Collin Ironside directs game-winning drive as VMI defeats Davidson 12-7 in opener

LEXINGTON, Va. (AP) — Collin Ironside hit VJ Johnson with a last-minute touchdown pass and VMI rallied to defeat Davidson 12-7 on Saturday, giving Danny Rocco a dramatic victory in his debut as coach of the Keydets.

VMI took possession with 4:19 left in the game and Ironside led a 12-play, 85-yard drive that produced what would be the winning score. The drive included three third-down conversions, one a 28-yard pass to Aidan Twombly on third-and-20. Ironside hit Johnson with a 25-yard hookup with 51 seconds remaining. The two-point conversion attempt was unsuccessful.

Davidson's final drive gained only 12 yards and ended with an interception.

The game-winning drive came after the Keydets went three-and-out on their first three possessions of the second half and Caden Beck, who earlier missed a PAT, missed a 42-yard field goal attempt early in the fourth quarter.

Davidson (0-1) managed only 184 yards on offense but took a 7-6 lead in the third quarter when Luke Durkin hit Christian Berry for a 24-yard touchdown pass.

Durkin was 6-of-12 passing for 83 yards with a touchdown and an interception.

For VMI, Ironside completed 17 of 27 passes for 239 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Rashad Raymond had 62 yards on the ground to lead the Keydets' 173-yard rushing effort. Grant Swinehart had a 14-yard touchdown run.

Rocco, the 33rd coach in VMI history, had previous head-coaching success at Liberty, Richmond, and Delaware. He served as a defensive analyst last season at Penn State, helping the Nittany Lions to a 10-2 regular-season record.

Davidson has made three consecutive FCS playoff appearances and has five straight winning seasons.

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