Hampden-Sydney relies on late score to get road win at Averett

Published 6:22 pm Sunday, October 15, 2023

Senior quarterback Andrew Puccinelli passed for a game-high and career-high 418 yards, with three touchdowns as Hampden-Sydney beat Averett 31-28. 

Hampden-Sydney wasted no time getting on the scoreboard as senior wide receiver Jamahdia Whitby took a direct snap and ran around the right side for a 20-yard touchdown. 

AU responded with 17 unanswered points to lead 17-7. The Tigers, however, answered back before the quarter ended with a 54-yard touchdown pass-play from Puccinelli to receiver Mason Cunningham with just eight-seconds on the clock. A PAT made it 17-14 after one quarter, finishing another quick drive, this time a seven-play, 78-yard possession. Hampden-Sydney added two second-quarter touchdowns-for 21 unanswered points-to lead 28-17 at the intermission. 

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It was a scoreless third quarter between the two teams as the respective defenses combined to force three punts and a pair of turnovers on downs, leaving it a 28-17 contest through three quarters. AU added a 36-yard field goal by Caviness at 9:03 of the fourth quarter to close the margin to 28-20.

Hampden-Sydney then drove to the Cougars’ 11-yard line but a 28-yard field goal attempt was blocked with 5:52 remaining. AU came right back with a 46-yard touchdown pass from Jackson to Shawn Watlington at 5:06, and a successful two-point PAT conversion pass from Jackson to Christian Williams tied the contest at 28-28.

The Tigers started their final possession at their own 25-yard line and drove 63 yards on 10 plays to the Cougars’ 12-yard line for the game-winning 29-yard field goal with just 43-seconds left.

Hampden-Sydney, by the numbers 

Mason Cunningham finished with a game-high and career-high 199 yards on 10 receptions. Frost added 72 yards on 19 carries, with two receptions for 41 yards. 

Senior All-American safety and team captain Will Pickren finished with 11 tackles, including 0.5 tackles for loss, and one pass breakup to lead the Tigers on defense. Senior safety and team captain James-Ryan Salvi added nine tackles, while senior linebacker Dorian Green, junior linebacker Jackson Lott and sophomore safety Jaylan Long each had seven tackles, including 0.5 tackles for loss by Long. Freshman cornerback Jay Daniels added a career-high six tackles and one pass breakup.

With the win, Hampden-Sydney improves to 4-2, 2-1 in conference play. The Averett Cougars fall to 3-3, 0-3 in conference. Hampden-Sydney returns home this week to take on Washington and Lee on Saturday, Oct. 21. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. It will be homecoming weekend and Team Hall of Fame Weekend.