TIFFIN -- Two-time captain Bryan Lacey demanded the ball. Heidelberg University head football coach Scott Donaldson listened. Lacey rewarded Donaldson's trust by plunging into the end zone with a last-minute, go-ahead touchdown from two yards out -- capping a frantic fourth quarter. The Student Princes wound up with a 27-24 Homecoming victory over Muskingum University.
Heidelberg improved to 2-2 on the season, 2-1 in the OAC. Muskingum dropped to 2-2 overall, 1-2 in the OAC.
Lacey rushed for a game-high 125 yards and two touchdowns -- on Heidelberg's first offensive play, and its last offensive play. It was the tenth time in his career that Lacey rushed for 100+ yards.
Demetrius Magee led the HU receivers with seven receptions for 99 yards and a touchdown.
The first half yielded a combined nine points and 199 yards of total offense. The fourth quarter saw 35 points and 287 yards of offense.
HOW IT HAPPENED
A ho-hum first half's lone highlight was a 58-yard touchdown rush by Lacey on the game's opening play. Lacey broke through the line and jolted to his right and found a wide-open path to the end zone. A fake PAT pass try failed.
Muskingum place kicker Cody Dent provided the half's only other points, a 35-yard field goal in the waning seconds of the first.
Following a blocked field goal attempt, Muskingum took the lead with a 46-yard pass from Griffin Degener to a wide-open Jordan Scanlon down the right sideline. The PAT pushed the Muskies on top, 10-6 in the third.
The Student Princes answered on the first play of the fourth quarter. Facing 3rd-and-goal from the five, Stoyle threw a fade to Magee in the right corner of the end zone for the score. AJ Morrison added the point after.
Disaster struck two possession later. Backed up in their own end, Stoyle overthrew NIck DeLisa which resulted in a pick-six by Dorian Maynard.
The see-saw final frame continued when Stoyle found Cameron Vocke for a 15-yard touchdown. An exuberant Vocke screamed for the Homecoming faithful lined up along the back of the end zone, having given HU the lead once again.
After the teams traded punts, Muskingum regained the lead when a broken tackle yielded a 75-yard touchdown pass from Degener to Darius Hayes-Carruth.
Lacey's final touchdown came at the end of a seven-play, 75-yard drive that began with 2:29 left. The game-winning drive got off to an inauspicious start as Stoyle was dropped for an 11-yard loss. With HU facing 4th-and-7 from their 28, Stoyle found DeLisa across the middle. The senior from Mentor picked up the first down and broke two tackles before being shoved out at the Muskie 40 with 1:20 remaining. After a holding penalty wiped out a 27-yard Vocke reception, Donaldson called timeout.
After the break, Stoyle connected with Magee on a bubble screen on the right side. Magee, a junior from Rochester Hills, Michigan, used a convoy of blockers to get down to the two yardline -- setting up Lacey's give-me-the-ball heroics with 34 seconds remaining.
Down 27-24, Muskingum was unable to do much in desperation-mode, as their final heave sailed out of bounds as time expired.
The win -- Heidelberg's seventh in a row over Muskingum -- merrily sent the Homecoming throng of more than 2,000 on their way to enjoy other festivities at their Sweet Alma Home.
INSIDE THE BOX SCORE
Magee has scored four touchdowns in the last two games. This was his seventh straight game with a touchdown grab.
The eight sacks from the HU defense was the most since week 10 of the 2014 season. The defense recorded nine sacks in the win.
AJ Morrison set a career high with an average 46.8 yards per punt.
Nick Walsh made ten total tackles in the win -- a new career high.
QUOTES FROM THE COACH
Head coach Scott Donaldson on the 4th quarter surge: "The guys offensively never quit. They always knew someone was going to step up. DeLisa on that 4th and 7 was huge. It was very calm. They always knew they were going to make plays."
Donaldson on Lacey: "When a playmaker like that wants the ball you give him the ball. He's too experienced and he knows what to do with the ball -- he showed that today"
Donaldson on the play of the defense: "The defense played tough. I thought the defensive line was unbelievable today."
Heidelberg visits No. 1 Mount Union (4-0, 3-0) for a 1:30 p.m. matchup next Saturday. The game will be shown via tape delay on SportsTime Ohio.