October 29, 2011

North Central Ties National Record in Rout of Elmhurst

More news about: North Central (Ill.)

Shaking off a slow start and putting together what turned out to be a night of record-setting efforts, the North Central College football team won for the seventh straight time on Saturday, rolling past the Elmhurst College Bluejays, 51-10, at Benedetti-Wehrli Stadium.

The sixth-ranked Cardinals (7-1, 5-0 College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin) won for the 14th straight time in CCIW play and extended their winning streak in regular-season home games to 22 consecutive contests. 

North Central established two new school records and tied a national NCAA Division III record on Saturday, as Josh Mitchell's 93-yard interception return for a touchdown in the fourth quarter goes down as the longest in the history of the Cardinals' program. North Central has returned six interceptions for touchdowns this season, tying the national record. Kicker Nick Dace, meanwhile, converted three field-goal attempts to give him 23 for his career, also a new school record.

North Central forced an Elmhurst punt on the game's opening drive, and took its own first possession 74 yards in nine plays and got a 38-yard field goal from Dace to get on the board first. The Bluejays (4-4, 2-3 CCIW) responded with a field goal of their own as Trevor Spaulding connected on a 28-yard attempt to tie the game with 4:47 left in the opening period.

The Cardinals' second score, also a field goal, was set up by their special-teams unit, as Elmhurst returner Jon Janus mishandled a punt on his own five-yard line and Alex Tripp dove in and recovered the ball. The hosts were unable to punch the ball into the end zone, and Dace came on for a 33-yard field goal to put the Cardinals back in front. After the North Central defense forced a punt, the Cardinals traveled 58 yards in seven plays before scoring the first touchdown of the evening on a three-yard run by Jordan Tassio with 5:51 left in the first half. 

Janus' struggles continued on the ensuing kickoff, as the Cardinals' Jordan Dean forced a fumble and Greg Dickson pounced on the ball to give North Central possession once again at the Elmhurst 34.

"Two weeks in a row, we've been able to get a fumble recovery on a muffed punt," said North Central head coach John Thorne. "It was funny, because we got in the huddle and I said, 'Guys, if we can do it on the punt team, we can do it on the kickoff team too.' Maybe I need to say that more often."

Four plays later, quarterback Tyler Dicken connected with tight end Alex Haan on a 21-yard touchdown pass to extend the lead to 20-3. After another Bluejay punt, the Cardinals took over on offense with just 42 seconds left before halftime. Dicken, however, fired a 21-yard pass to Tassio and a 28-yard strike to Nick Hicks to put North Central in position for a third field goal by Dace. The 37-yard kick split the uprights as time ran out, sending the Cardinals into the break with a 23-3 advantage.

The Cardinals' first drive of the third quarter looked as if it would yield a field goal as well, but a botched snap forced punter Tyler Rasche to roll out and attempt a pass, which fell incomplete. Three plays later, however, the North Central defense forced a punt and the offense returned to the field. Nick Kukuc gained 34 yards on three consecutive runs to jumpstart the drive, and Tassio capped off a seven-play, 57-yard drive with a seven-yard TD run.

The Cardinals stuffed another fourth-down conversion attempt on Elmhurst's next drive, taking over on their own eight-yard line. The drive appeared to end with a punt, but a Bluejay penalty kept the drive alive. Dicken threw a 24-yard pass to Hicks and a 42-yard bomb to Bai Kabba to get North Central into the red zone, and Kukuc ran in from two yards out on the second play of the fourth quarter as the hosts took a commanding 37-3 lead.

"The offensive line really had a much better blocking half in the second half," Thorne said, "which is good to see because a lot of times you go in at halftime and you're ahead, and you come back out and play too cautious, too safe and the next thing you know the other team is back in the game."

Elmhurst scored its lone touchdown of the night on the next drive, as a 59-yard, six-play drive culminated in a 24-yard TD pass from Joe Furco to Andrew Tubek with 12:13 to play. The Bluejays came up with an interception on North Central's next drive, but were unable to move the ball and turned it over on downs at their own 47. Kukuc ran for 35 yards on the next play from scrimmage, and Dicken followed by calling his own number for a 12-yard scoring run with 10:21 to play, boosting the lead to 44-10. Mitchell capped off the scoring by returning an interception for a touchdown for the second time this season on the next drive. 

The Cardinals finished the game with 529 yards of total offense. Dicken completed 18 of 33 passes for a season-high 325 yards, as Hicks established career highs in leading the team in receptions (7) and receiving yards (118). Kukuc broke the 100-yard barrier for the third straight week, gaining 141 yards on 18 carries. 

