Jarnagin Lead Eagles Rally Over Eureka, 36-28
LISLE, IL – The Benedictine University football team dug out of a 21-3 first half deficit to record a 38-28 comeback victory over Eureka College in the home opener.
Eureka grabbed early momentum by returning the opening kick for a touchdown, but the result was called back due to a penalty. The visitors did respond with a seven-play drive to score on a 30-yard touchdown and open a 7-0 lead. Benedictine drove deep onto the Eureka side but an interception stalled their first drive.
Benedictine was able to get on the board after forcing a three-and-out. Tanner Mateus kicked a 30-yard field goal with 3:48 left in the first to make the score 7-3. Eureka scored on their next two possessions to take a 21-3 advantage with 6:36 left in the half. Benedictine marched down the field for a touchdown with 3:17 remaining in the half when Alex Lopez snagged a five-yard pass from Tyler Jarnagin. Five different receivers were targeted on the eight-play drive that covered 75 yards and Benedictine went into the half down 21-10.
Receiving the ball to begin the second half, Benedictine proceeded to embark on a 14-play drive, covering 66 yards to pull within 21-17. Lopez snared his second touchdown of the game, reeling in a nine-yard score from Jarnagin with 10:30 left in the third. The defense rose to the challenge and forced a three-and-out to set up the go-ahead score. Lopez caught a 46-yard pass as part of a drive that resulted in a six-yard touchdown from Darries Rainey, making the score 24-21.
Benedictine continued to move the ball, opening a 31-21 advantage with a 13-play drive spanning 78 yards. Rainey dove in from a yard out to finish the lengthy march downfield. Eureka answered with a nine-play drive to pull within striking distance again at 31-28 with 7:56 left in the game. Eureka had the ball back with 5:42 to play but the defense forced a three-and-out. Benedictine left no doubt by gambling on a third-and-nine as Jarnagin connected with Calin Gurau for a 27-yard touchdown with 2:55 left in the game to seal the win. Cy Taylor ensured the victory with a late interception.
Benedictine held the ball for 31:35 of the contest and gained 399 yards of offense. Jarnagin completed 29 passes for 299 yards and three touchdowns. Deandre Holliday caught a career high 11 passes. Lopez notched eight more grabs, accounting for 134 yards a pair of touchdowns. Gurau totaled 94 yards on seven grabs. Rainey collected 84 yards on the ground with two scores on 19 carries.
Benedictine (2-0, 2-0 NACC) hosts Aurora at 1:00 p.m. next Saturday for the South Division title.
By Tim Calderwood, Benedictine Athletic Staff