MOUNT UNION - It took a defensive stop to decipher the difference between two explosive offenses.
Mount Union stopped Tussey Mountain's two-point conversion with 32 seconds left and the Titans fell to Mount Union 27-25 in an Inter-County Conference football game on Friday night at Mount Union.
"Our guys have fought in every game we've been in," Tussey Mountain coach Josh Smith said. "They don't quit. We just ran out of time in this game."
BJ Loner did most of the damage for Mount Union, scoring twice in the game's final 10 minutes, including a 70-yard kick return to put the Trojans ahead.
"He's a good player and a great athlete," Smith said. "They do a great job getting him the ball a lot of different ways."
It didn't take long for Tussey Mountain to get points on the board. Daniel Taylor intercepted Mount Union quarterback Trevon Walker's first pass of the night and returned it to the Mount Union 14-yard line.
Four plays later, Tussey quarterback Quinn Barnett hit Darrin Sipes for a 7-yard score and a 7-0 lead.
That was all the Titans' offense could do in the first half, going scoreless the following 21-plus minutes.
Field position and turnovers were accountable for that.
"I think [turnovers] definitely had a big impact," Smith said. "We have a hard time if we turn the ball over and give them position."
The Titans started inside their own 25-yard line three times and they lost two fumbles on center-quarterback exchanges.
Mount Union finally took advantage of winning those battles at the end of the opening half.
After forcing Tussey Mountain to punt from its own 9 yard-line, Mount Union took control at the Tussey 43 yard-line.
Klayton Heffner returned the punt to the Titans 20 yard-line then Walker hit Dylan Smith and Keiton Pollock with back-to-back completions.
Walker scrambled two yards to the opposing one, where he set up Darrian Stapelton for a 1-yard plunge, putting the Trojans up 14-7.
Tussey answered with 1:38 left in the when Kyle Kline took a pitch and hit Lance Barnett for a 5-yard touchdown on the halfback pass to make it 14-13 after the extra point hit the upright.
The Mount Union offense stalled out and Sipes took a carry around the left end for a 78-yard touchdown, his second touchdown of the night to give the Titans a 19-14 lead.
The Trojans made that lead last 13 seconds.
Mount Union ran a reverse of the ensuing kickoff and Loner outran the entire Tussey Mountain defense for the go-ahead touchdown and following extra point.
"That reverse definitely took the momentum back away from us," Smith said. "That being said, a credit to our guys, they fired back."
Loner's second touchdown of the night, a 15-yard reception was followed by a blocked extra point, making it an eight point Trojans advantage.
Tussey Mountain scored when Lance Barnett got behind the Mount Union defense to make it 27-25.
Tussey Mountain couldn't convert the two-point play.
The Titans then recovered the ensuing onside kick.
Quinn Barnett's desperation heave with 13 seconds left was picked off by Smith for Tussey Mountain's fifth turnover of the night.
One kneel down later, Mount Union claimed victory.
Tussey Mountain falls to 7-2 on the season and will finish their season next Friday when they travel to Meyersdale.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Tussey Mountain7 0 6 12 - 25
Mount Union7 7 0 13 - 27
TM - Sipes 8 pass from Q. Barnett (Wentz kick), 9:27.
MU - D. Smith 1 run (Low kick), 5:53.
MU - Stapleton 1 run (Low kick), :28.
TM - L. Barnett 4 pass from Kline (kick failed), 1:38.
TM - Sipes 76 run (pass failed), 10:05.
MU - Loner 80 kickoff return (Low kick), 9:52.
MU - Loner 12 pass from Walker (kick blocked), 5:52.
TM - L. Barnett 40 pass from Q. Barnett (pass failed), :32.
RUSHING: Tussey Mountain-Sipes 12-139, Taylor 10-26, Kline 7-16, Q. Barnett 4-3, TEAM 1(-2). Mount Union-Mount Union-Loner 8-83, D. Smith 11-42, Walker 7-14, Stapleton 6-9, D. Kyler 1-3, TEAM 3-(-7).
PASSING: Tussey Mountain-Q. Barnett 6-21-3-146, Kline 1-1-0-4, Taylor 1-1-0-14. Mount Union - Walker 8-17-1-88, D. Kyler 0-1-0-0.
RECEIVING: Tussey Mountain-L. Barnett 4-63, Sipes 2-52, Taylor 1-35, Lemin 1-14. Mount Union- D. Kyler 3-28, Heffner 1-16, Goodrich 1-14, Loner 1-12, Pollock 1-11, D. Smith 1-7.
INTERCEPTIONS: Tussey Mountain-Taylor. Mount Union-Loner, Heffner, D. Smith.