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Fast Start Lifts Colonels to 49-27 Triumph over Chicago

Fast Start Lifts Colonels to 49-27 Triumph over Chicago

DANVILLE, Ky. (CentreColonels.com) – The Centre football team jumped out to a 21-0 first quarter lead en route to a 49-27 victory over visiting Chicago in a Southern Athletic Association (SAA) tilt on Saturday afternoon at Farris Stadium. The Colonels celebrate the triumph in the second annual Gold Out game, as Centre was decked out in gold to raise awareness for pediatric cancer.

Centre improves to 4-0 for the second time in three seasons and the sixth time under head coach Andy Frye. The Colonels also boost their SAA record to 2-0 with the win. Chicago falls to 1-2 on the season and 1-1 in conference action.

Centre also avenges its first loss of last season at the hands of the Maroons, who defeated the Colonels 49-30 in week four of the 2015 campaign. The win evens the series at 1-1 between the schools. Centre has now won nine games in a row dating back to last season.

Junior quarterback Devin Hayes (Bowling Green, Ky.) finished with another standout game for Centre, tallying a career-high 421 passing yards on 31-of-51 attempts with three touchdowns. Hayes also rushed eight times for 46 yards with a pair of rushing scores.

Junior wide receiver Noah Dziedzic (Richmond, Va.) had a career day as well for the Colonels, tallying eight receptions for a career-high 155 yards with two touchdowns.

Centre found the end zone in each of its first three drives, beginning with a 15-yard touchdown pass from Hayes to Dziedzic on the Colonels' opening drive.

Hayes ran for a two-yard touchdown on Centre's next trip down the field, extending the Colonels' lead to 14-0.

After the Centre defense forced a three-and-out, Hayes found senior wide receiver Duncan Mercer (South Charleston, Ohio) from 16 yards out to give Centre a 21-0 advantage late in the first quarter.

The Maroons got on the board early in the second quarter when quarterback Burke Moser broke away for a 54-yard touchdown run.

The Colonels answered right back when Hayes rushed for his second score of the day, this time from nine yards out to push the Centre lead to 28-7.

Later in the half, Hayes connected with his favorite target on the afternoon, Dziedzic, for a 13-yard touchdown pass, extending the Colonels' advantage to their largest lead of the game at 35-7.

Burke responded with a 37-yard touchdown strike to running back Chandler Carroll on Chicago's next drive, shrinking the deficit to 35-14 at the break.

Early in the third quarter, Moser found Carroll for another big scoring play, this time on a 69-yard connection to minimize the Centre lead to 35-21.  

This is as close as the Maroons would come, as senior running back Nolan Coulter's (Knoxville, Tenn.) one-yard touchdown run on the Colonels' next drive would put Centre back on top 42-21.

Moser would find the end zone one more time, as his 18-yard touchdown pass to Troy Reed cut the Colonels lead to 15 points at 42-27 after the Maroon's extra point attempt was no good.

Later in the fourth quarter, freshman cornerback Cal Lewellyn (Louisville, Ky.) picked off Moser's pass and ran it back 45 yards into the end zone, tacking onto Centre's advantage, making the score 49-27.

Lewellyn, the reigning SAA Defensive Player of the Week, finished with a pair of interceptions on the day to go with two pass breakups and two tackles.

In addition to Lewellyn's interception, sophomore defensive back John Wilson (Brandenburg, Ky.) forced a fumble that was picked up by junior linebacker Andrew Busby (Chattanooga, Tenn.).

Senior safety Conor Linneen (Roswell, Ga.) and senior cornerback Bradley Combs (Shephardsville, Ky.) led the Centre defense with seven tackles apiece to go with a pass breakup each.

Senior defensive end Trey Yeager (Danville, Ky.) had four tackles, a pass breakup and three quarterback hurries for the Colonels.

Coulter paced the Centre running game with 95 yards on 21 attempts with a touchdown.

Sophomore wide receiver Cody Estep (Pikeville, Ky.) caught six passes for 90 yards, while Mercer added seven catches for 81 yards and a score.

Moser finished 24-of-49 for 355 yards and three touchdowns. Carroll contributed 84 yards on the ground as well as 145 yards receiving on six catches with two touchdowns.

Andrew Beytagh led the Chicago defense with a game-high 11 tackles.

The game featured 1,119 yards of total offense, as the Colonels outgained the Maroons 613-506 in the contest. Centre is averaging 563.5 yards per game and has recorded at least 600 yards in consecutive games. The Colonels had 421 yards through the air and 192 on the ground, compared to Chicago's 355 yards passing and 151 rushing yards.

Centre finished with 33 first downs and held a 34:37 – 25:23 advantage in time of possession.

The Colonels travel to Conway, Ark. next Saturday, Oct. 1 for another key SAA matchup against defending conference champion Hendrix. The Warriors own a 4-0 record and a 1-0 ledger in SAA play after a 42-14 win over Millsaps on Saturday afternoon.