Scott’s 6 TDs lift UIW past Sacramento State 66-63 in highest-scoring FCS Playoff game ever

Cardinals advance to FCS Semifinals for first time, will face defending champs NDSU

FILE - UIW quarterback Lindsey Scott scores a rushing touchdown in the first quarter of the Cardinals' 48-20 victory over McNeese State on Saturday, October 1, 2022. (Andrew Cely, KSAT)

SACRAMENTO, Calif – UIW’s historic season continues.

Quarterback Lindsey Scott Jr threw the game-winning touchdown pass to Taylor Grimes with 27 seconds left, as the No. 7 Cardinals defeated No. 2 Sacramento State on the road 66-63 and advanced to the FCS Semifinals for the first time in program history. This was the highest-scoring game in FCS Playoff history. Scott completed 19 of his 31 passes for 219 yards and four touchdowns. He also carried the ball 19 times for 166 yards and a pair of scores.

UIW seized control of a back-and-forth game in the second quarter. Scott found Roger McCuller for a two-yard touchdown with 2:56 left in the half for a 21-17 lead. Chris Whittaker recovered a fumble on the ensuing drive, and the Cardinals took advantage immediately. Running back Marcus Cooper capped a nine-play, 39-yard drive with a four-yard TD run to send UIW into halftime with a 28-17 advantage.

Sacramento State rallied to tie the game at 31-31 late in the third quarter on Asher O’Hara’s 16-yard touchdown pass to Pierre Williams, but the Cardinals answered right back. Scott hit Darion Chafin for a 47-yard TD strike, and UIW went up 38-31. The lead ballooned to 11 points on the Cardinals’ next possession. Scott broke free for a 64-yard touchdown run on the first play of the fourth quarter, giving UIW a 45-34 lead.

That’s when this game turned on its head.

On the next Hornets possession, running back Cameron Skattebo found Marshel Martin for a 19-yard score. Sacramento State then recovered an onside kick and scored six plays later on quarterback Jake Dunniway’s 14-yard TD pass to Martin for a stunning 48-45 lead. Not to be outdone, UIW responded three plays later. Cooper broke free for a 67-yard touchdown run that vaulted the Cardinals back in front 52-48. Cooper finished the night with 22 carries for 176 yards and two TDs. On Sacramento State’s next possession, the Cardinals sacked O’Hara and forced a fumble. Kelechi Anyalebechi scooped it up and returned it 55 yards for a game-changing touchdown that once again gave UIW an 11-point lead 59-48. That was Anyalebechi’s fourth touchdown return this season.

But Sacramento State found a way to rally back once again. Dunniway hit Pierre Williams for a 17-yard touchdown that cut the deficit to three points, and after recovering yet another onside kick, Martin rushed in for a four-yard score to give the Hornets an improbable 63-59 lead with 1:43 left in regulation.

The Cardinals would not be denied. With 27 seconds left, Scott dialed up a deep ball and Taylor Grimes made a remarkable, backpedaling, 21-yard touchdown grab that put UIW back on top 66-63. That would prove to be the game-winner. The Hornets’ last-ditch ‘Hail Mary’ effort fell incomplete in the end zone, and the Cardinals celebrated another dramatic victory.

UIW now advances to face the 9-time defending FCS National Champion North Dakota State Bison in the Fargodome. No. 3 NDSU defeated No. 6 Samford 27-9 in their FCS Semifinal matchup this evening.

About the Author:

Andrew has covered athletics of all levels for more than five years and is dedicated to shining a spotlight on local San Antonio athletes and their stories.