They drove 38 yards and scored on a one-yard touchdown run by Talo Pascal as time expired. Richard Haley then dove over the line for the two-point conversion.
Minnesota, Crookston put an exclamation mark at the end of its season Saturday with a improbable 37-36 victory over Mary at Alerus Center in Grand Forks.
The season finishes for U of M, Crookston at 2-9 overall. It was the most wins in a season for the Golden Eagles since 2004. Mary finished its season at 4-7.
The Golden Eagles, trailing 36-29 in the fourth quarter, recovered a fumble with a little more than four minutes remaining, then drove 38 yards and scored on a one-yard touchdown run by Talo Pascal as time expired.
Then, instead of kicking the extra point and going into overtime, Golden Eagle Head Coach Paul Miller made the call to go for two points. Richard Haley then leaped over the line for the two-point conversion, giving the Golden Eagles their second Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference victory of the season.
"At that point we were going to win the game," Coach Miller said of his decision. "There was no question about going for it. This is exciting for everyone. The team hung in there until the end. We made plays we haven't made previously. I'm happy for the nine seniors that have been here for some tough times."
Golden Eagle running back Richard Haley said he never thought he wouldn't make the two-point conversion.
"My offensive lineman told me if I didn't score they would jump me in the locker room after the game," Haley said jokingly after the big win. "I was just thinking 'I have to score. I must score.'"
Senior linebacker Cecil Brown said this win will help the Golden Eagles next season.
"The defense stuck to it and matched their tempo," he said. "This will make us that much better next year. It means a lot. God is good. This is a great way to send the seniors out."
Running back Keith McBride, who is listed as a senior but has been granted another year of eligibility, said he'd never experienced anything like that game.
"This means a lot, " he said. "I've never been in a situation like that. It was unbelievable."
UMC sophomore quarterback A.J. Barge completed 26 of 36 passes for 318 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. Junior wide receiver Keith Osgood had one throw, a 45-yard touchdown pass. Junior wide receiver Marcus Cheatham had four receptions for 79 yards and two touchdowns. McBride had nine receptions for 130 yards. Freshman wide receiver Josh Ross also had nine receptions for 109 yards.
Haley rushed 29 times for 87 yards.
Minnesota, Crookston's offensive success, which was a season high in points, was due to its third down success, converting on nine of 17 third downs.
Brown and junior linebacker Andrew Hall each had eight tackles.
Golden Eagle senior kicker Stephen Henderson hit a pair of field goals in the first half from 43 and 47 yards.
"The coaches had confidence in me and I went out there focused," he said after the game. "This win means so much. Being a senior, I'll never play with these guys again."
Henderson started out the scoring in the game with his 43-yard field goal with 11:33 left in the first quarter. Senior defensive back Freedom McCullough intercepted a Mary pass to set up the field goal.
Mary later answered with a 77-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Craig Bagnell to Elby Pope with 1:39 left in the first quarter.
Minnesota, Crookston took back its lead just eight seconds into the second quarter on a 21-yard touchdown pass from Barge to Cheatham, capping a 75-yard, four-play drive.
The Marauders answered right back with a 27-yard field goal by Tyler Ryan with 12:21 left in the second quarter, tying the game at 10-10.
The Golden Eagles responded with seven-play, 75-yard drive that was capped by a 45-yard touchdown pass from Osgood to Cheatham with 9:27 left in the second quarter.
Then, Henderson added his 47-yard field goal with 3:22 remaining after an interception by junior defensive back Paul Webster.
Mary closed out the first half scoring with a one-yard touchdown pass from Bagnell to Tyler Steffan with 52 seconds left. UMC junior linebacker Ricky Jacobs blocked the ensuing extra point kick, keeping the UMC lead at 20-16.
The Golden Eagles started the second half with a ten-play, 75-yard drive that was capped by a one-yard touchdown pass from Barge to freshman tight end Lucas Foley with 9:30 left in the third quarter. The drive was helped by a 32-yard pass play from Barge to Ross. McBride also had a key 12-yard reception on third and three.
Mary answered right back, though with a 19-yard touchdown pass from Bagnell to Steffan with 7:01 left in the third quarter. Jacobs blocked the ensuing extra point, though, and Webster returned it for a defensive two points, making it 29-22 UMC.
Mary tied the game at 29-29 after Barge fumbled on the next UMC possession and Bagnell hit Evan Gross with an 11-yard touchdown pass with 3:48 left in the third quarter.
Following a Golden Eagle three and out, the Marauders took the lead when Bagnell and D.J. Young connected for a ten-yard touchdown with 25 seconds left in the third quarter, giving Mary a 36-29 lead.
The biggest turnover of the game came with 4:13 left in the fourth quarter when sophomore defensive lineman Drew Selvestra sacked Bagnell and forced a fumble recovered by Joe Stearly on the 38-yard line.
Barge hit Ross with a 16-yard pass over the middle taking the Golden Eagles down to the one-yard line with about 40 seconds remaining.
After two rushes for one-yard loss and an incomplete pass, the Golden Eagles faced fourth and goal at the two. Barge threw an incomplete pass to Osgood, who drew a pass interference penalty against Mary, bringing the ball to the one with 1.8 seconds left. On fourth and goal again, Barge faked a hand off to Haley, who leaped into the end zone, and pitched to Pascal, who ran right, untouched into the end zone as time expired.
Barge threw an incomplete pass to McBride on the two-point conversion attempt, but a defensive pass interference call game UMC another shot. Haley then ended it with his leap into the end zone.