MORRIS, Minn. – The Westminster football team won a close game over Minnesota-Morris 17-14 on Saturday, thanks in part to three field goals including a record-breaking 58-yard kick. The Blue Jays move to 3-5 overall and 3-3 in UMAC play.
The first field goal came from Brad Hammel, who split the uprights from 39 yards out at the beginning of the second quarter to give the Blue Jays a 3-0 lead. Late in the first half, the Westminster special teams units continued to be the story of the game as the Blue Jays recovered a fumble on a punt at midfield with just 21 seconds half in the half. Westminster quarterback Bryce Moorman ran for 10 yards to put his team in scoring range with 13 seconds left in the quarter. After Moorman's next pass fell incomplete, Westminster Head Coach John Welty called on sophomore kicker Tim Branneky to attempt a 58-yard field goal.
Branneky drilled the ball through the uprights to put Westminster up 6-0 at halftime. Branneky's field goal kick broke the record for the longest field goal in program history. The previous record of 43 yards was set by Kevin Ludwig in a 2015 game vs. MacMurray.
"Kicking is something that we have been working on every day since the first day of training camp," said Welty. "We have two very good kickers in Brad and Tim and their performances today reflect that."
The Cougars scored the first touchdown of the game late in the third quarter on an 11-yard pass and went ahead 7-6 on the extra point. Westminster picked up two first downs on the next drive thanks to long rushes by Kalyn Davis and DeQuintin Smith before having to punt the ball back to the Cougars. The Cougars opened the fourth quarter with the ball leading 7-6. Minnesota-Morris picked up two first downs before having to punt after Clayton Bristol stopped the Cougar ballcarrier short of a first down.
On the first play after the punt, Moorman scrambled to avoid the pass rush from the Cougar defense and completed a pass to an open Travion Mosby. Mosby caught the ball behind his defender and ran free down the sideline for an 86 yard touchdown to put Westminster back on top. Davis ran into the two-point conversion to give the Blue Jays a 14-7 lead.
"As the game went on Bryce stepped up for us. He did a good job of scrabbling to find Travion for that touchdown," said Welty. "He managed the game well for us today."
Brannkey added this second field goal of the day on a kick from 45 yards out to put Westminster up 17-7 with 3:03 left in the game. The field goal came off a 12-play drive that ate up over five minutes of game time. Taylor Dobbins ran for 29 yards on six carries on the drive for the Blue Jays.
Minnesota-Morris got within three points with a touchdown and extra point with 1:44 left on the clock but the Blue Jays were able to run out the clock and come out with a 17-14 victory.
Moorman went 11-19 passing for 176 yards and a touchdown. Mosby recorded over 100 receiving yard for the third time this season with a four catch, 107-yard performance today. Dobbins reached 109 total yards with 79 rushing yards and 30 receiving yards.
The Blue Jays will play their final home game of the season next Saturday against Crown.