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Football topples #6-ranked Benedictine; Graceland up next

October 2, 2012 | Chase Replogle

Evangel toppled a team ranked in the NAIA top 10 for the first time since 2007 with a 54-44 win over #6 Benedictine at JFK Stadium Saturday night.

The fourth quarter featured four lead changes. The Crusaders trailed 44-40 when Tommy Meyer’s three yard touchdown run capped an 11-play, 89 yard drive and gave Evangel the lead for good with 1:54 remaining. The Crusaders put the game out of reach with a 51 yard scoring pass from Andrew Brimhall to Jesse Vaughn making the score 54-44 with 34 seconds left.

Evangel led throughout most of the game starting the contest with a 44 yard field goal by Drew O’Cain. Benedictine grabbed the lead moments later on a 20 yard touchdown pass from Bill Noonan to Cameron Fore.

Evangel took the lead back midway through the first quarter on a 25 yard scoring run by Marlon Bailey and would not trail again until the fourth quarter. Evangel led 26-21 at halftime and had a 33-31 advantage at the end of the third quarter. Benedictine grabbed the lead with a touchdown early in the fourth quarter and the two teams traded leads until Evangel’s two scores late in the game.

Evangel University Marching Band

The Evangel University Marching Band plays at each home football game and has become an integral part of the experience for students and fans.

Meyer had 184 rushing yards on 24 carries, three touchdowns, two receptions for 38 yards and pass completion for 23 yards. WR Jesse Vaughn had 9 receptions for 211 yards and two fourth quarter touchdowns. QB Andrew Brimhall went 17 for 32 passing with 2 interceptions and 2 touchdowns for 324 yards.

Lamar Allen led Evangel’s defense with 14 tackles while Denzel Billy had 9 tackles, a recovered fumble and an interception.

Kicker Drew O’Cain set an Evangel record for longest field goal hitting a 53-yard field goal with 14 seconds left in the first half. O’Cain also tied an school record for career field goals made as his two field goals in game gave him 32 in his career matching the total of Chris Nowels (1990-92). O’Cain’s school record streak of 38 consecutive extra-point kicks made was snapped in the first quarter on a blocked kick. It was his first failed attempt since Nov. 4, 2010.

Meyer and O’Cain both won Player of the Week awards from the Heart of America conference for their play in the upset win.

Sixth-ranked Benedictine is the highest ranked team the Crusaders have beaten since the knocked off a Benedictine team was ranked 3rd nationally in 2001. The win is Evangel’s first victory against a top 10 team since their 2007 win at Missouri Valley. See game photos.

Evangel improves to 3-2 and 2-1 in the Heart of America conference. Benedictine falls to 4-1 and 2-1 in the conference.

The Crusaders play at Graceland next Saturday with a 2 p.m. kickoff in Lamoni, Iowa.

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