Last-second field goal gives VMI the win over Morehead State

LEXINGTON, Va. — Despite a near record-setting day from junior quarterback Austin Gahafer, the Morehead State football team dropped a 43-40 decision at Southern Conference foe Virginia Military Institute Saturday at Foster Stadium. Dillon Christopher nailed a 34-yard field goal as time expired to seal the Keydets’ home-opening win.

VMI improved to 1-1, while the Eagles fell to 0-2.

“Our guys absolutely played their hearts out today,” Head Coach Rob Tenyer said. “This is a heartbreaking loss. To lose like that on a field goal is tough. But, we did a lot of great things today, and I am so proud of our team for their effort today.”

Gahafer finished just 12 yards shy of the school single-game passing record as he went 35-of-62 for 447 yards and four touchdowns. Gahafer also caught a touchdown from junior receiver Jake Raymond.

The back-and-forth battle saw the Eagles go ahead 40-33 with 7:12 remaining on the Raymond-to-Gahafer trick play. But the Keydets drove 77 yards and scored three plays later. VMI clinched the contest after driving 12 plays and 72 yards before the field goal.

Raymond hauled in 10 catches for 106 yards, his second straight double-digit, 100-yard game. Senior slot man Justin Cornwall registered a career-best 154 yards on nine catches and scored twice.

Senior defensive back Eric Pugh totaled 18 tackles, just one short of the school single-game record.

VMI quarterback Al Cobb was 27-of-41 for 314 yards and two scores. The Eagle defense intercepted Cobb three times with sophomore Braylyn Cook, senior Trey Watkins and freshman Aaron Turk nabbing takeaways. Cook also recovered a fumble.

The hosts led 23-17 at the half and ballooned their advantage to 33-23 with 4:17 left in the third period. Cornwall nabbed a 12-yard touchdown with 25 ticks left in the third and sophomore kicker Shavi Bash connected on his second field goal of the day, a 31-yarder, to tie the game at 33 with 12:19 left.

Cornwall also registered a 59-yard scoring catch, and sophomore tight end Joby Embrey rambled 49 yards for a score in the first quarter to put the Eagles on top 14-8.

Morehead State finished with 499 total yards, while the Keydets had 511.

MSU returns home next weekend to host Kentucky Christian as part of Family Weekend. Kickoff is Saturday at 7 p.m. ET. It will be a White Out to honor the late Craig Mullins, former offensive coordinator.

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