GAFFNEY, S.C. -- THE LEAD
Jordan Bennett drilled a 45-yard field goal as time expired, allowing West Alabama to escape with a 16-13 win over Limestone College Saturday at The Reservation Stadium in Gaffney, South Carolina.
Bennet's game-winner was his third field goal of the game and came just 2:52 after Saints kicker Griffin Martin missed from 42 yards. Limestone had a 15-yard touchdown pass negated by a holding penalty two plays before the miss.
Brett Gilliland became the winningest coach in the history of the West Alabama program with the victory. In his fifth season, Gilliland is 32-17, taking sole ownership of the record from Frank North, who was 31-29 from 1979-84.
THEY SAID IT
"I knew he (Jordan Bennett) would make it because I asked him four plays before the game-winner where he wanted the ball and he said, 'I don't care'. I knew then he was ready." … UWA head coach Brett Gilliland on Jordan Bennett's game-winning field goal.
"It was just like practice. I was just trying to kick through the ball. The last couple of games I have pushed some, but I know if I kick through it should go where I want it to." … Jordan Bennett on his game-winner field goal as time expired.
"The extra time benefits me because I get to look at the kick, so it actually works against them. Drew (Edgar) had a great snap and Zach (Gaines) a great hold." … Jordan Bennett on Limestone calling timeout to ice him before the kick.
"You have to give it up to the guys up front. They worked their tails off. Coach (Don) Bailey told me at the beginning of the fourth quarter to get ready to run the ball. When coach trusts you like that you have to have his back." … Tyler Rogers after gaining 116 yards rushing, 21 on the final drive.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Martin opened the scoring with a 39-yard field goal with 12:57 left in the first quarter. The field goal was set up when Bayley Blanchard fumbled the opening kickoff and set up LC at the UWA 25.
Limestone stretched the lead to 10-0 on a 2-yard TD run by Malik Brooks with 4:26 left in first quarter. The scoring drive of 7 yards was set up by the sixth UWA turnover in last five quarters.
Bennett connected on a 32-yard field goal with 1:20 left in the first quarter to get West Alabama on the scoreboard. The kick capped a 10-play, 60-yard drive, 46 of the yards coming on the ground.
Limestone extended its lead to 13-3 on a 48-yard field by Griffin Martin with 14:17 left in the first half.
West Alabama's first touchdown came on a 30-yard touchdown pass from Harry Satterwhite to Bayley Blanchard on the first play following a Tavarius Hutchison fumble recovery.
Bennett connected on his second field goal of the first half from 40 yards out to tie the score at 13-13 with 2:52 left before intermission.
Bennett's game-winner was the only points of the second half, capping a 10-play, 47-yard drive to win the game and run out the clock.
BY THE NUMBERS
West Alabama had 377 total yards and limited Limestone to 289.
UWA running back Tyler Rogers rushed for 116 yards on 19 carries with a long run of 21 yards.
Satterwhite was 19-of-34 for 214 yards, a TD and two interceptions.
Blanchard was UWA's leading receiver with five catches for 68 yards and a score.
West Alabama limited LC to just 59 rushing yards.
LC quarterback DJ Phillips completed 25-of-36 for a season-high 230 yards. Shyheim Perry caught seven passes for 55 yards.
Jordan Graddy, Savon Parker and Terry Samuel all recorded seven tackles for UWA. Joshua Simmons had 12 for Limestone.
West Alabama outgained Limestone 118 to 88 in the first quarter, but trailed 10-3 due to a pair of lost fumbles setting up the Saints with short fields. LC gained 40 of the 88 on one long pass in the final drive of the quarter.
West Alabama had 102 yards more total offense than Limestone at the half (237-135), but the Tigers and Saints were tied 10-10 at the break.
Limestone limited West Alabama to just 45 yards total offense in the third quarter, which ended with the scored tied 13-13.
West Alabama had four turnovers for the second consecutive game
ALSO WORTH NOTING
West Alabama converted just 4-of-13 on third down, but Rogers got 2 yards on third and 2 when it counted most to set up Bennett's game-winning kick.
West Alabama was without the services of five starters: tight end Qua Boyd, offensive tackle Brandon Anderson, running back Tevin Moore, defensive lineman Carmarcus Williams and cornerback Danny Rambo did not suit for the Tigers.
Aaron Ferguson got his first start at right offensive tackle in place of an injured Brandon Anderson.
NEXT TIME OUT
The Tigers play game two of a three-game road swing at North Greenville Saturday, Sept. 29. Kickoff it set for 6 p.m. CDT. The game will be the GSC television game of the week on ESPN3.
Limestone remains at home, hosting Mars Hill at 4 p.m.