The Southern football team opened up with a 52-yard touchdown toss from Kevin Lynch to Willie Epps. From then on, nothing came as easy as that for the Owls on homecoming weekend.
The Owls lost another tough game Saturday, this one one to Bentley College 36-26, dropping their record to 3-4 (3-2). The Owls haven’t finished a season with a record under .500 since 1993.
“This was a tough one,” said Epps, who finished the game with only the one touchdown grab.
The Owls were the preseason choice to win the Northeast-10 Conference but now have fallen all but out of the race with just three conference games left on the schedule and Stonehill and Merrimack in front of them.
Bentley quarterback Bryant Johnson terrorized the Owls defense completing 29-38 for 277 yards and 2 touchdowns and even added one with his legs that capped that game off.
“He played great, we couldn’t get them off the field,” said Coach Rich Cavanaugh.
The Owls took the lead on the Epps touchdown reception but missed the extra point attempt putting them up 6-0 through the first quarter. Bentley came alive in the second quarter, when Johnson connected to Mike Sumrell for a 13-yard touchdown pass, giving them the lead.
The Owls came right back three minutes later following a John Wiechman two-yard touchdown run regaining the lead for the Owls 13-7. Johnson then came roaring back with a 33-yard touchdown pass to Wade Critides following a quick five-play drive giving Bentley the lead once again 14-13.
The Owls took a 19-14 lead four minutes into the third quarter when Lynch hit Jerome Cunningham on a two-yard pass, the two-point conversion attempt was picked off in the end zone and Dan Hopkins returned it the length of the field as Bentley cut the lead to 19-16.
On the ensuing drive, Bentley added a field goal from 18 yards out, off the foot of Paul Branco knotting the game up at 19. Southern answered right back when Lynch connected on his third touchdown pass of the afternoon, hitting Andre Privott from three-yards out giving the lead back to the Owls 26-19.
The fourth quarter would be one to forget for the Owls. Johnson and company scored 17 unanswered points featuring a Bobby Tarr two-yard run to tie the game and the another Branco field goal from 21 yards out giving Bentley the lead 29-26 with three minutes for the Owls to create one last drive.
A bad snap lead to a fumble recovery by Bentley which lead to a Johnson 17-yard scramble to the endzone capping off the win for Bentley.
Sam-uel Johnson paced the defense with 12 tackles including a sack. Wiechman led the ground game with 75 yards as it was turnovers and miscues that doomed the Owls.
They travel to Stonehill next week as they try to regain the winning ways. The Northeast-10 regular season championship may be out of reach, but they will still have an opportunity to win the conference tournament regardless exactly like they did last year.