Centre wins Homecoming shootout over Rhodes, 42-35
DANVILLE, Ky. (Centre Athletics) – Centre College football defeated the visiting Rhodes Lynx, 42-35, Saturday afternoon while celebrating Homecoming at Farris Stadium.
The Colonels improved to 6-1 overall and 4-1 in the Southern Athletic Association, dropping the Lynx to 3-5 (1-4 SAA).
After a record-setting performance against Rhodes last season, senior quarterback Devin Hayes (Bowling Green, Ky.) threw for 449 yards and five touchdowns Saturday.
Junior wideout Cody Estep (Pikeville, Ky.) nearly broke three receiving records, finishing with 10 catches for 214 yards and three touchdowns.
HOW IT HAPPENED
The two sides traded touchdowns on the first four drives of the game, beginning with Rhodes’ impressive opening drive that ended in a 39-yard touchdown pass from PJ Settles to Jace Franklin.
Centre responded, as Hayes found Estep for the first of their three connections on a 36-yard touchdown pass.
After the Lynx got in the endzone again, the Colonels answered on another Estep receiving touchdown – this one a 37-yarder.
The Pikeville native continued to connect with his quarterback, opening the second quarter with his third receiving touchdown to tie the program’s single-game record. The feat has now been accomplished seven times, most recently by Estep against this same Lynx team in 2016.
Seconds before the half ended Hayes found Eric Niemann (Louisville, Ky.) for another passing score, the first of the season for the sophomore wideout.
Despite surrendering 21 consecutive points, the Lynx came out of the half on a high note, as Settles broke free for a 62-yard rushing touchdown to pull Rhodes within a touchdown.
The Colonels continued to score six points at a time. Devin Hayes found senior Austin Hayes (Hendersonville, Tenn.) on their ensuing possession, and the tight end carried a Rhodes defender into the endzone with him on a 50-yard receiving touchdown.
Junior running back Colin Burnam (Bowling Green, Ky.) was next, plunging in from one yard out on a “Wildcat” formation for Centre’s lone rushing score. Senior Ben Logsdon (Louisville, Ky.) converted the PAT to push the lead to a game-high 21 points.
Rhodes wasn’t finished, however, scoring touchdowns on two of its next three possessions to pull with 42-35.
Centre, which struggled to move the ball on the ground, was forced to punt on three of its last four possessions and turned the ball over on downs on the other.
With one final shot at the endzone, the Lynx worked their way to the home 42-yard line to set up a last-second heave. Junior John Wilson (Brandenburg, Ky.) was there for the Colonels, batting the ball down to seal the victory.
INSIDE THE BOX SCORE
Estep’s 10 receptions were two shy of the single-game record, and his 214 yards were four short of the 218-yard mark.
Hayes threw for a school-record 527 yards and seven touchdowns last season against Rhodes, and followed Saturday with 449 yards and five TDs on a 25-for-40 effort.
Centre ran for a season-low 53 yards, averaging only 1.7 yards per carry.
Freshman Jake Holloway (Franklin, Tenn.) continued to impress, punting six times for 259 yards (43.2 per punt), with a long of 56 yards. He landed four inside the Rhodes 20-yard line.
Settles was electric for the Lynx, rushing 19 times for 237 yards and two touchdowns, while throwing for 288 yards and a pair of scores.
Sophomore Ryan Smith (Louisville, Ky.) had a pair of sacks, 3.5 tackles for loss and a forced fumble.
Centre travels to take on Millsaps next Saturday, Oct. 28, for a 3 p.m. kick.