/seasons/2011/contrib/20111126z2fg55

Burke Rallies Wabash Past North Central

More news about: Wabash

 If Wabash's 2001 win over DePauw in the Monon Bell is forever "The Catch," then Saturday's improbable 29-28 playoff win over North Central should be dubbed "The Comeback."

The No. 9 (and now 12-0) Little Giants rallied from a late third quarter 28-7 deficit and scored a gutsy two-point conversion with a minute left to knock off the No. 6-ranked (10-2) Cardinals. Wabash advances to play at Mount Union Saturday in the national quarterfinals in Alliance Ohio. Mount Union is the bracket's No. 1 seed.

See game photos here, here, and here.

Tyler Burke
Was the game the Little Giants' best comeback ever? Consider the following:
Tyler Burke made his first start of the year replacing an injured Chase Belton. Two of his first three passes were intercepted and the other was incomplete.
• Wabash had 79 yards of total offense at half time.
• After Burke hit Wes Chamblee on a 20-yard scoring strike to open the third quarter, the Cardinals immediately responded with a 62-yard drive to push the margin to 28-7 with six minutes left in the third period.
• After pulling to within 1 at 28-27 on a Jeff Bell 1-yard TD catch, Coach Erik Raeburn made one of gustiest calls of his tenure. He elected to play for the win.

But getting to that play was the making of a memorable and improbable comeback against one of D3 football's best defenses.

It started with halftime adjustments by Defense Coach B.J. Hammer. The Wabash defense had allowed 128 first half rushing yards. They were able to slow that down in the second half.

Burke started the comeback aided by Wes Chamblee. He found Chamblee on a 20 yard pass to get Wabash on the board and then a 33-yard scoring strike on a fourth-and-8 to cut the margin to 28-14.

Then came one of the key plays of the game for North Central. After a 9- and 20-yard gain by the Cardinal rushing attack, Cody Buresh forced a Jordan Tassio fumble, recovered by Kyle Najar, at the Wabash 31.

"I thought we had a great drive going and would have put the game away," said North Central Coach John Thorne said. "We had a fumble, and he never fumbles."

The momentum had clearly shifted but it still wasn't easy.

North Central forced a fourth-and-12 after a sack. But Burke found a leaping Wes Chamblee at mid-field for the first down. Seven plays later Burke hit Horn for a 23-yard touchdown, 28-21, that had the sideline and Little Giant Stadium rocking.

The defense then lived up to its year-long billing and forced a quick three and out. Burke opened the series taking an 8-yard sack.

"I'd be first to tell you that I'd be nervous in that situation," he said of the final drive. "But the pain and the situation, I knew I had to step up. I had to do it for my team. We were just rolling and it felt like we had such momentum. I felt like we couldn't be stopped and that's just how we felt in the fourth quarter. We had all the confidence in the world we were going to score on that last drive."

Burke clearly was not going to be denied. Facing a fourth-and-14 at his own 29 yard line, the senior quarterback was forced out of the pocket and took off running for a 16-yard gain and first down.

Jonathan Horn TD Catch vs. North Central
"They made some adjustments in the second half, keeping a tight end and a fullback in to block," said North Central defensive tackle and Gagliardi Trophy nominee Peter Bulandr. "We got a few good shots on (Burke) in the second half, but I give him all the credit in the world. He played a great game."

Two pass completions for 12 and 13 yards to Horn moved the ball to the Cardinal 24. Wabash faced another fourth down. NCC jumped on the snap count was penalized giving Wabash another life.

Then Horn stepped up with an 18-yard catch at the 1-yard line. Burke rolled out and hit sophomore tight end Jeff Bell for the touchdown, 28-27. (In photo at right, Horn caught the ball inbounds and was trying to get it to the goal line.) (Bell celebrates the touchdown, bottom left.)

Then Raeburn decided to go for the win. The Little Giants came out of the huddle and shifted a portion of their line wide right. A North Central lineman was called off sides giving Wabash the ball at the two.

"The play we had called I thought we could get them," Raeburn said of the two-point conversion attempt. "I didn't want to go to overtime because they were running ball better than we had. I thought they'd have the advantage. We decided to go for the win. I was very confident the play we had called would work.

