As time expired, a few Georgetown players fell to their knees in relief. Others ran around the field, jumping into each other's arms and hugging. Some shed tears.
After 10 straight Patriot League losses, the Georgetown Hoyas had their first conference victory since joining the league last season.
Wide receiver Walter Bowser caught a 19-yard touchdown pass from quarterback David Paulus with 13 seconds remaining to lift the Hoyas to a 32-31 comeback victory over Bucknell yesterday before 1,011 at Harbin Field.
Bowser's second touchdown of the game capped an impressive showing by the Hoyas' offense in the second half. Georgetown (3-5, 1-4 Patriot League) trailed 17-0 at halftime, but scored 32 points after that behind Paulus's five touchdown passes.
"I can't even explain [how it feels]; I just want to cry right now," said wide receiver Luke McArdle, who caught a school-record 14 passes for a career-high 188 yards and two touchdowns.
"We put in all that effort to make the comeback. I'm just so happy. We put in everything we had, every ounce we had."
The game-winning touchdown did not go exactly as designed. Rather, it was a result of some improvisation by Bowser.
"My coach will kill me about this, but Walter was not supposed to run that route," Paulus said. "He came up to me in the huddle and said, 'Dave, this [defender] has been pressing me all day. I can really beat him.' And he did."
Paulus lofted the pass into the left corner of the end zone where Bowser, who had gotten clear of the defensive back, reached up and snagged the ball. The play capped a 15-play, 81-yard drive that began with 2 minutes 13 seconds remaining in the game.
It was a remarkable comeback by a team that had gained a mere 61 yards in total offense before halftime. Paulus, who was 8 of 15 for 70 yards in the first half, finished with 350 yards on 31-of-48 passing. His scrambling ability, along with the improved second-half performance by the offensive line, was key to Georgetown's win.
"Our offensive line got more confident," Bowser said. "They got better as the game went along. When they did that, we made some passes."
Georgetown began its aerial attack early after halftime. The Hoyas ran the ball only twice during their first drive of the half, a six-play, 64-yard drive that culminated in Bowser's 34-yard touchdown reception.
But as has been their modus operandi this season, the Hoyas didn't make it easy on themselves the rest of the way.
Bucknell (2-5, 0-3) took advantage of a fumble by Paulus that gave the Bison the ball on the Georgetown 20-yard line in the third quarter. Four plays later, Raphael Darrington scored on a 7-yard run to put Bucknell ahead 24-7.
With 1:23 left in the third quarter, McArdle made it 24-14 when he caught a 10-yard touchdown pass from Paulus. He caught another touchdown pass, this one for 20 yards, early in the fourth quarter. Although the Hoyas' two-point conversion failed, they trailed only 24-20 with 11:40 remaining.
After Bucknell scored following a turnover on downs, Georgetown answered with a seven-play, 70-yard drive that culminated in William Huisking's 17-yard touchdown reception. The two-point conversion attempt failed, making it 31-26.
* HAMPDEN-SYDNEY 30, CATHOLIC 20: The Cardinals lost on the road in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference game. Catholic (3-4, 1-2) surrendered 439 yards on defense, and committed three turnovers on offense. Quarterback Joe Hafera competed 8 of 15 passes for 168 yards and two touchdowns.
* GALLAUDET 34, WALTER REED 0: The Bison won their final home game of the season, capturing the Seaboard Football Conference game Jason Coleman had 95 yards rushing on 13 carries and one touchdown for Gallaudet (2-6, 1-2), and Junior Kargbo rushed for 70 yards and two touchdowns.