SU can claim a share of the league title with wins at home next week against Hampden-Sydney and at W&L in two weeks, although with two wins R-MC would win the league championship based on the head-to-head win over Shenandoah on September 30.
The Hornets jumped out to a 17-0 lead Saturday and led 24-6 midway through the second quarter only to see Catholic (3-5, 0-5) stage a furious comeback.
The Cardinals actually led 27-24 at the break following a Justin Paige 77-yard blocked field goal return on the final play of the first half. Paige busted through to block the 23-yard Derek Davis field goal attempt on an untimed down; CUA was penalized one play earlier for leaping over the line as Davis attempted a 45-yarder with two seconds remaining.
Catholic was penalized 10-yards for excessive celebration following the TD, which was enforced on the second kickoff. This penalty allowed SU to return the second half kickoff into Cardinals territory, where it took just three plays to retake the lead for good on a 1-yard Cedrick Delaney TD run.
The lead extended to 38-27 on a 7-play, 30-yard drive that ended with a Hayden Bauserman to Michael Ashwell 12-yard TD pass on 4th-and-goal and to 45-27 when Jalen Hudson trotted in from the 1 to cap a six-play, 43-yard drive with 2:42 to play in the third.
The fourth quarter featured just one touchdown – Catholic drove 38 yards in five plays to cut its deficit to 45-34 with 11:14 remaining.
"We did a good job in the second of righting the ship," SU coach Scott Yoder said. "We got up big on them in the first (quarter) and then let them back in it in the second because of silly plays.
"We gave up 14 points on special teams, but did a much better job in the second half. We adjusted and played much better in the second half."
Shenandoah had taken the 17-0 lead one play into the second quarter on a Davis 25-yard field goal, a Josh White 88-yard punt return and a Delaney 1-yard run. That last drive, 15 plays and 64 yards, capped a sequence in which SU scored the initial 17 points of the game and held Catholic without a first down.
The Cardinals scored 27 points in the second quarter, a stanza in which they blocked the field goal attempt, a punt and also recovered a pooch kick at the Hornets 26.
Bauserman, who became the all-time yardage leader at SU, finished the day 28 for 42 for 277 yards and two touchdowns. He did not throw an interception for the third straight game.
White's punt return for touchdown is the second for the squad in as many weeks.