VALPARAISO, Ind. (AP)Freshman Braden Contreras pulled in the winning touchdown pass, getting a foot down in the corner of the end zone with 25 seconds left as Valparaiso upended San Diego 20-19 in a season finale on Saturday.
It was Valparaiso’s (4-2, 4-2 Pioneer Football League) first win over San Diego (4-2, 4-2) since 2003.
The loss foiled the Toreros hopes for a share of their fourth straight and twelfth overall PFL championship. Davidson had already locked up the PFL’s automatic bid into the FCS playoffs with a win over San Diego.
Defenses on both sides were dominant. San Diego shut down Valparaiso’s premier running back Robert Washington to 32 yards on 19 carries, nearly 100 yards shy of his average (124.2).
Valparaiso held Mason Randall to 15 pass completions in 29 attempts for a season-low 204 yards and kept the Toreros scoreless for nearly 22 minutes into the second half while working into a 13-13 tie.
Randall threw a dart over the middle to Michael Carner for a 25-yard touchdown as the Toreros grabbed a 19-13 lead with 8:27 left to play. Carner, the PFL’s second-leading receiver, had made just one catch until the go-ahead drive.
San Diego’s point-after kick was blocked by defensive lineman Drew Gedrys, his second blocked PAT of the game.
Ben Nimz was 10-of-21 passing for 193 yards for Valparaiso. Nimz, who was replaced for much of the second half by the more mobile Gabe Lawson, came in for the winning series and was 3-for-3 passing, including a sharp toss over a defender’s shoulder to Contreras for the win.
Christian Brown had 107 yards receiving on five catches with a touchdown for San Diego. Carner finished with four catches for 80 yards.
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