October 27, 2012

Top 25: UWW out, Ithaca tops Salisbury, 2 clinch

ICTV highlight of Joe Ingrao's TD catch.
Cortland State celebrates capturing the first automatic bid of the 2012 season, clinching the NJAC's trip to the dance with a 31-17 win at Kean.
Cortland State athletics photo 

Joe Ingrao dove into the end zone with 32 seconds left to cap a 58-yard touchdown catch and run, lifting Ithaca to a 21-14 win against No. 7 Salisbury. It's the first conference loss for the Sea Gulls since they joined the Empire 8 prior to the 2011 season.

Ithaca got on the board first after Sam Carney's 60-yard punt return set up the Bombers at the 2-yard line. Ithaca had settled for a field goal but Salisbury was called for roughing the kicker and Ithaca scored on the next play for the early 7-0 lead. Salisbury had tied the game at 14-14 with 1:41 remaining after Dan Griffin hit a big pass play to Isaiah Taylor to the Ithaca 24, then found him again for a 7-yard catch on third-and-goal.

UW-Whitewater's string of Stagg Bowl appearances can officially be considered snapped as the Warhawks fell 17-14 at UW-Stevens Point. Trailing 17-3, the Warhawks rallied and had a shot to tie in the closing minute, but a 47-yard Eric Kindler field goal attempt was blocked, giving the Pointers the chance to run out the clock. UW-Whitewater falls to 5-3 and will be the first defending champ to fail to return to the playoffs since St. John's missed the 2004 playoffs.

Cortland scored the game's final 28 points, including interception returns for touchdowns by senior cornerback Pete Furey and senior defensive end Vaughn Labor, and the Red Dragons defeated Kean 31-17. The win gives Cortland State the first automatic bid to the NCAA playoffs this season.

No. 17 Heidelberg scored first, but Mount Union scored the next 33 as the top-ranked Purple Raiders defeated Heidelberg 33-14. The shutout streak was snapped on the first possession of the game as Heidelberg went 75 yards on 11 plays for the score, but Michael Mees completed just 14 of 33 passes after that.

Fifth-ranked Wesley scored the last 21 points of the game to win 30-21 at No. 16 Huntingdon. Five of the six Division III teams Wesley has faced this season were in the Top 25 at the time, and the Wolverines' only loss on the year is to No. 2 Mary Hardin-Baylor.

No. 10 Hobart took over sole possession of first place in the Liberty League, holding off Union to win 42-34. Hobart led 28-7 at the half but held on by running out the last four and a half minutes of the game after Union cut the deficit to eight. Hobart improved to 8-0 for the first time since 1954.

No. 6 UW-Oshkosh improved to 8-0 for the first time in the program's history and clinched the WIAC automatic bid by rolling past UW-La Crosse 41-7. Cole Myhra ran for 152 yards and Caleb Voss caught two TD passes from Nate Wara. No. 19 Coe beat Wartburg 35-7 to remain unbeaten and on top of the IIAC.

Mason Espinosa completed 52 passes, but none of them led to points as Ohio Wesleyan was shut out by Wabash. OWU started the season 7-0 but had yet to play the 11th-ranked Little Giants and is not scheduled to play NCAC power Wittenberg. Espinosa's 52 completions tied for the second-most in Division III history, behind the 56 Brandon Luczak completed against Hope in 2009.

No. 22 Concordia-Moorhead rolled over Carleton 51-27 and No. 4 St. Thomas defeated Augsburg 30-14 without starting quarterback Matt O'Connell to set up a showdown next week in Moorhead for first place in the MIAC. No. 14 Bethel remains in position to be part of a three-way tie, defeating Hamline 56-21. 

No. 12 Widener put up a huge goal-line stand and survived four shots from the 30-yard line in the closing seconds of the game to defeat Albright 34-29. Trailing 31-22 midway through the fourth, the Lions drove to first-and-goal on the Widener 2-yard line. After a Marty Reinhardt rush to the 1, a Ty Hughes sweep was stopped. Albright called two straight plunges by Reinhardt but the Pride stuffed both to escape. After a TD with 39 seconds left, Albright recovered the onside kick and had first down at the Widener 30 but could not convert.

No. 15 Johns Hopkins got 238 rushing yards and four touchdowns from Jonathan Rigaud to run past Ursinus 35-17. No. 24 St. John Fisher blanked Frostburg State on the road, 21-0. Ninth-ranked North Central had little trouble with No. 20 Illinois Wesleyan, winning 52-0. IWU lost its starting quarterback last week to a torn ACL.

No. 2 Mary Hardin-Baylor started emptying the bench early in a 68-6 win at Howard Payne as LiDarral Bailey threw just six of the Cru's 18 passes. Third-ranked Linfield scored three times in a three-minute span in the third quarter to break open a 10-10 game and go out to a 45-10 win against Willamette.

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