Anthony Leonetti got over the goal line for the game-winning touchdown for John Carroll in the second overtime.
|Blake Jackson made it look easy for UMHB vs. Linfield.
By Brendan Maloney, special to d3photography.com
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Mount Union rallied on the road for the second consecutive week, John Carroll won in overtime, Wheaton knocked its rival out of the playoffs and UMHB made it a clean sweep of Linfield in Saturday's second-round NCAA playoff action.
Mount Union put up the final three scores in a road playoff game for the second Saturday in a row, as the Purple Raiders rallied from a 21-7 first half deficit to beat Johns Hopkins, 28-21, and advance to the national quarterfinals for the 25th consecutive season.
The Purple Raiders trailed 21-14 at half but didn't allow a point for the final 34:34, and the defense tallied five sacks of Jonathan Germano, all in the second half. Dom Davis threw the game-winning 30-yard touchdown pass to Jared Ruth with 12:11 left in the fourth quarter.
"Outstanding," said Mount Union coach Vince Kehres when asked to characterize how his defense played in the last 35 minutes of the game. "I thought we really regrouped and kept playing. Had more pressure on the quarterback, made more plays on the back end. I'm very very proud of our resiliency."
In a game with just four total penalties and no points off turnovers, the Purple Raiders used four ballcarriers to outrush Johns Hopkins, 222-26. Mount Union quarterback Dom Davis was 15-of-26 passing for 159 yards and two touchdowns to Ruth, but it was mostly a balanced, firework-free day for the offense.
Germano was 30-of-49 passing for 355 yards and three touchdowns for Johns Hopkins. Bradley Munday and Ryan Cary each had 10 receptions for more than 120 yards. But Mike Vidal's three sacks, and the wind at Homewood Field, made things difficult for the Blue Jays in the second half.
Wesley's Eric Speidel kicked a season-long 47-yard field goal at the start of the second overtime, but John Carroll's Anthony Leonetti responded with a 14-yard touchdown grab from Anthony Moeglin to advance to the national quarterfinals, 20-17. The game was a defensive struggle for both teams, and John Carroll thwarted the only second-half scoring threat in the fourth quarter, when linebacker Anthony Christopher blocked a 36-yard Nick Bruhn field goal attempt with 11:13 left in regulation. The teams traded touchdowns in the first overtime session, with quarterback Nick Falkenberg finding Jamar Baynard on a fourth-and-6 play from the John Carroll 7-yard line to force the second overtime.
The teams combined for 19 punts, with Wesley accounting for 11 of them as Falkenberg passed for just 88 yards and as the Wesley offense tallied just 170 yards. However, the Wolverines defense had four interceptions of Moeglin, whose 255 yards passing led John Carroll's total offensive output of 380 yards on the day. The first interception led to Wesley's only touchdown in regulation, as Andre Connally scored on a 32-yard interception return just 3:29 into the game. Moeglin found Nico James for a 17-yard score to tie the game with 11:11 left in the first half before a stalemate ensued for the final 41:11 of regulation.
Defeating a rival is hard enough. Doing it twice in a season is even more difficult. Wheaton avenged its regular season loss to Little Brass Bell rival North Central with a convincing 31-14 victory. The Thunder dominated the fourth quarter, which began with the teams tied at 14. Sola Olateju rushed 29 times for 175 yards and two touchdowns, both in the fourth quarter. Chase White caught two touchdown passes from Andrew Bowers.
The Thunder defense held North Central to 3-for-13 on third- and fourth-down conversion attempts, including stopping North Central on fourth down on the Cardinals' final two possessions. The Thunder sacked Broc Rutter six times.
Once again, the third quarter was unkind to Linfield at Mary Hardin-Baylor, but this time the wounds were much less self-inflicted. UMHB scored 27 unanswered points after Linfield struck first with a field goal and the Cru went on to win 27-10. Blake Jackson threw for 256 yards, 180 of them to T.J. Josey, who had success against a variety of Linfield defensive backs for four catches at an average of 45.0 yards a pop.
"We just watched film, studied how they played," Josey said. "We knew when we lined up in a certain way how they would man up on us and we took advantage of it."
|UW-Oshkosh kept the St. John's passing game in check, limiting the Johnnies to 56 passing yards and leading receiver Zack Sundly to six catches for 38 yards.
Photo by Steve Frommell, d3photography.com
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UW-Oshkosh got 198 rushing yards and three touchdowns from Dylan Hecker and Devon Linzenmeyer added 72 yards and another score as the Titans defeated St. John's 31-14. The Oshkosh defense stopped the Johnnies' Dusty Krueger on fourth-and-1 on the first play of the fourth quarter in a three-point game and two plays later, Linzenmeyer ran for a 72-yard touchdown to give the Titans (11-1) a 24-14 lead. UW-Oshkosh added another score in the fourth quarter to put the game away.
Emile Frigon caught eight passes for 185 yards and two touchdowns and Gagliardi Trophy semifinalist A.J. LiCata racked up 18 tackles and a sack as Alfred defeated Western New England 30-24. The Saxons (12-0) turned a 7-0 deficit into a 23-7 lead after LiCata recorded a safety and Frigon scored the first of his touchdowns, but the Golden Bears (11-1) rallied to cut the lead to 30-24 early in the fourth quarter. But the Saxons got a stop on fourth down at the 1 and forced a fumble in the Saxons red zone with 29 seconds left to secure the win.
Wittenberg took a 3-0 lead on a Will Gingery field goal. It was all UW-Whitewater after that. The Warhawks scored 30 unanswered points en route to a 37-9 victory. The Warhawks outgained the Tigers 496 to 258 and forced four turnovers without giving the ball away. The Tigers were down to their third quarterback. Starter Jake Kennedy left early with a shoulder injury, and backup Tanner Clarke left with a collarbone injury. Third-stringer Quinn Cook was intercepted twice on his five pass attempts.
Cole Wilber saw the bulk of the action at quarterback for the Warhawks, completing 21 of 31 pass attempts for 237 yards. Chris Nelson was the closer, completing four of six attempts for two touchdowns. Marcus Hudson hauled in seven receptions for 116 yards. Freshman Josh Ringelberg carried 19 times for 147 yards. Drew Patterson rushed 20 times for 74 yards and two scores. UW-Whitewater advances to face John Carroll in the quarterfinals next week.
Trevor Heitland ran into the buzz saw of the St. Thomas defense and the Tommies picked off three Coe passes in a 55-6 win to return to the national quarterfinals. Three UST quarterbacks spread the ball to 11 receivers as the Tommies (12-0) rolled out to a 41-0 halftime lead and cruised from there. Heitland, who ran for 251 yards last week in a first-round win vs. Monmouth and 216 in a regular-season victory at Dubuque, was limited to 43 yards on 24 carries.
Sites for the quarterfinal games will be made official on Sunday afternoon, but Wheaton will travel to Mary Hardin-Baylor, Alfred will host Mount Union, UW-Oshkosh travels to St. Thomas and John Carroll will play at UW-Whitewater.