"They were doing a lot of things to try to confuse Tyler, and I thought he had a really solid game," Thorne pointed out.  The receivers are getting better at reading secondaries, and Nick Kukuc and Jordan Tassio both had some really big runs."

The North Central defense, which did not allow a third-down conversion in 13 attempts, was led by Joey Michals, who finished with nine tackles, two tackles for loss, a quarterback sack and a forced fumble. Josh McLeod added seven stops and Shane Dierking contributed three pass breakups. 

Furco completed 20 of 40 passes for 237 yards, as Joe St. Peter led the Elmhurst receiving corps with 52 yards on six catches. Bluejay running back Scottie Williams, who entered Saturday's action averaging 144 rushing yards per game, was limited to 74 yards on 16 carries. Wayne Tuckson led the Elmhurst defense with nine tackles.

North Central hosts 13th-ranked Wheaton College (7-1, 4-1 CCIW) on Saturday at 1 p.m. in the annual Battle for the Little Brass Bell. 

comments powered by Disqus
Sep. 4: All times Eastern
8:00 PM
East Texas Baptist at Tex. A&M-Commerce
Audio
Sep. 5: All times Eastern
7:00 PM
Anna Maria at Worcester State
7:00 PM
Western New England at Springfield
Live Stats Video
7:00 PM
Albright at Kean
Live Stats Video
7:00 PM
Widener at Rowan
Live Stats Live Stats Audio
7:00 PM
WPI at Curry
Live Stats Live Stats
7:00 PM
Mass-Dartmouth at Mount Ida
Live Stats
7:00 PM
Salve Regina at Bridgewater State
Live Stats Video
7:00 PM
William Paterson at SUNY-Maritime
Live Stats
7:00 PM
Ursinus at TCNJ
Live Stats
7:00 PM
Fitchburg State at Becker
Live Stats Video
7:00 PM
Nichols at Westfield State
Live Stats Video
7:30 PM
McDaniel at Catholic
Live Stats
7:30 PM
Trine at Manchester
Live Stats Live Stats Audio Audio
8:00 PM
Waldorf at UW-Whitewater
Live Stats
Sep. 6: All times Eastern
12:00 PM
Endicott at Framingham State
Live Stats Video
12:00 PM
Dickinson at Hobart
Live Stats Video Audio
12:00 PM
Holland College (PEI, Canada) at Maine Maritime
Video
12:00 PM
Otterbein at St. John Fisher
Live Stats Audio
12:00 PM
Union at Ithaca
12:00 PM
Pomona-Pitzer at MIT
Preview Video
12:00 PM
Husson at Alfred
12:00 PM
Randolph-Macon at Johns Hopkins
Live Stats Video
12:00 PM
Cortland State at Buffalo State
Live Stats
1:00 PM
St. Lawrence at Coast Guard
Video
1:00 PM
Thomas More at Wesley
Live Stats Audio Audio
1:00 PM
Plymouth State at Castleton State
Live Stats Video
1:00 PM
Lebanon Valley at Franklin and Marshall
Live Stats Video Audio
1:00 PM
Emory and Henry at Ferrum
Audio
1:00 PM
Washington and Lee at Averett
Live Stats
1:00 PM
Hampden-Sydney at Wabash
Live Stats Video Audio
1:00 PM
Rose-Hulman at Kalamazoo
Live Stats Video Audio
1:00 PM
Wilmington at Olivet
Live Stats Audio
1:00 PM
King's at Moravian
Live Stats
1:00 PM
Alfred State at Morrisville State
Live Stats Audio
1:00 PM
Susquehanna at Lycoming
Live Stats Video Audio
1:00 PM
Oberlin at Brockport State
1:00 PM
Utica at Misericordia
Live Stats
1:00 PM
Delaware Valley at Montclair State
1:00 PM
Southern Virginia at Methodist
1:00 PM
Marietta at Kenyon
1:00 PM
Merchant Marine at Apprentice
1:00 PM
Muhlenberg at Wilkes
Live Stats Video
1:00 PM
Sewanee at DePauw
Live Stats Video Audio
1:30 PM
Ohio Wesleyan at Bluffton
Live Stats
1:30 PM
Adrian at Defiance
Live Stats Video Audio
