MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Junior receiver Tyler Robinson scored his first two collegiate touchdowns on Saturday to help Huntingdon get by Maryville College.
Robinson scored on a 57-yard punt return midway through the fourth quarter and added a 14-yard touchdown reception from Neal Posey in the final minute to give the Hawks the lead for good in a 49-33 win.
"In the fourth quarter, he had the punt return for a touchdown, a big catch on fourth-and-nine to get a first down on our final drive and then the go-ahead touchdown to cap the drive," Huntingdon head coach Mike Turk said. "He made some big plays today."
Robinson's second touchdown broke a tie and gave Huntingdon a 40-33 lead with 36 seconds left. The Hawks added a safety and 28-yard onside-kick return by Tyler Hall in the final seven seconds to make it a 16-point game.
"The final score doesn't indicate how hard-fought the game was. Mike Rader and his staff did a really good job attacking us and defending us," Turk said. "I'm proud of him. They came in prepared and gave us a great game. That's what I expected from him."
Rader, who spent eight seasons coaching under Turk at Huntingdon, was making his debut as a collegiate head coach. Maryville gave the Hawks all they wanted until the final minute of the game. When the Scots scored to tie the game 33-33 with 3:03 to play, Maryville seemed to have momentum. As the Hawks came to the line, facing fourth-and-nine with 47 seconds to play, overtime seemed like a realistic possibility to many.
Robinson wasn't of those people. Needing nine yards, he hauled in a Posey pass for an 11-yard gain to the Maryville 14-yard line. On the next play, Posey found Robinson in the end zone for the go-ahead score.
"It's pretty high up there, probably No. 1 right now," Robinson said when asked where this game ranks for him. "It was great to be able to help the team."
Robinson finished with 101 yards on six receptions. He also returned three punts for 63 yards. His 57-yard punt return was the longest in program history and just the second punt return for a touchdown since the program began in 2003.
"I knew Tyler had it in him. It was just a matter of him having the opportunity," senior running back Trevor Manuel said. "When he got the opportunity, he made the most of it."
Manuel and Robinson both praised a block by sophomore Anthony White on the return. White wiped out two Maryville players with a devastating hit to help spring Robinson.
"I was right there when Anthony made the block," Manuel said. "It was a really big block. If he doesn't make that block, those two guys were in position to make the tackle."
Manuel finished with 104 yards rushing and scored Huntingdon's first three touchdowns, giving him 30 rushing touchdowns for his career. But, he also fumbled twice.
"We did some good things and some bad things today," Manuel said. "Ball security is one of the things we have to work on. I put the ball on the ground twice and another offensive player put the ball on the ground. We know we can't have that.
"But, on the positive side, regardless of what happened on offense or defense, we made sure we put it behind us and continued to play hard."
Posey and Del Green accounted for the Hawks' other touchdown on a 3-yard pass in the second quarter. Posey finished with 281 yards, two touchdowns and an interception on a 26-of-38 day.
Defensively, Craig Granger recorded eight tackles, Trammell DeJarnett added seven tackles and Jeremy Murphy and Zach Brownell each had six tackles. D.J. Chappell and Courtney Moss led the front. Chappell had five tackles, 1 ½ sacks and 2 ½ tackles for loss. Moss added five tackles, a sack and two tackles for loss.
The Hawks return to action on Sept. 8, hosting Birmingham-Southern at 1 p.m.