October 9, 2010

Two at the top

Tyler Langs recovered a late fumble as Wheaton held off Elmhurst 27-24.
Wheaton athletics file photo

At the midway point of the 2010 Division III football season, the contenders for conference titles are starting to separate themselves from the pack.  There are two undefeated teams left in the NJAC, Empire 8, CCIW and MIAC after Saturday's results.

No. 25 Cortland State had a delayed start to its matchup with Brockport State when the Golden Eagles arrived late.  But the Red Dragons wasted no time in scoring 21 first quarter points behind three Justin Autera rushing touchdowns.  Autera finished with 163 yards as Cortland State shut out Brockport State 35-0.  No. 16 Montclair State is also undefeated in the NJAC after outscoring TCNJ 20-0 in the second half of a 30-14 win.

In the CCIW, No. 7 North Central (Ill.) and No. 18 Wheaton (Ill.) are each 2-0 in conference after their big wins.  Wheaton needed a second half rally against Elmhurst after the Bluejays built a 24-14 lead.  Thunder quarterback Jordan Roberts threw two short touchdown passes in the second half and Elmhursst turned the ball over twice in the game's final three minutes, allowing Wheaton to hang on for the 27-24 victory.  North Central had an easier time at Augustana winning 34-14.

In the MIAC, Bethel showed it's a legitimate MIAC title contender by upsetting No. 23 St. John's 17-14.  The Royals brought a 17-0 lead into the fourth quarter and forced four Johnnie turnovers.  But Bethel didn't seal the win until Gabe Kleinschmidt recovered an onside kick for the Royals in the final minute.  No. 4 St. Thomas is also undefeated after rolling over Augsburg 55-17.

In the Empire 8, Tim Bailey was 23-for-36 passing for 362 yards and four touchdowns as No. 20 St. John Fisher improved to 6-0, defeating Ithaca 34-10.  Ryan Thon caught four touchdowns as No. 21 Alfred stayed unbeaten with a 35-14 victory over Hartwick.

Washington U. picked off No. 19 Wabash 24-20 to deal the Little Giants their first loss of the season as Stephen Sherman connected with Easton Knott for the game winning score.  No. 17 UW-Eau Claire stumbled and fell on the road at UW-Platteville 35-14 thanks to five touchdown runs from Lee Vlasak in his first start at running back after moving from wide receiver.  The loss is a big blow to the Blugolds' playoff hopes as they now have two losses and still have to play No. 1 UW-Whitewater next week.  

No. 13 Ohio Northern bounced back from last week's loss against Mount Union with a convincing 44-10 win over Capital.  Brent Donley ran for 206 yards and three touchdowns for the Polar Bears. Baldwin-Wallace beat Otterbein 35-34 to stay unbeaten.  The Yellow Jackets returned two kickoffs and an interception for touchdowns in the victory.

Outside the Top 25 Hobart won a 41-35 double overtime thriller over Union. Making his debut as the Statesmen's starting quarterback, Nick Strang set a school record for yards (498) and tied the record for touchdown passes (five). Rowan scored the game-winning touchdown with two seconds remaining to beat Kean 21-17. Wartburg coach Rick Willis won his 100th career game as the Knights shut out Buena Vista 28-0.

Bridgewater State needed two overtimes to beat Coast Guard 32-25.  Ferrum needed three overtimes to beat Methodist 51-45.  Monmouth proved that it's not out of the MWC race yet as the Scots knocked off Ripon 51-45 on the road in triple overtime.  Benedictine topped Aurora 28-21 to take over first place in the Northern Athletics Conference.

Wilkes rallied from a 28-6 fourth-quarter deficit to stun Lebanon Valley 35-28 in overtime.  The Colonels stopped the Flying Dutchmen on fourth-and-goal from the 1 in overtime to preserve the win, despite losing their starting and second string quarterbacks during the game.

Case Western outgunned Oberlin 48-36 to stay undefeated in a game that featured 915 yards of offense.  Similarly SUNY-Maritime is 6-0 after beating Castleton State 41-28.  Pacific Lutheran darted out to a 25-0 lead en route to a 39-25 victory over Whitworth.  The Lutes are 4-0.

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