WASHINGTON, D.C. - Catholic University football sophomore Chance LeGrand scored on a 13-yard run with 1:20 remaining in the fourth quarter and the Cardinal defense forced three incomplete passes on the Maine Maritime's final three plays of the game en route to a 20-14 victory Saturday at Cardinal Stadium on Senior Day.
Catholic (1-9, 1-6 NEWMAC) rushed for 195 yards on 45 attempts, both season highs, while sophomore Brady Berger completed 20-of-30 passes for 198 yards and two touchdowns. The Cardinals' completion percentage of 67 percent was their highest since they completed 71 percent in a 37-35 win at Coast Guard on Sept. 17, 2016.
In addition, the team did not surrender a sack for the first time this season and controlled the ball for over 10 minutes in the decisive fourth quarter.
LeGrand finished with 134 all-purpose yards as he rushed for 66 and led the team in receiving with four catches for 49 yards. He was one of 11 different players with at least one catch for Catholic, the most since the team also completed a pass to 11 different receivers at Washington and Lee on Nov. 7, 2015.
A total of 18 different Cardinals have had at least one catch this season.
Catholic only trailed 6-0 at halftime despite totaling three punts and three turnovers on its first six possessions and being just 1-of-6 on third-down conversions. They managed to stop the Mariners (0-9, 0-7 NEWMAC) on their only possession inside the red zone after freshman Liam Dearing recovered a fumble on the Catholic 19-yard line.
The Cardinals quickly turned the game around at the start of the second half, holding Maine Maritime to a three-and-out on its first two possessions, while scoring touchdowns on their first two. Catholic took the lead on a 36-yard touchdown pass from Berger to freshman Mark Cheffers with 10:44 remaining in the third quarter. For Cheffers, it was his first career receiving touchdown.
On its next possession, the Cardinals capped a nine-play, 47-yard drive with a 17-yard pass from Berger to freshman Johnny Hecht with 5:11 left in the third. Hecht had a touchdown reception in each of the last two games and finished the season second on the team with three.
The Mariners responded with a touchdown on their ensuing possession, finishing off a 7-play, 40-yard drive with a 2-yard touchdown run followed by a two-point conversion to tie the game at 14-14 with 1:37 to play in the third quarter.
However, neither team could put points on the board over the next four possessions. Catholic had a fumble and missed field goal from 27 yards, the first miss of the season for freshman Sean Gould who was 4-for-4 entering today's game, while the Cardinal defense forced two more Maine Maritime punts after holding the visitors to just 14 yards on eight plays.
With the score still tied at 14-14, Catholic took over at its own 41-yard line with 2:37 remaining in the fourth quarter following the Mariners' sixth punt of the afternoon.
Facing a third-and-7 at their own 44, Berger found LeGrand for 43 yards down to the Maine Maritime 13-yard line. Two plays later, LeGrand found pay dirt to give the Cardinals a 20-14 lead. He accounted for all 64 yards on the drive after the ball was moved back to the 36 yard line following a false start penalty.
Following the missed extra point, Catholic was whistled for a personal foul penalty that moved the kickoff back to its own 20-yard line. Once again, the Cardinal defense came up big when it needed to as they held the Mariners to nine yards on four plays to force a turnover on downs and give the ball back to the offense with only 37 seconds left.
After Maine Maritime tied the game at 14-14, the Catholic defense held the Mariners to just 28 yards on 12 plays in the fourth quarter while the offense controlled the ball for 10:14 compared to 4:46 for the visitors.
Dearing led the defense with nine total tackles, including two for loss and a fumble recovery. Playing in the final game of his career, senior Joe Nacci also had nine tackles while adding a tackle for loss and a forced fumble. Freshman Rocco Longo had eight tackles with 3.5 for loss.