November 30, 2002

Wind blows Bridgewater into next round

By Keith McMillan,
D3sports.com
 

BRIDGEWATER, Va. -- If anyone is going to lob claims of intervention after Bridgewater's first home playoff game since last season's infamous clock operator fiasco, one could only point a finger at the Divine this time.

Bridgewater survived a 259-yard rushing outing from King's tailback Richard Jackson when Matt VonTanhausen's 32-yard field goal attempt caught a gust of wind and fell about a foot short of the crossbar, preserving the top-seeded, No. 2-ranked Eagles' 19-17 second-round NCAA playoff victory.

"When he first hit it and it didn't start going [end over end], I knew we had a chance," said Bridgewater head coach Michael Clark of the kick, attempted with 57 seconds left. "If that gust of wind hadn't come in, as ugly as it was, it might have slipped through."

"It looked close," said Jackson. "I thought he had it. It looked like it was going to curve back in, but I didn't think it was going to come up short.

Bridgewater quarterback Robbie Jenkins said the kick "just hit a wall."

If not for the wind, King's (9-3) could have taken a 20-19 lead and possibly advanced to play Trinity (Texas), a second-round winner over Washington & Jefferson. Instead the Eagles (11-0) will host the Tigers (12-0) next Saturday. 

 The Monarchs had marched 66 yards in 15 plays to set themselves up with a fourth-and-8 at the 15-yard line. The notoriously fickle weather at Bridgewater's Jopson Field, set among mountains near Harrisonburg, Va., had gone from windy enough to blow over a tent in the first quarter, to overcast with driving rain at halftime, to no wind for much of the fourth quarter. But the gust that changed the game came at the right time for the Eagle faithful.

"In this business," said Clark, "I've been in it long enough and I've lost enough to know that you say 'thank you' when you win."

"We didn't lose because of the field goal," said Rich Manello, the dejected King's coach, afterward. "Let's get that straight. You can't let it come down to that."

Jackson had given the Monarchs a 7-0 lead less than four minutes in, following a 42-yard completion from David Hessler to Chris Ripoli.

The Eagles' offensive struggles began early, but they tied the game on Jamie Langley's 7-yard TD run. Steward White blocked a King's punt near midfield that Adrian Herndon scooped up and rumbled with to the 7-yard line.

King's came right back and scored three minutes later on a 22-yard run by Jackson. With 4:16 to play in the opening quarter, the Monarchs led 14-7.

The Eagles' second touchdown came after a roughing-the-punter call against King's extended the following drive. Jenkins connected with Brian Ratliff on a 54-yard scoring strike, but the Eagles missed the point after.

A 15-yard King's punt gave Bridgewater good field position, and the Eagles went up 19-14 on a 36-yard scoring strike from Jenkins to Andre Jones that was either a hot read or blown coverage.

The Eagles missed the two-point conversion, and two spectacular defenses assumed control of what looked like it would be a shootout.

The Monarchs kept the Eagles from getting to the perimeter, stifling the Eagles' option attack and funneling everything towards their excellent tackles and linebackers. King's was content to run the ball, not being able to pass against Bridgewater's speedy defenders.

The Monarchs added a 28-yard VonTanhausen field goal in the third period, when they were going with the wind.

The two teams had nothing but praise for each other afterward, with several people from Bridgewater saying that the King's defense was the best he'd seen in Division III, better than even Mount Union's in last year's Stagg Bowl.

The Eagles came in scoring 41 points per game and rolling up 464 yards, including 243 rushing. King's outgained the Eagles 376-210. Punter Chad Coffey, who gained 18 yards on a fake, was the Eagles' leading rusher. They finished with just 18 yards rushing.

"We had a defense to make a run all the way," said Manello. "That group could have made a run back into Virginia, back here. That's the hard part."

Jackson, just a sophomore, gained his 259 yards on 45 carries.

"I give all the credit to my offensive line," he said. "Every time I touched the ball, I felt I was going to break one."

Clark, who called King's as physical a team as he's seen in his eight years in Divison III, said his team wouldn't over-analyze the win.

"After you've won for a while, you kind of find a way to win," he said.

And sometimes the wind helps find it for you.

