Coppage saves UWW; Alfred advances
Levell Coppage saved UW-Whitewater with two fourth-quarter scores among his 300 yards rushing.
Sixth-seeded Alfred is the last East Region team standing after the Saxons knocked off Cortland State 34-20. The Saxons scored 20 straight points on three rushing touchdowns to build a 20-3 lead on Cortland State. The Red Dragons pulled within a touchdown twice but could not stop the Alfred offense which rolled up 436 yards, including 225 on the ground.
St. Thomas scored on a broken play in the second overtime and forced a Linfield fumble in the second half of the extra session and the Tommies held on to win 24-17. St. Thomas, which had turned the ball over five times in a loss at Linfield last year in the quarterfinals, won despite turning the ball over five times again. Dakota Tracy threw interceptions four times in five possessions. Tracy did find Fritz Waldvogel along the back of the end zone, however, for the game-winning score after the play broke down and Tracy was on the run.
"The margin of error between last year's long flight home and this year's win is really slim," said St. Thomas coach Glenn Caruso. "You're asking these players to work five days a week, 52 weeks a year to get the opportunity to get to do those plays over."
That set up an All-MIAC final in the West Region, as Bethel rallied to defeat Wheaton (Ill.) 15-10. Trailing 10-9 in the fourth quarter, Josh Aakre found Logan Flannery for a 27-yard touchdown pass. Wheaton advanced to the Royals' 34 on the ensuing possession but could not convert a fourth-and-10, setting up the very short road trip.
Alfred will head to Alliance next weekend to take on Mount Union as the Purple Raiders defeated Delaware Valley 31-3. Protecting a 7-0 lead late in the second quarter, the Purple Raiders held the Aggies out of the end zone on a goal-to-go situation and then scored a touchdown of its own to take a 14-3 lead into the locker room. The Aggies offense did not threaten to score a touchdown again until midway through the fourth quarter with the score 24-3. Jeremy Murray had 181 yards and two touchdowns including an 81-yard score on the Purple Raiders' first play from scrimmage.
Trine pushed defending national champion UW-Whitewater as the Thunder and the Warhawks entered the fourth quarter tied at 31. But Levell Coppage capped a fantastic day with two fourth-quarter scores and the Warhawks survived 45-31. Coppage finished with 38 carries for 300 yards and three touchdowns. Lee Brekke started at quarterback for Warhawks for the second consecutive game.
UW-Whitewater will hit the road for the next round of the playoffs. That's because North Central (Ill.) stayed undefeated with a 28-9 win over Ohio Northern. Matt Wenger notched 18 tackles for the Cardinals who held Ohio Northern to 220 yards of total offense.
Wesley, which is the top seed in the full bracket, looked sharp again as the Wolverines shut down Montclair State 44-7. Justin Sotillare threw three touchdown passes and Wesley out rushed the Red Hawks 206 to minus-2. The Wolverines will host Mary Hardin-Baylor in the quarterfinals, as the Crusaders built a 38-0 lead over Thomas More at the half and cruised to a 69-7 win. Mary Hardin-Baylor rushed for 522 yards and finished with 769 yards of total offense.