NAIA
NAIA
Football - Sat, Nov. 12, 2016
News Photo
41
VS
35
Faulkner
Union
Final1234F
Faulkner (Ala.) (6-4)02102041
Union (5-6)07141435
Barbourville, Ky.,
Faulkner (Ala.)Indv. LeadersUnion
#23 Reagan Amos - 21Rushing #21 Izayah Riettie - 136
#6 Clayton Nicholas - 517Passing #8 Alex Bell - 249
#1 Rob Lockhart - 179Receiving #4 Decorwyne Dunnaway - 72
Faulkner (Ala.)Team StatisticsUnion
46Rushing Yards 227
517Passing Yards 252
2Turnovers 3
30:51Possesion Time 29:09

BARBOURVILLE, Ky. – The Union College football put up a valiant effort but came up on the short end of the 41-35 outcome against visiting Faulkner (Ala.) on Saturday.

"I am so proud of this group of guys," said Union interim coach Andre Linn. "They don't know the meaning of quit. They are the most resilient team I have ever been associated with. Their future is bright."

Union came up 10 yards shy of tying and potentially winning the game. Faulkner took a 41-35 lead with 12 seconds to play when Trent Miles scored on a 2-yard run. The PAT hit the upright, keeping the margin at six.

Tyler Toombs (SO/Stone Mountain, Ga.) received the ensuing kickoff at the Union 5 and returned it to the 35 with 7 seconds to play. A quick 20-yard pass to Bradley Elkins (SO/Pikeville, Ky.) and a timeout put the ball on the Faulkner 45 with 2.2 seconds remaining. Bell tried to get a strong throw off for the Hail Mary, but heavy pressure prevented him in getting everything on it. Still, Dunnaway hauled in the pass at the Eagle 10 where he was tackled to end the game.

The loss puts the Bulldogs' final record at 5-6 overall.

Trailing 21-7 at the half, Union rallied in the second half to turn the game into a shootout. Quarterback Alex Bell (JR/Daytona Beach, Fla.) scored on a 1-yard run and later hooked up with Decorwyne Dunnaway (SR/Louisville, Ky.) for a 5-yard touchdown pass to make it 21-all with 49 seconds left in the third.

Faulkner opened the fourth quarter with a 13-play, 76-yard scoring drive to reclaim the lead.  Joe Jones punched the ball in on a 3-yard run to put the Eagles up 28-21 with 10:16 to play.

Union wasted no time in responding as Izayah Riettie (FR/Lakeland, Fla.) broke through the line and galloped 80 yards for a touchdown. Following Derek Burgett (FR/Somerset, Ky. )'s PAT, the score was tied at 28-all with 9:50 left.

Moments later, Clayton Nicholas hit Keithon Redding for a 63-yard strike to give Faulkner a 35-28 lead at the 8:41 mark.

Then, lightning struck for the Bulldogs as Jalen Ashby (JR/Tallahassee, Fla.) returned the kickoff 92 yards for a touchdown, evening the ledger at 35-all with 8:28 still on the clock.

Ashby shattered the single-game record for kickoff return yards with 257 on six returns. Vic Wharton set the previous mark at 187 against Tusculum (Tenn.) in 1994. He missed breaking the NAIA record by 31 yards.

"Jalen is a dynamic player with a specialized skill set," said Linn.

The scoring cooled off until the waning moments when the Eagles (6-4 overall) put together a four-play, 65-yard scoring drive to make the final tally 41-35.

Faulkner outgained Union 563-479 in total offense. The Eagles were held to 46 yards rushing, but Nicholas threw for 517 yards on 35-of-62 passing.

Riettie led the Union ground attack with 136 yards and one touchdown on 10 carries. Bell completed only 19-of-41 passes but threw for 249 yards and a score. Bell also ran for 45 yards and two touchdowns.

Defensively, Serge Vita (SR/Pasadena, Calif.) recorded two sacks to give him 13.0 sacks and 24.0 tackles for a loss on the year. The 13.0 sacks rank second most in program history, while the 24.0 tackles for a loss ties him with Brandon Webb for the school record.

"The things about Serge is he is a better person than a player," Linn said of the senior defensive end. "I am happy for him."

Bulldog Notes

  • Prior to the game, Union honored its eight seniors. The honorees include Vita, Dunnaway, Curtis Yates (SR/Lexington, Ky.), Chandler Whittlesey (SR/Columbus, Ga.), Zack Martin (SR/Dawsonville, Ga.), Wil Stonecypher (SR/Cleveland, Ga.), Alex Sigmon (SR/Bristol, Tenn.) and Cody Johnson (JR/Maple Rapids, Mich.).
  • The Bulldog defense set a program record for sacks in a season with 35.5.
  • Yates led the team defensively with 11 total stops to go with two pass breakups.
  • Dunnaway's touchdown reception was the first in his career.
  • The 80-yard run by Riettie was the longest by a Bulldog this season.