The Central Connecticut football team defeated Merrimack, 40-37, on Saturday night at Arute Field in its 2019 home-opener. Senior Francis Cole kicked the game-winning field goal with :08 to play to win it for the Blue Devils for the second straight week. Junior Tyshaun James ran for two scores and caught another. James also made a crucial 26-yard catch to set up the game-winning field goal.
Score: Central Connecticut 40, Merrimack 37
Records: CCSU (2-0), Merrimack (1-1)
Location: Arute Field | New Britain, CT
- The Blue Devils trailed 14-3 with 14:55 to go in the opening half. Central would score 21 straight points to take a 24-14 lead into halftime.
- James would score on a seven-yard run for CCSU's first touchdown. His second score came on an eight-yard run to make it 17-14.
- Freshman Kenyata Huston caught a 60-yard pass from senior Aaron Winchester to make it 24-14.
- Central extended the lead to 31-14 in the third quarter following a 22-yard receiving touchdown by James and a three-yard fumble return by junior DJ Exilhomme.
- The Warriors would score two touchdowns and ensuing two-point conversions in the span of 1:04 to tie the game. A 21-yard reception by Marquis Spence with 0:54 tied the game.
- CCSU drove 45 yards on four plays in 0:46 to set up the game-winning kick. Senior Enyce Walker had 24 receiving yards on the drive and James had a 26-yard catch.
"We gained control of the game, but I'm going to tip my hat to Merrimack. I thought they played a heck of a ballgame and never quit. In the end, the bottom line is we won the game and we found a way to win," said head coach Ryan McCarthy.
NUMBER TO KNOW
44 – The game-winning field goal kicked by senior Francis Cole was for 44 yards. It was the second straight week, Cole's kicked the game-winning field goal.
- Tonight marked the 2nd meeting between Central and Merrimack. The Blue Devils have won both meetings in the series, including a 45-7 win during the 2007 season.
- CCSU opens the season 2-0 for the first time since 2006 when it opened the year 3-0.
- Junior DJ Exilhomme returned a fumble three yards for a touchdown, marking the second straight week that CCSU scored a defensive touchdown.
- Winchester ran for a team-high 92 yards on 11 carries. He finished the game 14-of-25 for 199 yards and a pair of scores along with two interceptions.
- James finished the game with 95 yards receiving on four catches.
The Blue Devils will now play four straight road games beginning with a trip to Valparaiso on Saturday at 2:00 p.m.