Cole’s game-winner helps CCSU fend off Merrimack 40-37

NEW BRITAIN, Conn. (AP) — Francis Cole drove a 44-yard field goal through the uprights with six seconds showing on the clock and Central Connecticut halted a Merrimack rally in a 40-37 victory Saturday night.

Central Connecticut (2-0) saw a comfortable 37-14 lead evaporate as Merrimack, playing its first season of Division I football, strung together three unanswered touchdowns to knot the score at 37-all with less than a minute remaining.

Christian Carter threaded a 21-yard pass to Marquis Spence in the end zone for the tie.

Three Aaron Winchester completions, including a 26-yarder to Tyshaun James, hustled the Blue Devils to a first-and-15 at the 27-yard line with eight seconds remaining. Cole lined up his 44-yard attempt from the left hashmark and drilled it through for the win.

Winchester threw for 199 yards and two scores. He picked up 75 yards rushing. James rushed for two TDs.

Carter completed 23 of 43 passes for 278 yards and four TDs. The Warriors, who are members of the Northeast Conference and ineligible for postseason play until 2023, gained just nine yards rushing. Spence caught eight passes for 83 yards and three scores.