|Rajon Hall intercepted Broc Rutter on North Central's first drive of the second half to help UW-Oshkosh maintain a big third-quarter lead.
Photo by Larry Radloff, d3photography.com
None of the second-round playoff games were particularly close as the fourth quarter started, and if Berry hadn't scored with 4:40 left, it would have been three-TD games all around.
Mount Union, Brockport, Frostburg State and Delaware Valley each pulled away in the third quarter, while Wartburg and UW-Oshkosh did so in the second quarter in a playoff second round that featured blowouts all over the bracket.
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In a game of runs, it was the last run that made the difference, as Brockport scored 28 second-half points to make it look easy in a 49-28 win vs. Wesley. Brockport scored on a Terry McDonald interception return for a touchdown and a fumble recovery by Austin Dean to put up back-to-back scores in the third quarter and help create some breathing room. Joe Germinerio was 30-for-38 passing for 292 yards and three touchdowns for the Golden Eagles.
Wesley got on the board first with an 82-yard touchdown pass from Khaaliq Burroughs to Alex Kemp just over a minute and a half into the game. Brockport scored the next three, including two on short runs by Tyree Brown, taking a 21-7 lead, but Wesley scored on an 81-yard drive to cut it to 21-14. Mike Sabino sacked Germinerio and forced a fumble late in the second half to set up a 3-yard drive to tie the game before Brockport put the game away with the defensive scores in the third quarter.
Delaware Valley handled Husson 37-15 to advance to the national quarterfinals for the third time in program history. Aggies quarterback DeShawn Darden three for 319 yards and three touchdowns and ran for another, while Dan Allen hauled in two scores and 100 yards.
The Aggies took a 19-0 lead and held Husson to 2 yards rushing in the first half. The Eagles got on the scoreboard quickly with a 71-yard touchdown drive, capped by John Smith’s 31st rushing TD of the year. But DVU answered immediately with a long kick return by LaQuille Nesbitt that set up his own touchdown run to push the lead back to 25-7. On Husson’s next possession Jalen Mayes intercepted Cory Brandon and returned it 22 yards for the score.
John Smith finished with 161 yards on 31 carries, but Delaware Valley intercepted Husson four times. The Aggies have 11 interceptions in the last three games.
For the second consecutive week, Frostburg State went on the road and stunned the home team. This week, the Bobcats once again controlled the pace of the game thanks to their rushing attack and stifling defense in a 46-23 win at Washington & Jefferson.
Frostburg State rushed for 248 yards, led by Gavin Lavat's 147 yards and touchdown on 16 carries. Jamaal Morant added 86 yards and two touchdowns on 21 carries. Connor Cox was intercepted three times, but also passed for two touchdowns. One of those picks came on a desperation heave on the last snap of the first half.
The teams exchanged scores on their opening drives of both the first and second halves. But Frostburg State took control early, intercepting three passes and recovering a fumble. Vince Persichetti's long interception return snuffed out a W&J drive and led to an easy field goal for the Bobcats. Frostburg State was never seriously challenged after that and advances to the quarterfinals against Mount Union. This team becomes the first in program history to win multiple playoff games and sets a program record with win No. 11 on the season.
Trine fumbled the ball three times in a span of seven touches in the first quarter and Wartburg rolled out to a 28-0 lead one play into the second quarter, then cruised to a 49-7 win. Gagliardi Trophy semifinalist Matt Sacia was an efficient 15-for-18 passing for 236 yards and three touchdowns.
As part of the crazy first quarter, Trine fumbled on a third-down play and Wartburg advanced the ball before fumbing it again. With a fresh set of downs, Trine's Lamar Carswell fumbled the ball away four plays later and Wartburg converted it into a touchdown on a pass to tight end Lee Bonifas. The Thunder fumbled the ensuing kickoff as well, as Jake Kloft ripped the ball out of the hands of the Trine return man and ran it 30 yards for the score.
"We caused 39 turnovers this year but caused zero today," said Trine coach Troy Abbs. "They were fast and they executed better than we did."
Connor Schrader ran for 147 yards and two touchdowns on 12 carries for the Knights. Evan Wyse, the Gagliardi semifinalist at quarterback for Trine, was 4-for-11 with two interceptions as Trine turned the ball over six times.
Mary Hardin-Baylor blocked a punt on Linfield's first possession of the game and turned it into a touchdown and the Cru defense held Linfield without a first down for the first 26 minutes of the game in a 24-0 win. Linfield's biggest drive came after a stop to open the third quarter, in which Wyatt Smith completed a 27-yard pass on fourth-and-4 to keep the drive alive. But the Cru defense came up with four stops after the Wildcats had first-and-goal from the 3, and UMHB drove 99 yards in six plays going the other direction to put the game away.
Carl Robinson completed 18 of 27 passes for 227 yards and a touchdown and ran for 46 yards and another score in a battle of freshman quarterbacks. Smith finished 20-for-31 passing for 182 yards and an interception. Ajay Fanene had a pair of sacks and Tevin Jones had 16 tackles to lead the Cru defensively. It's the second consecutive season that Linfield ended its season 9-2, with all four losses coming to UMHB, three on the road.
Mount Union allowed a rushing touchdown for the first time all season, but scored on an interception return and Jared Ruth and Justin Hill caught two touchdown passes apiece in a 45-16 win vs. Case Western Reserve. The Purple Raiders defense intercepted Rob Cuda three times and kept everyone other than receiver Justin Phan in check. (Phan had 12 catches for 169 yards.) Gabe Brown broke up five passes to help hold Cuda to 17-for-43 passing. Jawanza Evans-Morris and Josh Petruccelli combined for 198 yards rushing on 27 carries in the win.
UW-Oshkosh built a 35-7 lead and extended it to 42-7 in the third quarter, holding on to defeat North Central 42-21 to return to the national quarterfinals. Brett Kasper, a Gagliardi Trophy semifinalist, completed 18 of 24 passes for 276 and six touchdowns, two apiece to Sam Mentkowski and Dom Todarello, in the win. Oshkosh will host Wartburg in the quarterfinal round on Saturday, Dec. 2.
St. Thomas shut down the Berry running game but could not put the Vikings away, as Mason Kinsey caught 10 passes for 157 yards and two touchdowns. But Gabe Green had a big day for the Tommies, with eight catches for 128 yards and two scores, and Josh Parks and Stephen Wagner scored a touchdown apiece on the ground in the 28-13 win. St. Thomas will travel to UMHB for the quarterfinals. The Tommies (11-1) ran a school-record 97 plays for 480 yards, including 198 rushing yards and 282 in the air, and had a season-best 41:07 time of possession. The win snapped Berry's 16-game winning streak.