In football, there’s nothing smaller than extra points. And there’s nothing bigger than extra points.
Minot State converted just two of four PATs Saturday while U-Mary went 1-for-3. The result was a 27-19 Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference win by the previously winless Beavers over the winless Marauders.
Taylor Maloney’s run on a fake PAT kick was the difference as Minot State handed U-Mary its ninth straight loss. Maloney, the holder, took the ball in for a 20-19 lead early in the fourth quarter. The Beavers added a meaningless score in the last minute.
“We had two blocked so we needed to do something different,” Minot State coach Mike Aldrich said. “But I wanted to wait to use it until we could take the lead.”
Senior running back Larry Overstreet ran for 187 yards and three scores. He had TD runs of 19, 4 and 76 yards, the latter an icing TD that was meant to be just a dive to run out the clock. But with no timeouts, the only chance U-Mary had was to let him score to get the ball back down eight points.
Linebacker Nikko Walker intercepted Logan Nelson to seal the win.
The key play in the game, however, was a fumble on the exchange by U-Mary on its own 4-yard line, leading 19-12 in the fourth quarter.
Overstreet scored on the next play and Maloney ran in the two-pointer.
“The difference in the game was the turnover, it’s very simple,” U-Mary coach Josh Kotelnicki said. “We had one on our own (four) yard line. We fumble and they get eight points off of it.”
Sophomore quarterback Garrett Weissinger started for the first time for U-Mary (0-1 North, 0-5 overall) and led the Marauders in rushing with 77 yards on 11 carries. As a team, U-Mary gained 317 yards on 52 attempts.
“He’s been playing better the last nine days,” Kotelnicki said. “When one of our quarterbacks decides he’s going to be the guy, we love to agree with that person.”
Weissinger said his game, which included a 24-yard TD run, was hollow without the win.
“It’s not how I do as a player,” Weissinger said. “It’s great to be in the end zone, but we need to be playing as a team and be playing as one. We’re close.”
The Marauders controlled the first quarter on their way to a 12-0 lead. They ran 24 plays to just six by the Beavers.
U-Mary went up 6-0 on DeShawn Gay’s 9-yard run with 10:51 left in the quarter. Gay’s run capped a nine-play, 75-yard drive. Cody Goetz, kicking for the first time in place of Aaron Brennan, missed the PAT.
After forcing a three-and-out, the Marauders went on the march again. This time, they covered 77 yards in 15 plays and scored on Brennan Doan’s 7-yard run around left end with 1:58 to play in the quarter. Doan had two catches for 17 yards and ran four times for 39 yards.
But the hold was botched on the PAT, leaving U-Mary up 12-0.
Fortunately for the Marauders, Minot State’s kicking game was equally bad.
The Beavers (1-0, 1-4) had a nine-play, 90-yard drive to get within a score on quarterback Zac Cunha’s 29-yard keeper. The defense bit on the fake and Cunha ran all alone into the end zone. Tyler Tulare's PAT was blocked by Jacob Parker.
Cunha passed for 65 yards and ran for 46.
Parker blocked a second PAT after the Beavers scored on Oversteet’s 19-yard run with just 41 seconds left in the second quarter. The 61-yard drive ate up 5:09 and left the game tied 12-12 at half.
Weissinger almost single-handedly gave U-Mary a 19-12 lead in the third quarter. He ran three times for 53 yards on a four-play drive and scored on a 24-yard run. Brennan added the PAT.
Late in the game, U-Mary was without a timeout and needed to get the ball back. Overstreet took a handoff and slowly ran through the line where the Marauders put up a slight defense. Instead of a tackle and the clock running out, Overstreet kept going.
“I was pretty surprised when the kid kept running,” Kotelnicki said. “We aren’t patting ourselves on the back. But give the kids credit, they executed it and it gave us a chance.”
U-Mary plays at Bemidji State next week before returning home to play Minnesota Crookston.