1:30 PM
RPI at Norwich
Live Stats Video
1:30 PM
Alma at Heidelberg
1:30 PM
Berry at Maryville (Tenn.)
Live Stats Video Audio
1:30 PM
Bridgewater (Va.) at Gettysburg
Video Audio
1:30 PM
Muskingum at Waynesburg
Audio
1:30 PM
St. Vincent at John Carroll
1:30 PM
Mount Union at Bethany
Live Stats Video
1:30 PM
Juniata at Grove City
Live Stats Audio
2:00 PM
Franklin at Illinois Wesleyan
Live Stats Video
2:00 PM
Rhodes at Austin
Live Stats
2:00 PM
Carleton at Macalester
Live Stats Video Audio
2:00 PM
UW-Platteville at Buena Vista
Live Stats Video
2:00 PM
Ohio Northern at Washington U.
Live Stats Video
2:00 PM
UW-River Falls at St. John's
Live Stats Video Audio
2:00 PM
Crown at Gustavus Adolphus
2:00 PM
Concordia-Moorhead at Jamestown
2:00 PM
Simpson at Iowa Wesleyan
2:00 PM
Hope at Monmouth
Preview Audio
2:00 PM
Lawrence at Rockford
2:00 PM
Aurora at Illinois College
2:00 PM
Carroll at Lakeland
2:00 PM
Elmhurst at Loras
2:00 PM
Millikin at Greenville
Audio
2:00 PM
Coe at Wheaton (Ill.)
2:00 PM
Presentation at Luther
2:00 PM
Martin Luther at Maranatha Baptist
Video
2:00 PM
MacMurray at Culver-Stockton
2:00 PM
Eureka at Knox
2:00 PM
UW-Stout at Dakota Wesleyan
2:00 PM
Huntingdon at Louisiana College
Video
2:00 PM
Ripon at St. Scholastica
Live Stats
2:00 PM
Hendrix at Westminster (Mo.)
Video
2:10 PM
UW-Eau Claire at St. Thomas
Audio Audio
3:00 PM
St. Norbert at Carthage
Live Stats Video
4:00 PM
Claremont-Mudd-Scripps at Puget Sound
4:00 PM
Lewis and Clark at Whitworth
Live Stats Video
4:00 PM
College of Idaho at Pacific
4:30 PM
Arizona Christian at George Fox
5:00 PM
Hartwick at Western Connecticut
6:00 PM
Salisbury at Christopher Newport
6:00 PM
Augustana at Mount St. Joseph
Live Stats
7:00 PM
Carnegie Mellon at Case Western Reserve
Live Stats Video
7:00 PM
Stevenson at N.C. Wesleyan
Live Stats Video Audio
7:00 PM
Butler at Wittenberg
Live Stats Video
7:00 PM
Shenandoah at Gallaudet
Live Stats Audio
7:00 PM
Wooster at Washington and Jefferson
Live Stats Video Audio
7:00 PM
Geneva at Frostburg State
Live Stats
7:00 PM
Thiel at Allegheny
7:00 PM
Taylor (Ind.) at Anderson
Live Stats Audio
7:00 PM
Hiram at Westminster (Pa.)
7:00 PM
Denison at Earlham
Live Stats
7:00 PM
Greensboro at Guilford
Live Stats Video
7:00 PM
Albion at UW-Stevens Point
Live Stats Video Audio
7:00 PM
Concordia (Wis.) at North Park
7:00 PM
Beloit at Chicago
Live Stats
7:00 PM
LaGrange at Birmingham-Southern
7:00 PM
Howard Payne at Trinity (Texas)
Audio
7:00 PM
Mary Hardin-Baylor at Millsaps
Live Stats Video
7:00 PM
Sul Ross State at Texas Lutheran
Live Stats Video
7:00 PM
Robert Morris-Chicago at UW-Oshkosh
7:00 PM
UW-La Crosse at Dubuque
Live Stats Video
7:30 PM
Hanover at Centre
7:30 PM
Central at Benedictine
Live Stats Video Audio
8:00 PM
St. Olaf at Northwestern (Minn.)
8:00 PM
Hamline at Minnesota-Morris
8:00 PM
Lake Forest at Wisconsin Lutheran
Live Stats Audio
8:00 PM
Wartburg at Augsburg
Live Stats Video Audio Audio
8:00 PM
Hardin-Simmons at Southwestern
Live Stats Audio
Dec. 20: All times Eastern
Final
at UW-Whitewater 52, Mount Union 14
@ Salem Stadium; Salem, Va.
Recap Photos Photos
Dec. 14: All times Eastern
Final
UW-Whitewater 16, at Mary Hardin-Baylor 15
Recap Recap Photos
Final
at Mount Union 41, North Central (Ill.) 40
Box Score Recap Recap Photos

What We're Reading