Truman State methodically erases QU’s lead, rallies to win GLVC showdown in overtime


Truman State quarterback Nolan Hair outruns the Quincy University defense to the front corner of the end zone for a game-winning 20-yard touchdown in overtime Saturday at Stokes Stadium in Kirksville, Mo. | Photo courtesy Truman State athletics/Timothy Barcus

KIRKSVILLE, Mo. — Coming oh-so-close hurts oh-so-much.

Quincy University football coach Gary Bass felt that pain for his players Saturday afternoon.

The Hawks grabbed a 20-0 lead over No. 24 Truman State in the first 13 minutes of their first road game of the season, but managed to score just seven points over the remaining 47 minutes of regulation and overtime to allow the Bulldogs to mount a comeback.

Truman State’s Grant Ross kicked a 31-yard field goal with nine second remaining in the fourth quarter to force overtime, and Bulldogs quarterback Nolan Hair scored on a 20-yard run in overtime to snare a 33-27 Great Lakes Valley Conference victory at Stokes Stadium.

“We made them earn that one,” a dejected Bass said.

After winning four consecutive games and going 4-1 on a season-opening five-game homestand, the Hawks believed they could win on the road. Falling short hurts.

“What makes it worse is the kids are right there,” Bass said. “They’re in pain because they know they’re so close to winning that game. I hurt for them because I know what they put into this. The kids just keep battling and fighting, and I’m extremely proud of them for everything they did today.

“We were really close to knocking off a nationally ranked team at their place.”

Quincy University’s Teon Dollard dives forward while being tackled by the Truman State defense during Saturday’s game at Stokes Stadium in Kirksville, Mo. | Photo courtesy Truman State athletics/Oliver Malone

The Hawks’ strong start made everyone take note.

Quincy (4-2, 1-1 GLVC) took the opening kickoff and went 75 yards on 14 plays and capped the scoring drive with a 2-yard touchdown run by Teon Dollard. A missed PAT cost the Hawks a point that proved critical later.

Truman State (6-0, 2-0 GLVC) fumbled the ensuing kickoff and QU’s Anthony Gilpin Jr. returned it 37 yards to the 3-yard line. JQ Brown scored on a 3-yard run to make it 13-0 five minutes into the game.

After forcing the Bulldogs to punt, the Hawks drove 80 yards in 10 plays with senior tight end Garrett Drew catching a 33-yard touchdown pass from Drake Davis for a 20-0 lead with 1:57 remaining in the first quarter.

“We took advantage of their mistakes,” Bass said.

By halftime, though, Truman State had chiseled the deficit to 20-14. Mason Huskey scored on a 3-yard run to cap a 13-play, 64-yard drive for the Bulldogs, and Tate Crane caught a 20-yard touchdown pass from Hair.

“They got the ball and played keep-away in the second quarter,” Bass said.

In the third quarter, Truman State took advantage of QU’s miscues to take the lead. Ross kicked a field goal on the opening possession of the second half to make it 20-17, and later in the quarter, a punt hit a QU blocker resulting in a fumble with Truman State recovering at the Hawks’ 1-yard line.

Huskey scored on the next play to give the Bulldogs a 24-20 lead.

The Hawks retook the lead with a seven-minute drive that culminated with Davis scoring on a 1-yard run. QU tried to put the game away on its next drive, reaching the Truman State 34-yard line before Dollard was stuffed for no gain on fourth and 1 to give the Bulldogs possession with 3:24 to play. 

Hair drove the Bulldogs to the QU 14-yard line, setting up the game-tying field goal.

Truman State’s Jake Closser intercepts a pass intended for Quincy University’s Travis Isaac in the end zone in overtime Saturday at Stokes Stadium in Kirksville, Mo. | Photo courtesy Truman State athletics/Timothy Barcus

In overtime, the Hawks took possession first, and following a 4-yard run by Dollard, Davis’ pass intended for Travis Isaac in the end zone was intercepted by the Bulldogs’ Jake Closser. Truman State needed just two plays to score the game-winning touchdown as Hair scored on a 20-yard QB keeper to end it.

QU rushed for 187 yards and racked up 353 yards of total offense. Dollard rushed for 108 yards. Meanwhile, Hair completed 19 of 34 passes for 198 yards with a touchdown and no interceptions.

“We need the levee to break where we get a big win,” Bass said. “It hurts to come close to having a breakthrough game like that.”

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