By Nate Tenopir Senior Staff Writer
After a season of heartbreaks, the UNO football team had to feel a measure of justice in Saturday’s 62-61 victory over Truman State. Sophomore quarterback John Teigland found senior tight end Mike Higgins with 30 seconds left and the Mavs held off the Bulldogs last drive to secure the victory.
Freshman running back Levi Terrell ran for a career high 226 yards on 23 carries and scored three times while Teigland went 20 for 31 through the air for 314 yards, 5 touchdowns and an interception.
Higgins and junior tight end Austin Wells each had over 100 yards receiving. Higgins caught six passes for 103 yards and a touchdown while Wells added five catches for 124 yards and three touchdowns.
Twice this year, UNO has been the victim of fourth quarter heroics and suffered a loss with less than 20 seconds remaining. At Central Missouri, the Mavs held a 31-7 fourth-quarter lead only to watch the Mules put up 27 points in the final 10:23 of the game and score with just four seconds remaining for the win.
Last week against Missouri Western, Teigland scored with only 1:39 remaining in the game to give UNO a 14-10 lead. The Griffons then went 64 yards in just 1:19 and scored with 16 seconds remaining, giving the Mavs their second heartbreaker in three weeks.
After breaking a streak of 14 straight winning seasons, it seemed as if UNO would not get a break all year. A big day for the offense, 613 total yards, assured the Maverick senior class that they’d at least be able to end their careers with a better feeling than that of the week before.
With 7:45 left in the game, UNO trailed 61-48 but started an efficient nine play drive that took just 3:18 of game time to find the end zone. Terrell started the drive with 34 yards on two carries, and Teigland’s pass to sophomore wideout Jonathan Patent put the ball on the Bulldogs oneyard line. Terrell finished off the drive with his third touchdown of the day, making the score 61-55.
Truman State countered with a drive of its own, going 25 yards in seven plays. After picking up one first down, the Bulldogs were stopped on downs at the UNO 35-yard line and left the Mavs 1:57 in which to complete the comeback.
Though the Mavs had no timeouts remaining, they began the drive with Terrell on the ground and picked up a total of 18 yards on the first two plays; 14 on the first and four on the second. After an incompletion, Teigland connected with Patent for 9 yards and a first down. A pass to Higgins for 18 more yards set the Mavs up at the Truman 20-yard line.
A fourth down pass from Teigland fell incomplete, but a reversal of fortune from the week before gave UNO a first down after a pass interference f lag was thrown on the play. Teigland connected with Higgins on the next play from the 5-yard line to take a 62-61 lead with 30 seconds remaining.
Truman State was only able to get to its 49-yard line on the ensuing possession and UNO held the Bulldogs to a one for six passing mark on the final drive to get the win. The Mavs end the season at 5-6, 5-4 in the MIAA and will have to wait and see if their fifth place conference finish is enough to earn them a trip to a bowl game. Mavs end regular season with dramatic fourth quarter win