Sep. 23: All times Eastern
Final
at Bridgewater State 34, Fitchburg State 25
Box Score
Sep. 24: All times Eastern
Final
Christopher Newport 17, at TCNJ 0
Final
at Hobart 27, Union 23
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Final
at Thomas More 20, Carnegie Mellon 16
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Final
at Massachusetts Maritime 32, Worcester State 14
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Final
at Endicott 37, Nichols 0
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Final
MIT 30, at Maine Maritime 13
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Final
at Buffalo State 40, Morrisville State 24
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at Salve Regina 48, Coast Guard 10
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Final
St. Lawrence 20, at RPI 14
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Final
at Framingham State 23, Western Connecticut 17
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at Montclair State 21, Rowan 14
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Final
at Stevenson 54, FDU-Florham 15
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Final
at Trinity (Conn.) 38, Bates 7
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Final
at Western New England 59, Curry 28
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at Utica 24, Cortland 13
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Final
Colby 9, at Williams 7
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Final
at Middlebury 40, Bowdoin 3
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at Amherst 34, Hamilton 0
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Kean 24, at William Paterson 13
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at DePauw 66, Hiram 17
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Final
Franklin and Marshall 45, at Juniata 22
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at Kenyon 31, Allegheny 7
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Salisbury 35, at Southern Virginia 0
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Albright 20, at Delaware Valley 17
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Final
Lycoming 28, at Misericordia 24
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at Plymouth State 30, Mass-Dartmouth 14
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at Husson 35, Alfred State 0
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at Springfield 28, WPI 23
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at Moravian 24, Dickinson 10
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at Denison 45, Wooster 7
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at Wittenberg 24, Wabash 14
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at St. Vincent 57, Grove City 32
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at Susquehanna 55, Gettysburg 40
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at King's 21, Lebanon Valley 17
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at Alfred 20, Ithaca 6
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at Widener 25, Wilkes 23
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at McDaniel 30, Ursinus 27
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at Muskingum 28, Marietta 10
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at Minnesota-Morris 28, Iowa Wesleyan 27
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at John Carroll 42, Heidelberg 14
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Ohio Northern 16, at Otterbein 10
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Case Western Reserve 35, at Waynesburg 7
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at Franklin 44, Bluffton 38
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Rose-Hulman 23, at Defiance 15
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at Centre 49, Chicago 27
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at Mount St. Joseph 38, Manchester 19
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Hanover 49, at Anderson 25
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at Merchant Marine 55, Rochester 7
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Johns Hopkins 30, at Muhlenberg 24
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Concordia-Chicago 42, at Maranatha Baptist 10
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Washington U. 36, at Birmingham-Southern 21
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Final
UW-Platteville 56, at Lakeland 0
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at Northwestern (Minn.) 38, Martin Luther 20
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at Eureka 28, MacMurray 13
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at Westminster (Mo.) 35, Greenville 14
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Dubuque 30, at Luther 17
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Monmouth 52, at Lake Forest 6
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St. Thomas 33, at St. John's 21
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Final
at Augsburg 49, Carleton 17
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Final
Bethel 44, at St. Olaf 7
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at Hamline 42, Gustavus Adolphus 40
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Final
at UW-Whitewater 35, Morningside 21
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Final
at Hardin-Simmons 48, Texas Lutheran 38
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at UW-River Falls 42, Southwestern 22
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Simpson 17, at Buena Vista 9
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at St. Scholastica 49, Crown 13
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Cornell 46, at Beloit 41
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at Carthage 27, Augustana 24
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Coe 48, at Nebraska Wesleyan 17
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at Wartburg 56, Finlandia 0
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at Wheaton (Ill.) 10, Elmhurst 6
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Hendrix 42, at Millsaps 14
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Illinois Wesleyan 45, at North Park 10
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at Macalester 34, Grinnell 0
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at Ripon 33, Knox 19
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Illinois College 40, at Lawrence 15
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UW-Oshkosh 77, at Morthland College (Ill.) 0
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Central 42, at Loras 34
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at Geneva 35, Thiel 27
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UW-Eau Claire 40, at Wisconsin Lutheran 14
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St. John Fisher 42, at Brockport 38
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Final
UW-Stevens Point 44, at Adrian 19
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UW-La Crosse 41, at Carroll 7
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Final
at Berry 41, Sewanee 3
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Final
Westminster (Pa.) 38, at Bethany 9
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Ohio Wesleyan 29, at Oberlin 16
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Final
at Tufts 17, Wesleyan 14
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Final
Mount Union 49, at Baldwin Wallace 7
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Final
at Capital 35, Wilmington 21
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Final
at Southwestern Assemblies 23, Austin 17
Photos
Cancelled
Langston at McMurry
Video Live Stats
Final
at North Central (Ill.) 42, Millikin 7
Box Score Recap
Final
at Chapman 19, Trinity (Texas) 17
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Sep. 24: All times Eastern
Final
at Thomas More 20, Carnegie Mellon 16
Box Score Recap
Final
at Hobart 27, Union 23
Box Score Recap
Final
Christopher Newport 17, at TCNJ 0
Final
at Wittenberg 24, Wabash 14
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Final
Salisbury 35, at Southern Virginia 0
Box Score
Final
Albright 20, at Delaware Valley 17
Box Score Recap
Final
at Utica 24, Cortland 13
Box Score Recap Recap
Final
at Stevenson 54, FDU-Florham 15
Box Score Recap
Final
at Franklin 44, Bluffton 38
Box Score Recap
Final
Johns Hopkins 30, at Muhlenberg 24
Box Score Recap
Final
St. Thomas 33, at St. John's 21
Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at UW-Whitewater 35, Morningside 21
Box Score Recap
Final
at Hardin-Simmons 48, Texas Lutheran 38
Box Score Photos
Final
at Wheaton (Ill.) 10, Elmhurst 6
Recap
Final
UW-Platteville 56, at Lakeland 0
Box Score
Final
UW-Oshkosh 77, at Morthland College (Ill.) 0
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Final
Central 42, at Loras 34
Box Score Recap
Final
St. John Fisher 42, at Brockport 38
Box Score Recap
Final
Mount Union 49, at Baldwin Wallace 7
Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at North Central (Ill.) 42, Millikin 7
Box Score Recap