Kicker Steve Hauschka connected on a 53-yard field goal with 17 seconds remaining in overtime to send the Las Vegas Locos to a thrilling 24-21 victory over the Hartford Colonials on Saturday afternoon at Sam Boyd Stadium.
The game marked the first regular-season contest to go to overtime in UFL history. In an exciting climax, Hartford’s Taylor Mehlhaff missed wide right on a 38-yard field goal attempt with five minutes left in overtime as a strong wind played its part. Both teams had failed to score on their opening possessions of the extra period.
Trailing 21-13, Josh McCown led Hartford on a furious late touchdown drive to send the tight game to overtime, moving the Colonials 69 yards on 11 plays in just more than five minutes. Tight end Tyson Devree caught a 4-yard touchdown pass from McCown with 1:04 to play, then McCown hit wideout Syndric Steptoe on a quick pass for the tying two-point conversion to tie the game.
A crowd of 8,451 watched the Locos move to 4-1 at the top of the UFL standings, while the Colonials fell to 1-4, and Commissioner Michael Huyghue said: “We remain committed to Las Vegas as a UFL city and we love these fans who continue to show their devotion to the Locos and our league. It was a beautiful day and there was a great atmosphere in Sam Boyd Stadium where the crowd was treated to a close and exciting game that went to overtime.
“Of course we would like to have more people in the stands, but this is a building process. Today’s crowd of 8,451 is still a good showing in a market where there are so many alternatives on a Saturday afternoon.”
Las Vegas started its final drive at its own 20-yard line aiming to , but played very conservatively on short runs and passes and eventually allowed the clock to expire at its own 41-yard line. Adam Bergen and Marcel Shipp scored second-half touchdowns to help Las Vegas erase a 13-7 halftime deficit.
Derek Walker had rumbled 83 yards on a fumble recovery to put Hartford in front in the first half. Walker, a 268-pound defensive end, scooped up the ball after Emanuel Cook stripped Locos quarterback Drew Willy on a rollout. With a blocking convoy in tow, Walker ran all the way down the left sideline to set a league fumble return record, putting Hartford (1-3) back in front, 10-7, with 44 seconds left in the half.
The Colonials added three points on the final play of the half on a 24-yard field goal by Mehlhaff. Harry Coleman recovered a DeDe Dorsey fumble at the Las Vegas 27-yard line on the Locos’ first play after the Hartford touchdown to set up the score.
Both offenses struggled to move the ball for most of the first half, but the Locos cashed in after a gutsy call by coach Jim Fassel. Facing 4th-and-11 from the Hartford 33-yard line, Fassel elected to go for it instead of trying a long field goal. First-time starting quarterback Drew Willy rewarded Fassel’s choice by hitting Tab Perry with a 12-yard pass to keep the drive going.
Shortly after, Dorsey took a handoff and danced through the left side of the line before shaking a defender near the goal line to complete his 19-yard scoring run and give Las Vegas (3-1) its only points of the half with 4:27 left in the second quarter.
Hartford also scored at the end of a nine-play, 50-yard drive midway through the second quarter on a 25-yard field goal by Mehlhaff. The Colonials recovered an onside kick on the next play, but quickly gave the ball back to Las Vegas when Andre Dixon fumbled on a hit by Lewis Baker and Antwan Lake recovered.
The Locos thought they had the game’s first score early in the second quarter when Hartford tight end Tyson Devree fumbled following a hard hit at the Colonials 45-yard line and Isaiah Trufant returned the ball to the end zone. Hartford coach Chris Palmer threw the blue challenge flag, though, and won when replay officials ruled Devree down by contact prior to the fumble.
About The United Football League
The UFL provides high-quality professional football during a traditional fall season while embracing innovation and fan interaction. The UFL serves its local communities with pride and dedication, and aims to provide every fan with an exciting and memorable game experience. The inaugural 2009 champion Las Vegas Locos will battle the Florida Tuskers, Hartford Colonials, Omaha Nighthawks and Sacramento Mountain Lions for the William Hambrecht Trophy in 2010. All games will be shown live on Versus, HDNet and the New England Sports Network. The UFL is led by Commissioner Michael Huyghue and is funded by a consortium of private investors. For season tickets, more information and to interact with passionate football fans, please visit www.UFL-Football.com.