September 24, 2011

Saints, Saxons grab big wins

More news about: Alfred | Thomas More
Merklinger game-winning TD
Thomas More quarterback Rob Kues threw two touchdowns and ran for another.
Washington and Jefferson athletics photo

No. 8 Thomas More defeated Washington and Jefferson 35-32 to seize control of the PAC while No. 16 Alfred started a wide-open Empire 8 race with a big victory.

The PAC has basically been a two-team race between Thomas More and Washington & Jefferson for a couple seasons. So Saturday's matchup in Western Pennsylvania loomed large. Thomas More scored the first 14 points before the Presidents narrowed the lead to 21-17 at the half. The Saints continued to lead 35-32 late in the fourth quarter when Zach Autenrieb intercepted the Presidents Matt Bliss to seal the victory for Thomas More.

Springfield entered Saturday's contest at No. 16 Alfred averaging 491 rushing yards per game. The Pride ran for 205 yards in the first half but just 25 in the second. The Saxons gave Springfield a taste of its own medicine by running for 232 yards in a 30-22 win.

No. 4 Mary Hardin-Baylor beat No. 21 Hardin-Simmons for the 12th time in 13 tries, this time by a score of 35-17. LiDarral Bailey threw two touchdowns and Darius Wilson ran for two more. No. 24 Cortland State got back on track with a 31-28 win at Rowan thanks to 315 passing yards for Dan Pitcher and 183 receiving for John Babin.

Was No. 9 Ohio Northern looking ahead to next week's game against No. 2 Mount Union? Maybe not, but that game will have a different feel after the Polar Bears got upended by Muskingum 27-7. Ohio Northern ran 40 more plays than the Muskies, who improve to 3-0, 2-0 in the OAC. The Purple Raiders surrendered a point to Wilmington for the first time since 2006, but that was about the only positive the Quakers could take as Mount Union won 66-7. Jeremy Murray scored three touchdowns and went for 167 yards on just 12 carriesThird-ranked St. Thomas did not get caught looking ahead to next week's game with archrival St. John's, rolling up 509 yards of total offense in a 48-30 win at Concordia-Moorhead.

Coe, which lost its first two games of the season, is also 2-0 in conference. The Kohawks rallied from a 17-0 hafltime deficit to beat No. 10 Wartburg 27-24. Brad Doyle's touchdown pass to Jared Kuehner with 2:53 left capped the comeback.

Is it too early to talk about the chase for the only Pool B bid into the NCAA playoffs? Huntingdon bolstered its resume by knocking off No. 22 Hampden-Sydney 34-27. The Tigers were ranked much higher in the coaches poll. No. 13 Wesley blitzed Husson 72-0. Two contenders in the UAA both lost. No. 17 Wabash cruised past Chicago 49-7 and North Park surprised Washington U., 13-10. The Little Giants scored three of their seven touchdowns on special teams and defense.

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