Tigerville, S.C. – North Greenville moved to 1-0 on the season Thursday night as Matt Gravely knocked through a field goal in the final seconds to give North Greenville a 34-33 win over Tusculum College.
- Score: NGU – 34 TC – 33
- Location: Tigerville, South Carolina (Younts Stadium)
- Records: North Greenville 1-0 Tusculum 0-1
- For the second season in a row, the opening game came down to the final minutes with North Greenville pulling it out in the end. The Crusaders upended West Alabama last season with a touchdown in the final minutes.
- The Crusaders also used a last second field goal in 2013 when Justin Gravely, brother of tonight’s hero Matt Gravely, knocked it through from 31-yards out to earn the win for North Greenville.
- North Greenville is now 3-0 in Thursday night home openers dating back to 2013.
How it happened
- North Greenville got off to a quick start, scoring 14-points in the first quarter. Deonte Bryant provided the first score with a one handed grab in the end zone when Robbie Brown broke away for a 77-yard touchdown run with 2:41 left in the quarter.
- Tusculum tacked on a pair of touchdowns in the second quarter with a run from Maxwell Joseph and a 35-yard fumble return from Dee Alford.
- North Greenville tacked on a field goal while the Pioneers found pay dirt once more to take a 20-17 advantage into halftime.
- The defenses took over the opening minutes of the third period but North Greenville’s Tracy Scott provided some fireworks, scoring from 72-yards out to give NGU a 24-20.
- A pair of scores in the fourth quarter for the Pioneers and a field goal and a touchdown for North Greenville moved the tally to 33-31 with 4:13 left in the game.
- North Greenville’s offense faced a fourth down and five late in the fourth quarter but Will Hunter found Christian Bruce at the Tusculum 17-yard line to keep the Crusaders alive with a chance to win.
- A pair of rushes from Ashton Heard and Scott inched NGU closer to the goal line. Hunter would take one look toward the end zone, eyeing 6 foot 6 target Mason Sanders but the pass would fall incomplete, leaving Matt Gravely with a 29-yard field goal attempt.
- Gravely missed a pair of field goal attempts early in the game, but the true sophomore connected when it really counted, putting it through the uprights, giving his team a 34-33 lead with 28-seconds left. The field goal capped a 10-play, 3:38 drive.
- Tusculum had one final shot, but Travis Beatty put the clinch on Evan Gates on the final play of the game to move North Greenville to 1-0 on the season, earning the Crusaders a fifth consecutive win over Tusculum.
The Good Guys
- Robbie Brown led the receiving corps with a 153-yard performance in his first game back. The senior caught a game high eight passes and one touchdown.
- Tracy Scott finished as the game’s leading rusher, pounding out 159-yards on 21 carries with a touchdown.
- Matthew Thomas and Jeremiah Ferguson led the Crusaders defensively with five tackles. Thomas accounted for one of NGU’s five sacks on the night.
- Johnny Burch came up huge for North Greenville, blocking a field goal which allowed NGU to kick the game winning field goal, instead of the game tying field goal.
- Johnny Worthy picked up the only turnover of the game for Tusculum, recovering a fumble which led to a North Greenville go ahead score in the fourth quarter.
The other team
- Tusculum finished the night with 353-yards of offense. 292 of those yards came from Boise State transfer Alex Ogle who tossed the rock for 292-yards and three touchdowns.
- Matt Simon led the team with six tackles including 1.5 tackles for a loss.
- Maxwell Joseph led the Pioneers with 61-yards on the ground on 18-carries. Joseph also found the end zone once.
Next time out
- The Crusaders travel to Hickory, North Carolina to take on Lenoir-Rhyne in a 7 pm kickoff with the Bears.