CARLISLE, Pa. -- Western Maryland took a 17-0 second-period lead and led 24-10 in the third quarter against Dickinson &L; yesterday, but the Red Devils scored the final four touchdowns and won the Centennial Conference game, 38-24.
Dickinson, which had 21 points in the final period, has outscored its six opponents in the fourth quarter by a margin of 97-14.
Even in the final minute, it looked as if Western Maryland was about to go in for a touchdown and tie the score or go ahead if it made a two-point conversion.
With 53 seconds to play and Dickinson leading 31-24, the Green Terror had the ball on the 3-yard line. On third down, quarterback Brian Van Deusen looked for an open receiver, twisted to get away from a tackler, and falling, threw the ball to Dickinson linebacker Matt Bixler -- who ran 95 yards for the game's final touchdown.
"He hit me right in the shoulder pads," said Bixler, who ran back two interceptions. "I was going to down the ball, but I saw an opening and ran in. I didn't want to run all that way for nothing."
"I feel badly for Van Deusen," said Western Maryland coach Ken Keating. "When your best player doesn't come through in the pinch, nobody feels worse about it than he does."
Van Deusen holds seven school career passing records and four conference records.
Western Maryland is 3-2-1 overall, 2-1-1 in the league. Perennial power Dickinson is 5-1 and 3-0.
In the first half, Dickinson did not look like a team going for its eighth straight conference title.
Western Maryland, on its first possession, drove 83 yards on 12 plays for a touchdown. Van Deusen ran off right tackle for the touchdown. Zippy Mackie's conversion made it 7-0.
Late in the first period, the Green Terror's Kevin Brown returned a punt 30 yards to Dickinson's 33. Three passes moved Western Maryland to the 4.
On the first play of the second period, Gavin DeFreitas ran 4 yards for a touchdown. Mackie's extra-point kick made it 14-0.
Western Maryland .. .7 ..10 ..7 ..0 ..-- ..24
Dickinson .. .. .. ..0 ...7 .10 .21 ..-- ..38