Mexico: Borregos Monterrey capture title in last second comeback win over Tigres UANL in ONEFA Championship Game

The much-anticipated day arrived for fans of college American football in Mexico and the sold out crowd at Gaspar Mass Stadium was treated to a thriller as the Borregos from the Tecnológico de Monterrey, Monterrey campus scored with 22 seconds on the clock to defeat arch rivals, the Tigres from the Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León (UANL) 31-27 to capture their second straight title.

The Borregos defeated the Tigres in last year’s final as well.

Tec de Monterrey sought to crown themselves once again, putting up a strong offensive performance against a formidable UANL team. Ultimately, they emerged victorious in a game of twists and turns that was decided in the closing moments.

Borregos demonstrated superiority in the first quarter, showcasing a more effective offense under the command of quarterback Fernando Sarabia, who proved efficient in the passing game and was awarded the Most Valuable Player of the game. Tec de Monterrey advanced to the 1-yard line in the first offensive series, with Sarabia executing a “Tush Push” play in true Borrego style. With Leonardo Guajardo’s extra point, they took a 7-0 lead.

The Tigres displayed limited firepower in the aerial attack, relying on the ground game. However, their efforts were hindered by the league’s best defense, coupled with the struggles of quarterback Patricio Quiroga, who faced two interceptions, one of them by Fabritzzio Mejía when Tigres threatened to score. Borregos added three more points with a 25-yard field goal from Guajardo, ending the first half with a 10-0 lead, dominating the opening two periods.

The Tigres rallied in the second half and in the first offensive series of the third quarter, they closed the gap with a 6-yard rushing touchdown from Axel Montini. However, they missed the extra point, settling for a 10-6 score. On the ensuing kickoff, Borregos returner Eduardo Ortega bobbled and then fumbled the ball and Tigres defender Edwyn Cabello recovered it in the end zone flipping the score to 13-10.

Intensity heightened on the field, and the Borregos responded immediately when Fernando Sarabia connected with a 27-yard touchdown pass to Miguel Ángel Lozano. With the extra point, they regained the lead, now at 17-13.

The offensive duel continued, and UANL regained the lead as Patricio Quiroga executed a “Tush Push” Tiger-style, to reach the end zone, putting them ahead 20-17 in another turnaround.

Entering the final quarter, another lead change occurred as Nicolás Villagómez scored for Tec de Monterrey, and with the extra point, they went up 24-20.

To add to the drama, Auténticos Tigres once again surged ahead with a touchdown from Christian Espinosa, who hauled in a 41-yard pass from QB Quiroga. With the extra point, they went out in front 27-24 and at that point it seemed they would secure the championship with only 1:39 remaining.

However, the Borregos seized their last offensive opportunity. Eduardo Ortega caught a pass and sprinted 24 yards to the end zone, giving them the definitive lead of 31-27 with 22 seconds left. Adding more suspense, Tigres’ kickoff return appeared to be a potential game-winning play but was tackled out of bounds at Borregos’ 41-yard line. From there, only an incomplete pass followed. Thus, Tec de Monterrey claimed the 2023 ONEFA title with a thrilling comeback.