Norwich captures The Mug on game's final play, tops Coast Guard 17-14
Northfield, Vt. — Clyde Tamburro’s 26-yard field goal on the final play of the game lifted Norwich University to a come-from-behind 17-14 win over the Coast Guard Academy on Saturday in the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference football opener for both teams.
Norwich, playing before a Homecoming Weekend crowd of 4,038 at Sabine Field, captured The Mug for the first time since 2004, snapping a three-game slide in the series. Norwich is 3-0, 1-0 in the conference, while spoiling an unbeaten start to the season for Coast Guard (2-1, 0-1).
Coast Guard led 7-0 at halftime and 14-7 after three quarters before Norwich scored the final 10 points of the game.
The Cadets tied it 14-14 on a 12-yard run by Aaron Conner with 7 minutes, 1 second left. On that drive, Norwich converted on fourth-and-3 from the 30 with a 17-yard pass from Matt Dunn to Ryan Reed to keep the drive alive.
Coast Guard was then forced to punt and Norwich took over at its own 49 with 4:55 remaining, setting up the game-winning drive. The Cadets also made a big play on that series, converting on second-and-24 with a 28-yard pass to Reed down to the Bears 12.
Coast Guard forced five turnovers in the game, four of those interceptions, and turned the ball over just once, but had just nine first downs in the loss.
Coast Guard senior quarterback Ryan Jones was 13 of 25 passing for 143 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Damaso Jaime led the Bears with two receptions for 87 yards, including a 76-yard touchdown catch at the 12:51 mark of the second quarter to give them the 7-0 edge.
Patrick Crowley had interceptions for Coast Guard on Norwich’s first two possessions of the second half, but the Cadets tied the game 7-7 on a 19-yard touchdown pass from Dunn to Connor Bourque and Tamburro added the extra point with 6:33 left in the third quarter. Manni Romero had a 38-yard punt return to put the ball at the Coast Guard 20.
Norwich's Cahan Quinn intercepted Jones two plays later, giving the Cadets the ball at the Bears 31, but Norwich turned the ball over when Coast Guard's Dan Dinges recovered a botched snap at the Norwich 44.
Jones then gave the Bears the lead on a 25-yard touchdown run on third-and-9 with 3:02 to play in the third. Crowley’s kick made the score 14-7.
The fourth quarter, however, belonged to Norwich.
Linebacker Eugene Bizer led the Coast Guard defense with 13 tackles, including a pair of tackles for loss, and an interception. Phillip Orlando (1.5 sacks) and Zach Lukasik (1 sack) each had nine tackles and Dinges also had an interception for the Bears.
Coast Guard will play its home opener at 1:30 next Saturday vs. Curry.
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