The Vukovi Belgrade became the first team to not only challenge the Blue Devils, but beat them, 49-48 in a thrilling double overtime game. Reaching 6-0 for the season was by no means easy, but the Vukovi played their best game of the season, and probably even ever, overcoming a shocking ending of the first half.
Holding a 20-14 lead in a surprisingly steady first half for them, in his one bad decision of the game, Jordan Green’s last second long pass in the end zone was intercepted by Joseph Sturdivant, who lateraled to Zach Howard, and with the clock already having hit zero, the Blue Devils found themselves on top 20-21 at the end of the half. When Bradley Guidry passed to Christian Steffani for a 26-35 lead in the third quarter, many thought the Blue Devils would take control and finish out the game. But apparently not the Vukovi, and definitely not Green and the Vukovi defense.
Green ran for a total of three touchdowns and passed for another three, and the defense that was getting torched for most of the game, by probably the best quarterback they ever faced, came up big in the fourth quarter and on the last, slightly controversial play. After both teams scored on their second possession, the seriously undermanned Blue Devils decided to put the outcome of the game on one play — the 2-point conversion. Just as he was involved in the last play of the first half, Sturdivant would be the key player on this one; though he fought his way and touched the pylon, he was ruled to be out of bounds already, and the Vukovi won.
The Blue Devils came close to winning in regulation; with the score tied at 35, Steffani again proved nobody on the Vukovi could cover him, and Guidry hit him for a 50 yard touchdown with under a minute to go. But the Vukovi took advantage of good field position, and with 12 seconds on the clock, Green found Sasa Petaković who managed to get in the end zone. Milan Matović, who missed two extra point attempts, hit the inside of the post on this one, and the game went to overtime. There, both teams missed a field goal attempt, and Green passed for his last scored when he connected with Ivan Ristić, primarily a defensive player, for a touchdown.
On the Blue Devils, Guidry hooked up with Steffani three times for touchdowns, and once with Petr Vitovec. Tino Muggwyler also ran for two scores, but it wasn’t enough. The Vukovi scored a touchdown and the Blue Devils would follow for the entire first half. The Austrians pulled away early in the second half, but the Vukovi got a touchdown from Brandon McDowell and even a field goal to stay close. McDowell also caught one, and had another big game, as did the Vukovi’s receivers, especially Dejan Cerovac, although he didn’t score.
‚I got a lot of breaks; the lineman did a good job to keep blocking, the receivers caught the ball, so… I mean, if they drop those passes it will not… nothing would happen”, says Green. ‚We’ve been ready for this game all season. We knew at some point our backs would be against the wall and obviously in that time period you have to decide if you’re going to give up or if you’ll keep fighting. I think we’ve worked too hard to give it up.”
‚I think it was the whole team effort. I think everyone believed together; offense believed the defense was going to get stops, the defense believed the offense was going to score … We stayed together.”
VUK vs. DEV
|May 31st 09 | 1pm
|Ada Ciganlija | Belgrade