The Central Connecticut football team dropped to 2-3 overall on the season with a 31-24 loss on the road at Lafayette on Saturday night. The Leopards scored the deciding touchdown in the final minute after the Blue Devils tied the game with under three minutes to play.
The Blue Devils will play their third straight road game next week on the road at Robert Morris, opening league play.
Sophomore Enyce Walker led the offensive attack with 11 rushes for 73 yards and a touchdown in the loss. The Blue Devils led 17-14 at halftime but 10 fourth quarter points for the Leopards helped produce their first win of the season (1-4).
Senior quarterback Jacob Dolegala finished the day 22-of-35 for 189 yards and a touchdown. Sophomore Tyshaun James had six catches for 46 yards and a touchdown. Defensively the Blue Devils were led by senior Tymir Hinton and junior Grant Ibeh who each had nine tackles.
The Leopards got on the board first with a 57-yard punt return for a touchdown with 5:28 left in the first quarter. CJ Amill took the punt and gave the Leopards the lead.
Central tied the game 7-7 on the next drive as they drove 75-yards in 11 plays and capped the drive with a 15-yard touchdown pass from Dolegala to James. The score came with 24 seconds left in the first quarter.
The Blue Devils rode the legs of Walker on their next scoring drive, going nine plays and 74-yards for the one-yard Walker touchdown and a 14-7 lead with 2:30 left in the second quarter. Walker rushed for 54 yards on the scoring drive and scored his second touchdown of the season to give the Blue Devils the lead.
The Leopards answered with a quick drive before halftime, going eight plays and 78-yards in under two minutes, to tie the game 14-14. Amill scored from 11-yards out to tie the game.
Central answered again, as junior place kicker Francis Cole kicked a school-record 50-yard field goal before halftime, lifting the lead to 17-14.
The Blue Devils punted on their first possession after halftime, and then Lafayette put together a 13-play, 80-yard scoring drive that took over seven minutes off the clock, to retake the lead 21-17 with 4:23 to play in the third quarter. Sean O'Malley hit Steven Stilianos from three yards out for the score and the lead.
Lafayette's lead reached 24-17 with 14:14 left in the fourth quarter on a 24-yard field goal from Jeff Kordenbrock.
The Blue Devils tied the game with a 10-play, 60-yard drive capped by a three-yard scoring run by Dolegala with 2:23 left in the fourth quarter. The score was 24-24 after the first rushing touchdown of the season by the senior quarterback.
But the Leopards had one final answer, as Amill scored his third touchdown of the game, this time with 33 seconds left, to ice the victory for the Leopards. A Blue Devil drive in the final seconds ended with a fumble that was recovered by the Leopards.
The Blue Devils open Northeast Conference play next Saturday on the road at Robert Morris at 1 p.m. The game will air live on NEC Front Row.