Quarterback Bobby Vega passed for four touchdowns as the Florida Institute of Technology defeated the Alderson Broaddus football team in the inaugural ECAC Futures Bowl hosted Saturday at AB Stadium.
Florida Tech turned the ball on its first two possessions, but the Battlers (4-7) were unable to convert Panther miscues into early touchdowns. ABU did not start a drive in its own end of the field until the final minutes of the first quarter.
ABU came away with three points off the early Tech turnovers and a botched punt attempt. Kicker Jordan Butler connected on a 30-yard field goal attempt after missing a 29-yard try on the previous blue and gold drive for the Battlers' first points of the game. He finished the game 2-for-4 on field goal opportunities.
The Battlers scored their first touchdown of the game trailing 10-3 midway through the second quarter. Freshman quarterback Dakota Bruggeman made his first collegiate start Saturday and marched ABU down the field following a Vega fumble to help the blue and gold retake the lead. He capped a five-play, 24-yard drive with a 12-yard touchdown scamper. Bruggeman rushed for 73 yards and passed for 195 yards in the loss.
Seth Lewis punched in the Battlers' two-point conversion attempt following the Bruggeman TD run to put ABU on top 11-10.
The Battlers looked as if it they the momentum coming out of the locker room, but a fumble on the half's opening kickoff deflated the rowdy blue and gold fans in attendance.
Florida Tech outscored ABU 16-0 in the final 24:04 of the game. Vega ended the game 27-for-40 for 295 yards and four touchdowns. Aaron George caught Vega's last two touchdown passes to secure Tech's first road victory in the 2013 season.
Milton and linebacker Nathan McDowell earned Offensive and Defensive Player of the Game honors respectively. McDowell led the Panthers with eight tackles and tied for the team lead with two sacks and two tackles for loss.
Alderson Broaddus finished its first varsity football season with an overall record of 4-7.
"We know what we have to do now in terms of the recruiting part of it," Alderson Broaddus Head Football Coach Denny Creehan said. "So we've got to approach it that way and just build ourselves up. We're going to continue to do it the same way. We're going to build from the bottom up. We're going to build with freshmen and in a couple of years, it'll be us holding those trophies up in the air."
"We all got the experience of winning and losing and traveling and everything. Next year, we'll just be more mature. We'll all have a year under our belts. It'll all be the same stuff, going through the same stuff. We'll be more efficient and everything will be a lot easier," Battlers freshman quarterback Dakota Bruggeman said.
The 2013 Alderson Broaddus football season has been a season of firsts and the Battlers will make history again on Saturday, Nov. 23, 2013 as they host the first-ever Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Futures Bowl against the Florida Institute of Technology.
"We recruited these kids and told them they could make history and this is one more opportunity to do just that," said Head Coach Denny Creehan. "This is another first-ever they get to play in and this one is on a much larger stage. We are very humbled and honored to be a part of this event. I think this is a fantastic opportunity for our University and our players. We are very grateful to the ECAC for this opportunity. This bowl game means the world to us. This bowl game gives us more exposure, our players another opportunity to play and opens us up to another part of the country. This is just one more notch in our belt as we continue to build this program."
The game is scheduled to kick-off Saturday at 2 p.m. ET and tickets are first come first serve. General admission seating is $5 and chair-back seating is $10. Fans interested in purchasing tickets to Saturday's game can contact the athletic department at (304) 457-6262 or buy their tickets at the gate on game day.
ABU finished the regular season with a 4-6 overall record and earned wins over Pace University, Virginia University of Lynchburg, Warner University and Point University.
Florida Tech, a member of the Gulf South Conference, wrapped up its first varsity season with a 4-7 overall mark.