The second injury in as many weeks in the secondary stung what was largely a solid defensive effort by the University of Jamestown football team on Saturday, Oct. 12, in Crete, Nebraska.
Senior cornerback Troy Stuard was assisted off the field with Doane University driving to the UJ 18-yard line with 5 minutes, 32 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter and the Jimmies clinging to a 21-14 lead. The Tigers would cap a five-play, 60-yard drive with a 14-yard touchdown pass from Drake Davidson to Levi Sudbeck, as the home team would score 21 total points in the fourth quarter and 14 over the final 4:48.
The Tigers defeated the Jimmies 28-14. Jamestown (1-5, 1-4 GPAC) limited Doane (4-3, 4-1) to a paltry 18 yards rushing in the game and will travel to play No. 1-ranked Morningside College (5-0, 4-0) on Oct. 19 in Sioux City, Iowa.
Stuard was still being evaluated after the game.
"It happens down in the red zone and once you have an injury like that it's hard to know where the guys' heads are going to be," said Jamestown head coach Brian Mistro. "It's a blow mentally and camaraderie-wise, and things like that, but we need to be stronger."
Stuard wasn't the only UJ player lost on Saturday. Sophomore linebacker Colin Kok, playing on special teams, was also helped off the field in the second quarter. The Jimmies had already lost junior starting safety Ross Monson to a season-ending injury in last week's 13-10 victory over Concordia University (Neb.) in Jamestown.
"You gotta rally around those guys," Mistro said. "That's something that I thought we did, and we didn't do in the last four minutes."
The Jimmies came out swinging after starting the more than eight-hour trip to Crete on Thursday to beat the local weekend blizzard. A 9-yard TD run by sophomore receiver Garrett Mitchell and a TD plunge of 1 yard by senior quarterback Jordan Mann resolved scoring drives of 91 and 68 yards, respectively, as UJ commanded a 14-0 lead with 9:47 remaining in the first half.
UJ junior running back Tanner Mathern churned out 65 of his game-high 81 rushing yards before halftime. Jamestown also denied Doane its first three attempts at third down, which included a Gavin Pancirov sack of Davidson for a loss of 8 yards.
But the Tigers would get on the scoreboard with 1:27 left in the half, with Sudbeck hauling in a 24-yard TD pass from Davidson. The scoring drive was aided by a pair of UJ 15-yard personal fouls, one for roughing the passer and another for defensive pass interference. Jamestown led 14-7 at the break.
Sophomore linebacker Brooks Canfield would record Jamestown's third of four sacks on the afternoon during Doane's opening drive of the third quarter, which resulted in a turnover on downs on the UJ 29. A scoreless third quarter ended with Doane's Izaiah Celestine returning an Izaak Myles punt to the UJ 40, and three plays later Davidson would hook up with Celestine through the air for an 11-yard TD to tie the game at 14-14.
Davidson finished the game completing 21 of 38 pass attempts for 268 yards and three touchdowns.
"I thought we played better, there's no question about it," Mistro said. "But, again, we didn't get any turnovers this week and that was a big emphasis on something that we wanted. And then the special teams' game was disappointing. We can't punt the ball 50 yards and give up a 30-yard return."
Back-to-back three-and-outs by both offenses followed before UJ sophomore Barry Williams Jr. burned the Doane defense. Mann connected with the honorable mention All-GPAC receiver for a 55-yard scoring pitch and catch to put the Jimmies back out front 21-14 with 6:13 remaining in the game.
But Stuard was lost as the Tigers tied the score on their next possession, and another three-and-out by UJ gave the Tigers the football own their own 48 with 3:13 to play. Jamaine Derogene scored the game-winning touchdown with 8 seconds on the clock, capping a seven-play drive by rushing into the end zone from 8 yards out.
Jamestown posted 144 yards rushing and 276 yards of total offense. Mitchell hauled in game-high seven catches for 49 yards. Mann completed 11 of 18 pass attempts for 121 yards.
"After the half (Doane) really started to load the box up a little bit and their DBs are athletic and long, and we couldn't get off routes," Mistro said. "So when they're playing some man-concept stuff and someone's not open it's hard to pull the trigger, and then we're pulling the ball down and we're not completing passes and you've gotta do those things when they're putting nine in the box."
Morningside, the defending NAIA national champion, cruised 49-14 at Briar Cliff on Saturday.
"Morningside has been a really good team for a long time," Mistro said. "We're going to have our hands full. But, again, it's on us. We gotta make sure we're locked in on what we need to do."
Doane University 28, University of Jamestown 21
UJ 7 7 0 7 -- 21
DU 0 7 0 21 -- 28
UJ: Garrett Mitchell 9 run (Sean Fenelon kick), 6:30.
UJ: Jordan Mann 1 run (Fenelon kick), 9:47.
DU: Levi Sudbeck 24 pass from Drake Davidson (Bryce Cooney kick), 1:27.
DU: Izaiah Celestine 11 pass from Davidson (Cooney kick), 13:48.
UJ: Barry Williams 55 pass from Mann (Fenelon kick), 6:13.
DU: Sudbeck 14 pass from Davidson (Cooney kick), 4:48.
DU: Jamaine Derogene 8 run (Cooney kick), :08.
TOTAL YARDS: J, 276 (144 rushing). D, 286 (18 rushing).
PASSING: UJ, Mann 11-18-0 121, Cade Torgerson 2-3-0, 11. DU, Davidson 21-38-0 268.
RUSHING: UJ, Tanner Mathern 14-81, Jimmy Hatch 8-30, Josiah Cage 6-18, Mann 12-11, Garrett Mitchell 1-9, Torgerson 1-(-1), Marcus Giles 1-(-2), Barry Williams Jr. 1-(-2). DU, Derogene 11-30, Jacobi White 2-(-1), Davidson 6-(-11).
RECEIVING: UJ, Mitchell 7-49, Williams 4-73, Liam Huseby 1-11, Zeb Taber 1-10. DU, Celestine 6-109, Sudbeck 5-82, Adam Wasserman 4-39, Brandon Gannon 3-19, White 1-12, Derogene 1-4, Josh Baker 1-3.
TACKLES LEADERS: UJ, Levi Scribner 11, Troy Stuard 4, Aaron Mack 4. DU, Connor O'Toole 10, Anthony Malone 8, Riley Homolka 8, Ryan Schuster 7.
SACKS: UJ, Gavin Pancirov 1, Brooks Canfield 1, Marco Taddia 1, Mitchell Swartz 0.5, Marcelo Sanchez 0.5. DU, Homolka 2, Wyatt Bodfield 2, Joshua Delgado 1.
FORCED FUMBLES: DU, Homolka 1.
RECORDS: Doane 4-3, 4-1 GPAC. Jamestown 1-6, 1-4.