The Austin College football team was dominant early on, taking a 29-0 lead midway through the third quarter, but the ‘Roos needed to hold off a comeback attempt by Rhodes in a 36-28 win in Southern Athletic Association play at Jerry Apple Stadium.
The ‘Roos (5-4, 4-3) got on the board midway through the first quarter on a 19-yard touchdown run by Colt Collins, making it a 6-0 game after Matthew Smith’s point after attempt was blocked. Smith got a chance to put points on the board in the second quarter, drilling a 21-yard field goal to make it a 9-0 game with 8:02 left before half-time.
Rhodes drove deep into Austin College territory on its next possession before trying a field goal attempt but Sharun Jones blocked it and Darius Hypolite returned it 84 yards for a touchdown to make it 16-0. The ‘Roos had one more chance to score and capitalized when Collins found Kai Brinkerhoff in the back of the end zone from five yards out to make it 22-0 at half-time.
Matthew Quenichet blocked a punt midway through the third quarter to give AC possession deep in Rhodes territory and Collins plunged in from a yard out for a 29-0 margin.
However, the momentum soon shifted to Rhodes with Jace Franklin finding Charlie Mackey for a 45-yard gain on the first play of the ensuing drive and on the next play after that Franklin connected with Ethan Chamberlin from five yards out to make it a 29-8 game after a successful two-point conversion.
The Lynx recovered a fumble on Austin College’s next drive and Stephan Jean-Francois had a 12-yard touchdown run. After the conversion failed, it was a 29-14 game with 3:57 left in the third quarter.
Rhodes added one more touchdown in the period with Franklin completing passes of 17 and 44 yards before Mitch Batschelett scored from two yards out to cut the deficit to 29-22 following a two-point conversion going into the fourth quarter.
Austin College then drove 74 yards in 11 plays, capped off by a 10-yard touchdown run by Evan Powell but the Lynx refused to go away.
Franklin found the end zone one more time, connecting with Chamberlin from 11 yards out. The ‘Roos managed to stop the conversion attempt, keeping the score 36-28 with 2:50 left.
Rhodes got the ball back one more time and reached midfield but Keegan Nichols forced a fumble on a sack as time expired to seal the win for Austin College.
Collins completed 24-of-32 passes for 272 yards with a touchdown, adding 71 rushing yards and two more scores on the ground. Hagan Vrazel hauled in three passes for 78 yards and Powell finished with 32 yards on nine carries and a touchdown. Connor Carnes had 11 tackles to pace the ‘Roo defense and Nichols finished with nine stops, including four for a loss.
Franklin completed 24-of-45 passes for 341 yards with two touchdowns and a pick, adding 46 rushing yards, and Mackey caught three passes for 76 yards for the Lynx. Rhodes was led defensively by Tony Heyward and Kobe Bins, who each made eight tackles.
Austin College plays at Berry College on Saturday to close out the season.