A last-minute drive by the Husson University football team in its season opener a week ago fell 3 yards short of victory.
Facing similar circumstances in a non-conference clash with Plymouth State University on Saturday afternoon, Eagles quarterback Nic Visser hit senior wide receiver Tyler Halls of Lisbon with an 18-yard touchdown pass with 14 seconds remaining to give Husson a dramatic 10-7 victory at Panther Field in Plymouth, New Hampshire.
The win levels Husson’s record at 1-1 heading into a home game Friday night against Dean College of Franklin, Massachusetts. Plymouth State falls to 0-2.
Husson gained possession of the ball at its 25-yard line with 1 minute, 58 seconds left after a Plymouth State punt and drove 75 yards in nine plays for its only touchdown of the day.
Visser completed 4 of 7 passes during the march, all to Halls for 55 yards.
A 7-yard pass from Visser to Halls gave Husson a first down at the PSU 18 with 19 seconds left, prompting a Plymouth State timeout.
Visser dropped back on the next play and threw a high-arching pass toward the 6-foot-2, 175-pound Halls near the front right corner of the end zone.
Halls, who set school records for pass receptions (71) and receiving yards (1,057) while scoring 10 touchdowns during his junior season in 2019 when he was named All-New England, rose over a defender to make the catch before landing with one foot still inbounds near the sideline for the go-ahead touchdown.
Aaron Paradis added the extra-point kick to give coach Nat Clark’s club a three-point lead.
Husson dominated the game’s statistical battle, outgaining Plymouth State 441-182 in total yardage and amassing 27 first downs compared to just 10 for the Panthers. But the Eagles managed just three points until the game’s final seconds on Paradis’ 20-yard field goal midway through the second quarter.
But the Eagles’ defense held stout until Manny Sanchez scored on a 3-yard run to cap off a seven-play, 42-yard drive and give the host Panthers a 7-3 edge midway through the fourth quarter.
Visser, who threw a drive-ending interception with 3 seconds left in Husson’s season-opening 21-14 loss to UMass Dartmouth on Sept. 4, completed 33 of 51 passes against Plymouth State for 335 yards with a touchdown and three interceptions.
Halls made 14 catches for 162 yards while senior wideout Jon Bell of Skowhegan added six catches for 80 yards.
Junior linebacker Tucker Buzzell of Lovell and Fryeburg Academy led the Husson defense with nine tackles. Sophomore defensive back Antwan Turner and senior lineman Derek Barden added six tackles each and senior linebacker Kaleb Caron of West Gardiner contributed a pass interception, a quarterback sack and five total tackles.