Sunday, November 17, 2013

San Diego's uncrowned champions

USD parents and students rush the field after a 23-13 win over Drake. 

TORERO STADIUM (11/16/2013) An outstanding season and the careers of 21 seniors came to a bittersweet end after the San Diego Toreros (8-3) defeated the Drake Bulldogs (6-5, 5-3 PFL) 23-13 in the final game of the 2013 season.

Prior to last Thursday's disappointing announcement, a win in this game would have clinched a third straight Pioneer Football League title and the first FCS playoff bid in school history. Instead the Toreros cleaned out their lockers unrewarded for the hard work and dedication put towards a historic season.

Drake drew first blood on its opening offensive drive. Quarterback Andy Rice found Nick Rosa for a 5-yard touchdown to give the Bulldogs an early 7-0 lead in the first quarter.

The Torero offense was shut down until late in the second quarter. Senior Mason Mills connected with Brandon White who made a tough touchdown catch in the corner of the end zone. After a missed PAT, the score remained 7-6 going into halftime.

With 6:56 left in the third quarter, the Toreros took their first lead of the game, which they would never give back. Kicker David Last nailed the 35-yard field goal that put the Toreros up 9-7.

In the fourth quarter, a Mills screen pass to Bug Rivera was taken 11-yards for a touchdown. It looked as if Rivera was down at the six-yard line, but the redshirt freshman showed great balance on his way to the end zone. The highlight play gave the Toreros a 16-7 lead with 12:57 left to play.

After a key stop on 3rd and 4 by freshman cornerback Jamal Agnew (who also recorded his first career interception) forced Drake to punt, a 52-yard catch and run by senior tight end Thomas Cobbs set up a two-yard connection from Mills to Reggie Bell. The last touchdown pass of Mills' stellar USD career extended the Torero lead to 23-7 with 7:26 left to play.

Drake was down but far from out. Rice and Rosa connected again for an eight-yard touchdown. After a failed two-point conversion attempt, the Torero lead was 23-13 with 3:28 left to play.

The Bulldogs recovered the ensuing onside kick and drove down to USD's 14-yard line, but the senior led Torero defense came through with a stop to clinch the final victory of 2013.

After the game, fans, parents, and the student section rushed the field to help the team celebrate what should have been another championship season. First-year head coach Dale Lindsey received a well deserved Powerade bath before chants of the school fight song were followed by "three-peat".

1 comment:

  1. Very hard to watch Butler playing today... Should have been USD.