Evansville 24, San Diego 23
SAN DIEGO (AP) _ Sean Bennett rushed for a Pioneer Football League-record 313 yards and scored on touchdown runs of 20, 85 and 77 yards Saturday night as Evansville beat the University of San Diego 24-23.
Bennett, a sophomore transfer from Illinois who came into the game ranked eighth nationally among Division I-AA players with an average of 165.6 all-purpose yards per game, had 171 yards rushing by halftime.
Bennett’s performance also eclipsed the Evansville school record of 205 yards rushing set by Matt Brooks in 1990.
The Aces, who trailed 23-14 at the half, put the game away on a 32-yard field goal by Matt Andrzejewski with 6:07 remaining, but it was ultimately a blocked extra point by linebacker Greg Nolan at the end of the first half that proved the difference.
Evansville, which had yet to win a league game, improved to 1-2 in the PFL and 3-3 overall.
San Diego, which is also 3-3 overall, dropped to 1-2 in league play.
Following an 18-yard field goal by Tim Roth that gave San Diego a 3-0 lead, Bennett scored his first touchdown on a 20-yard run with 6:03 remaining in the first quarter.
Quarterback John Khamis put San Diego back on top with a 3-yard touchdown run, and the Toreros extended the lead to 17-7 when Jeremy Gonzalez scored on a 29-yard run.
Just 28 seconds later, however, Bennett, who carried 24 times, went off right tackle to score on an 85-yard run and cut the deficit to 17-14.
San Diego struck back on a 55-yard touchdown pass from Khamis to Dylan Ching with 31 seconds left in the half, but Nolan blocked the extra point.
On Evansville’s first play of the second half, Bennett went 77 yards for a touchdown to pull the Aces to within 23-21.
Evan Hlavacek paced San Diego with 158 yards on 30 carries.