Ohio Northern defeated Wittenberg 37-14 to advance to
the next round.
Trine, Montclair State and Bethel scored road wins in the first round of the 2010 NCAA playoffs and, as you'd expect, it wasn't easy.
Trine jumped out in front of DePauw 27-7 in the first quarter only to see the Tigers roar back and take a 28-27 lead with 2:46 left in the third quarter. The Thunder answered with a 59-yard touchdown pass from Eric Watt to Ja Vontae Hence to regain the lead. DePauw pulled even again on a Michael Engle touchdown pass to Alex Koors but Trine scored 10 points on its next two drives to pull ahead for good. The Thunder advance with the 45-35 victory and will play defending champion UW-Whitewater next.
Montclair State also seized an early lead on the road and took a 16-0 lead into the fourth quarter at Hampden-Sydney. The Tigers drew within 16-14 with a little over five minutes left in the game. The Red Hawks went three-and-out on their next possession, but Gary Knoeppel intercepted Tigers' quarterback Travis Lane and Montclair State ran out the clock. The Red Hawks will hit the road again next Saturday and travel to Wesley.
St. Thomas bracket
Bethel defeated Wartburg in Iowa 28-20 in a game that turned on two fourth-down plays. In the second quarter Royals' quarterback Josh Aakre turned a fourth-and-9 into six points with a 31-yard touchdown pass to Logan Flannery to tie the game at 14. Then, protecting the lead in the fourth quarter, Bethel stopped Wartburg on a fourth-and-3 from the Royals' 8.
Wheaton (Ill.) rallied from a 12-point fourth quarter deficit to upend Coe 31-21. The Kohawks had a 21-9 lead entering the fourth quarter when Joey Skogen ran into the end zone to pull the Thunder within three. After a short Coe punt, Wheaton quarterback Jordan Roberts found Freddy Ellis for a 46-yard score to put the Thunder up for good. In that same bracket, top-seeded St. Thomas advanced by handling Benedictine 57-10.
Linfield advanced to face St. Thomas after Eric Hedin set up camp in the Cal Lutheran backfield in a 42-26 win. The defensive lineman recorded three sacks and three tackles for loss in the Wildcats' win, giving him 21 sacks on the season.
North Central bracket
The top-seeded Cardinals cruised past St. Norbert 57-7, outgaining the Green Knights 619-217. That sets up a second-round showdown with seventh-ranked and fourth-seeded Ohio Northern. The Polar Bears picked off Wittenberg seven times and jumped out to a 24-0 lead en route to a 37-17 win against the fifth-seeded and ninth-ranked Tigers. Wittenberg was held to 33 yards rushing and seven interceptions. Ohio Northern got 179 rushing yards and two touchdowns from Brett Donley.
Playing without starting quarterback Matt Blanchard, who had a thumb injury, No. 2-seeded UW-Whitewater nonetheless shook off Franklin 52-21. The Warhawks had led by just a touchdown at the half but advance to host Trine in the second round.
Mount Union bracket
The Purple Raiders rolled past St. Lawrence 49-0. Cecil Shorts had eight receptions for 139 yards and three touchdowns, getting Larry Kehres his 300th career win. Next up, Delaware Valley. The Aggies bounced back from last Saturday's loss at home to defeat Salisbury 23-12. Delaware Valley stopped the Sea Gulls on a fourth-and-1 from the Salisbury 40 late in the third quarter. On the ensuing possession, Mark Hatty connected with Vincent Lochetto for the touchdown to put the game out of reach.
In that same bracket, Cortland State took care of Endicott 49-35. Red Dragons' quarterback Dan Pitcher threw for three touchdowns and ran for another. Cortland State will host Alfred next Saturday after the Saxons shut down SUNY-Maritime 60-0.
Outside of the Montclair-Hampden-Sydney result, the rest of the finals from the "South" bracket were lopsided. The Wolverines, who are the top-seeded team in the entire playoffs, took care of Muhlenberg 53-14 behind 649 yards of total offense. Thomas More ran past Washington and Lee for 432 yards in a 42-14 victory. Mary Hardin-Baylor rolled as well, beating Christopher Newport 59-7 and advancing to the second round. The Crusaders host the Saints next Saturday in Texas.