December 4, 2010

North Central's Playoff Run Halted by Defending Champs

More news about: North Central (Ill.)

The North Central College football team was denied in its bid to win the first quarterfinal playoff game in the program's history, as the defending NCAA Division III national champion, the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, took advantage of a series of late turnovers to record a 20-10 victory over the Cardinals at Benedetti-Wehrli Stadium.

The Warhawks (13-0) never led until the fourth period, when they scored three times, each following a North Central turnover, to put an end to the Cardinals' 2010 campaign.

Both offenses fired warning shots at their counterparts at the start of the contest, each scoring on their first possession. The Cardinals took their opening drive 88 yards in seven plays, as Spencer Stanek was 5 for 5 passing for 85 yards, including a 47-yard completion to Steve Hlavac that set the hosts up with a first-and-goal at the one-yard line. Nick Kukuc covered the remaining ground on the next play and North Central held an early 7-0 advantage.

UW-Whitewater took to the air on its first play from scrimmage, as quarterback Lee Brekke heaved a 50-yard pass to Adam Brandes. Brekke found Brandes in the end zone three plays later for a 10-yard touchdown to tie the game at 7-7.

The Cardinals did not threaten to score the rest of the first half, but did step up on defense to thwart a Whitewater opportunity. With the Warhawks operating from the North Central 15, Brekke threw to the end zone and was intercepted by Scott Hogan.

A long pass play to Hlavac also set up the Cardinals' next score midway through the third period. On first down from his own 30-yard line, Stanek threw to Hlavac for 50 yards, setting the home team up at the UWW 20. The drive stalled at the 14, and Nick Dace came on to kick a 32-yard field goal with 6:32 on the clock. The field goal was Dace's 13th of the season, tying the North Central single-season record.

North Central forced a punt on the Warhawks' next possession, taking over at its own four-yard line, but Stanek's third-down pass was picked off by UWW's Sam Overton, leaving the visitors just 19 yards from the goal line as the third quarter ended.

Brekke scrambled to his right and found the end zone from five yards out with 13:46 left in the game to give the Warhawks their first lead at 14-10. UWW got another short field when Luke Hibner recovered a fumble at the Cardinals' 39. A series of six straight runs by tailback Levell Coppage moved the Warhawks to the 10-yard line, and kicker Eric Kindler booted a 27-yard field goal with 6:06 to play to boost the lead to 17-10.

Hibner came up big for the Whitewater defense on the ensuing drive, returning an interception 43 yards to the North Central three-yard line. The Cardinals' defense stood tall and kept the Warhawks out of the end zone, but Kindler was able to tack on a 19-yard field goal with 2:03 to play.

The Cardinals did wind up outgaining Whitewater, 306-253. Stanek was 15 of 24 passing for 207 yards and Jordan Tassio was North Central's top ground gainer with 44 yards on 12 carries. Hlavac caught seven passes for 130 yards, becoming the Cardinals' all-time leader in career receptions (179).

Matt Wenger recorded 13 tackles (10 solo) and three tackles for loss fo the Cardinals, while Kane Thompson and Josh McLeod each made six stops.

Coppage ran 29 times for 107 yards for the Warhawks, as Brekke was 9 of 16 passing for 113 yards and Brandes made five catches for 92 yards. Linebacker Lane Olson was Whitewater's top tackler with 11.

The Cardinals finish the season with an overall record of 12-1, setting a new North Central record for wins in a single season.

Sep. 24: All times Eastern
Final
Christopher Newport 17, at TCNJ 0
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at Hobart 27, Union 23
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at Thomas More 20, Carnegie Mellon 16
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at Massachusetts Maritime 32, Worcester State 14
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at Endicott 37, Nichols 0
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MIT 30, at Maine Maritime 13
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at Buffalo State 40, Morrisville State 24
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at Salve Regina 48, Coast Guard 10
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St. Lawrence 20, at RPI 14
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at Framingham State 23, Western Connecticut 17
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at Montclair State 21, Rowan 14
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at Stevenson 54, FDU-Florham 15
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at Trinity (Conn.) 38, Bates 7
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at Western New England 59, Curry 28
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at Utica 24, Cortland 13
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Colby 9, at Williams 7
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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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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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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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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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at Augsburg 49, Carleton 17
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Bethel 44, at St. Olaf 7
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at Hamline 42, Gustavus Adolphus 40
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at UW-Whitewater 35, Morningside 21
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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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UW-Stevens Point 44, at Adrian 19
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UW-La Crosse 41, at Carroll 7
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at Berry 41, Sewanee 3
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Westminster (Pa.) 38, at Bethany 9
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Ohio Wesleyan 29, at Oberlin 16
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at Tufts 17, Wesleyan 14
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Mount Union 49, at Baldwin Wallace 7
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at Capital 35, Wilmington 21
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at Southwestern Assemblies 23, Austin 17
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Cancelled
Langston at McMurry
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at North Central (Ill.) 42, Millikin 7
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at Chapman 19, Trinity (Texas) 17
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Sep. 29: All times Eastern
6:30 PM
Randolph-Macon at Shenandoah
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Sep. 30: All times Eastern
6:30 PM
Emory and Henry at Washington and Lee
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Sep. 24: All times Eastern
Final
at Thomas More 20, Carnegie Mellon 16
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Final
at Hobart 27, Union 23
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Final
Christopher Newport 17, at TCNJ 0
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at Wittenberg 24, Wabash 14
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Final
Salisbury 35, at Southern Virginia 0
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Final
Albright 20, at Delaware Valley 17
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Final
at Utica 24, Cortland 13
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Final
at Stevenson 54, FDU-Florham 15
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Final
at Franklin 44, Bluffton 38
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Final
Johns Hopkins 30, at Muhlenberg 24
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Final
St. Thomas 33, at St. John's 21
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Final
at UW-Whitewater 35, Morningside 21
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at Hardin-Simmons 48, Texas Lutheran 38
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Final
at Wheaton (Ill.) 10, Elmhurst 6
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UW-Platteville 56, at Lakeland 0
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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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St. John Fisher 42, at Brockport 38
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Mount Union 49, at Baldwin Wallace 7
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at North Central (Ill.) 42, Millikin 7
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