UWF Defeats FIT, 23-21, On Unbelievable Final Sequence

October 1, 2017

UWF place kicker Austin Williams tweeted earlier in the week about how his desire to kick a game-winning field goal for the first time in his career. On Saturday night he got his wish.

In the most bizarre and fortunate ending in UWF’s brief 15-game history, the Argonauts were the beneficiary of an intentional grounding penalty on fourth down with time having appeared to have expired, only to gain possession on downs with one tic left and have Williams kick the game-winning 44-yard field goal as time expired for an amazing, 23-21, win at Panther Stadium in Saturday night.

UWF (3-1, 1-1 Gulf South) finished with 314 yards and got timely stops on defense numerous times in the second half, which played a big part in the Argonauts retaining the Coastal Classic trophy for the second-consecutive year. The trophy started last season as an added bonus to the rivalry between the only Division II football playing schools in the state of Florida. UWF upset then 16th-ranked FIT last year, 42-39, in Pensacola.

This year UWF had to overcome a strong effort from Florida Tech’s Antwaun Haynes, who finished with 170 yards on 31 carries. His 1-yard scoring run midway through the third quarter put the Panthers ahead 20-13.

But the Argonauts responded on the next possession with a 15-play, 80-yard drive that ended with a Chris Schwarz touchdown from a yard out to pull the visitors to within 21-20. Schwarz had 16 carries for a career-high 76 yards as UWF finished with 115 on the ground.

The teams traded punts on the next six possessions after Schwarz’s run before the turnover on downs.

FIT opened the scoring in the first quarter when backup quarterback Trent Chmelik found Corey Lane on a out route for a 14-yard touchdown. UWF used the longest play of the night 50 seconds later when Mike Beaudry connected with Ka’Ron Ashley for 76 yards down the right sideline to tie the game at 7-7. Ashley ended the game with three receptions for 94 yards – both career-highs for the redshirt freshman.

On the ensuing possession Chmelik called his own number from three yards out for a 14-7 edge. Williams made two field goals – including one with 34 seconds left in the half – to pull the Argos within 14-13 at the intermission.

Williams logged three field goals, including a school-record long with the 43-yarder in the first half and the game-winner from 44 yards at the end of the night. The sophomore transfer also put four of his five kickoffs into the end zone for touchbacks. He is now 8-of-9 on the year – and a perfect 3-for-3 from 40-yards or more – with a team-high 35 points.

Josh Marshall made a career-high 13 tackles on defense, while Josh Smiley added 11 stops, one for loss and a pass break-up.

FIT (3-2, 2-1) outgained UWF, 380-314, with the sizeable edge on the ground with a 253-115 margin.

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