Nighthawks Defeat Mountain Lions in Front of Second Sold-Out Stadium
OMAHA, Neb --The "Rumble at Rosenblatt" was slow in developing Saturday night.
But the rumble generated by the Omaha Nighthawks' record crowd of 23,416 when the clock hit 0:00 was all one needed to feel.
The Nighthawks (2-0) stayed atop the early-season United Football League standings thanks to a 20-17 victory over the Sacramento Mountain Lions (1-2). It was the second consecutive fourth-quarter come-from-behind victory authored by Omaha quarterback Jeff Garcia, whose 13-yard touchdown pass to tight end Jed Putzier with 4:59 remaining was the difference.
"To come out of that game and be able to win it, guys played a full 60 minutes, but there's things we need to be better at," said Omaha head coach Jeff Jagodzinski, referring specifically to 11 penalties for 97 yards in mark-offs. "The penalty situation, that's on me. We're just a better football team than what we played.
"We'll get a good gain, and then we'd get a holding call. We never stayed on track until the end. It's a lack of discipline, and that falls on me. We'll get that fixed - fast."
Saturday night's game was one of runs. Omaha was ahead 12-0 late in the second quarter thanks to a 46-yard Jeff Wolfert field goal, the first defensive safety in UFL history and a 41-yard Garcia-to-Devard Darling touchdown pass.
The Mountain Lions began to chip away at the deficit right before halftime, when quarterback Daunte Culpepper pump-faked, then hit wide receiver Rod Windsor with a 47-yard scoring strike. Sacramento then was down 12-10 after a 20-yard field goal by Fabrizio Scaccia with 4:29 left in the third quarter.
Culpepper hit wide receiver Taye Biddle with an 11-yard touchdown pass early in the fourth quarter, giving Sacramento a 17-12 lead - but setting up Garcia's heroics.
"It was quite a ball game," said Mountain Lions head coach Dennis Green. "They were more opportunistic than we were. We made a great effort to come back. When we had to stop them, we didn't. When we needed to score, we didn't.
"The fight is there, we just can't always rely on being Houdini."
Green enjoyed the atmosphere that surrounded Saturday night's contest.
"I'm really excited for the community," he said. "That's really what it's all about. We're trying to give them that appetite for the United Football League, and, clearly, Omaha gets it. I think it's great for the league."