FROSTBURG, Md. – With both the Regents Cup and the New Jersey Athletic Conference title on the line it was only fitting that the game be decided in overtime, for the second straight season, with No. 6 Frostburg State University claiming a thrilling 38-35 victory. With the win the Bobcats claim the NJAC title for the second straight season and earn the conference's automatic bid to the 2018 NCAA Division III Football Tournament.
Frank Pipich Jr., who was making his first collegiate start at quarterback, was impressive throughout the afternoon for the Sea Gulls (8-2, 7-2 NJAC) accounting for 220 total yards including a team-best 189 rushing yards, and three scores with two rushing touchdowns. For his efforts, Pipich was named Salisbury's Mike McGlinchey Most Valuable Player for the game.
The Salisbury offense started off strong, scoring on three of its first four drives as both Kadarrius Campbell and Raekwon McCarter found the end zone in the first quarter. Campbell, who finished the afternoon with 134 rushing yards on 14 carries, scampered in from 6 yards out to level the score at 7-7 less than five minutes into the contest.
McCarter helped the level the score at 14-14 later in the first quarter scoring on an 8-yard run. McCarter would finish his afternoon with 48 yards on six carries while adding one score and crucial two-point conversion play early in the fourth quarter.
On the Sea Gulls' fourth possession of the second quarter, Pipich continued his solid play tossing his first collegiate touchdown pass connecting with Noah Rohrer from 8 yards out to give the Gulls a 20-14 lead. The touchdown pass capped off a four-play, 57-yard drive that took less than two minutes off the clock.
However, the Bobcats (9-0, 8-0 NJAC) responded just before halftime when Connor Cox connected with Lincoln Ikwubuo to retake the lead and head into the break with a 21-20 advantage.
After a scoreless third quarter the Salisbury offense went to work led by Pipich who marched the offense 80 yards in nine plays for the go-ahead score. Pipich accounted for 76 of the 80 yards including a 23-yard pass to Cameron Carlyle. Pipich picked a key first down on fourth and four, rushing for 30 yards and then punched it in from 3 yards out to put the visitors ahead.
After Frostburg leveled the score at 28-28, Pipich answered with his longest run of the game, going 80 yards for the 35-28 lead with seven minutes left to play.
However, the Bobcats would respond with Cox connecting with Ikwubuo, who found some open space in the back of the end zone, with 1:37 left to play in regulation.
In overtime, Jeremy Harrison connected on a 37-yard field goal to put the home team up 38-35. The game would come down to the final possession of overtime but a fumble on the first play that was recovered by the Bobcats would end the game and send the title and Regents Cup home with Frostburg St.