Nettle had 5.5 tackles and an interception.
Acadia (4-2) is back in action next week, when they host the StFX X-Men on Saturday afternoon. The Gaiters (1-5) will also hit the field next on Saturday, when they visit the Saint Mary's Huskies in Halifax. Kickoff at Huskies Stadium is set for 2 p.m. (3 p.m. local time).
NOTES: The Casey-to-Walker pass play was the 12th-longest in school history … The Axemen now hold a 4-2 edge in the head-to-head series … The Gaiters' Jerome Valbon was ejected late in the first quarter for rough play … Vincent Dubé is now the leading punter in the AUS with an average of 37.9 yards per kick … Stay up to date with everything Gaiters athletics at the new gaiters.ca or follow on social media using @BishopsGaiters and #GaiterNation.
Source: Bishop's Gaiters Athletics Communications