Mexico: CU UNAM Pumas claim 38th ONEFA title in 90th year

The UNAM Pumas CU closed out their 90th anniversary year with a flourish winning the ONEFA  (Organización Nacional Estudiantil de Futbol Americano) championship by beating the Auténticos Tigres 18-15 in front of a sold out crowd of 40,000 at Olympic University Stadium in Mexico City.

These were the two best teams in the league and as if following a Hollywood script they battled to the very end.

Pumas quarterback Daniel De Juambelz threw two touchdown passes, the last one with a minute left in the game for the win. Receivers Andrés Salgado and Ricardo Sainz caught one each with Sainz catching the winning score. Diego Reyes kicked a field goal and an extra point while Sainz caught a two-point conversion.

Running back Abraham Sosa scored one touchdown for the Tigres while Ricardo Aguilar kicked a pair of field goals and the defense also forced a safety.

Andrés Dalgado with a leaping scoring catch

In a game where defenses dominated, neither team could gain an advantage in the first half.

The Pumas stymied the Tigres on the first drive blocking a field goal attempt after quarterback Jesús Mata Charles had marched his team to the Pumas 31 yard line.

Then De Juambelz connected with Salgado from 18 yards out and UNAM took a 7-0 lead.

Auténticos responded with Charles again moving the Tigres down the field to the 24 yard line from where Aguilar kicked a field goal to close the gap to 7-3.

The Pumas came back with a field goal of their own in the second quarter as Reyes kicked it through from the 28 yard line giving UNAM a 10-3 lead at the half.

The second half saw the Tigres take control of the game with Aguilar kicking another field goal and Sosa scoring in the fourth quarter from the one yard line, capping a seven minute long drive to give them a 13-10 lead.

Then an Aguilar punt pinned the Pumas down on their one yard line and two plays later the Tigres ferocious front seven forced a safety to extend the lead to 15-10 with little time left.

Another turnover by the Pumas, this time on a fumble looked to seal their fate. But with less than four minutes remaining De Juambelz engineered a drive to the Tigres 22 yard line and then threaded the needle, finding Sainz who made a spectacular touchdown reception to give UNAM a 16-15 lead. Then De Juambelz hit Salgado for the two-point conversion to add to the lead, 18-15 with just over a minute left.

Check out the winning touchdown catch

With a minute on the clock, the Tigres marched from their own 10 yard line, reaching midfield with six seconds left. A last gasp 67 yard field goal attempt by Aguilar fell short and the Pumas began celebrating their 38th ONEFA title crowning their 90th season of football in Mexico.