"Then they jumped off sides and I felt like we couldn't come back to that play because they'd already seen the shift. Then the play we had called I thought would work. We tried to throw it to Wes and he basically got tackled. Then Tyler threw it to James and he tipped it to Brady just like the way we practiced it."

Of course the last remark was accompanied by a chuckle. In a play reminiscent of that 2001 Monon Miracle tipped pass catch, Senior Brady Young was in the right place at the right time. But unlike the Monon Miracle, it was not a set play.

"The play was going to Wes, we were going to throw it in the middle," Young said. "I'm running and taking off for the corner of the end zone and I see Burke looking to the outside. He threw the ball to (James) Kraus who's right on the line. My guy goes up and hits Kraus. I saw the ball was coming a little high. I was standing back there waiting on it. I was thinking if this is tipped anywhere I'm going after it. I'm going to get it. And you know, it tipped right into my hands."

The improbable Little Giant rally was complete. Wabash led 29-28 with just 52 seconds to play.

The Cardinals had a last gasp snuffed out by the Wabash defense. They got the ball on their own 18 and threatened to move into field goal range. On six plays North Central had moved the ball to the Wabash 36. Austin Hodges secured the win when he picked off Tyler Dicken's pass at the Wabash 24.

"I'm super proud of our team, how hard they played and how they kept fighting," Raeburn said. "Even though we were down big, I'm particularly proud of this guy (as he pats Burke on shoulder in the postgame news conference). We've had some guys who got beat out for a starting position and they hung it up. Thank God Tyler is not one of those guys."

Burke hit 24-of 49 passes for 311 yards and four touchdowns. Wes Chamblee had a monster day with 9 catches for 147 yards, two touchdowns, and 215 all-purpose yards. Senior Jonathan Horn had an even bigger day with 13 catches for 152 yards, and a touchdown.

"The emotions are out the roof right now," Horn said. "This is what we've worked for all season long. Always means always and we showed that in the second half. We made our corrections at half time for the second half and I think we wanted it more in the end. We executed the best we could offensively, defensively, and special teams."

North Central piled up 208 yards rushing to Wabash's 92. But in the critical fourth quarter the Cardinals managed just 51 yards rushing and 25 passing.

The huge Wabash advantage came in the passing game where Burke's 311 yards dwarfed the 127 yards that five Cardinal passers accumulated.

Defensively, CJ Gum collected 15 tackles with freshman Cody Buresh adding 9 more. Senior Kyle Najar had an outstanding day with 7 stops. Freshman AJ Akinridbade had six stops, three of those for a Cardinal loss. Jorge Diaz-Aguilar and Jonathan Koop had five tackles apiece.
Oct. 20: All times Eastern
Final
at Johns Hopkins 52, Gettysburg 0
Video Video Box Score Recap
Oct. 21: All times Eastern
Final
at Framingham State 29, Westfield State 14
Video Box Score
Final
Moravian 20, at Juniata 17
Video Box Score
Final
at Salve Regina 41, Endicott 14
Video Box Score Photos
Final
at Thomas More 63, St. Vincent 13
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Union 28, Hobart 23
Video
Final
at Hamilton 27, Colby 24
Video Box Score
Final
at Christopher Newport 27, William Paterson 19
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Ithaca 35, St. John Fisher 10
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Allegheny 44, Kenyon 35
Video Box Score
Final
SUNY-Maritime 21, at Mount Ida 13
Video Box Score
Final
Middlebury 43, at Bates 14
Video Box Score Photos
Final
at Springfield 68, Catholic 20
Video Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Amherst 21, Wesleyan 17
Video Box Score
Final
at Trinity (Conn.) 63, Bowdoin 14
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Husson 48, at Gallaudet 21
Box Score
Final
Wabash 35, at Oberlin 21
Video Box Score
Final
at Utica 34, Buffalo State 12
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Ohio Northern 7, at Muskingum 6
Video Box Score Photos
Final
at Frostburg State 62, Montclair State 3
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Wesley 34, Rowan 3
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Stevenson 26, Albright 23
Video Box Score
Final
Wittenberg 52, at DePauw 6
Video Box Score Video
Final
at Albion 31, Alma 28
Video Box Score
Final
at Guilford 45, Shenandoah 20
Box Score Recap Photos
Final
Plymouth State 40, at Massachusetts Maritime 14
Video Box Score Recap Photos
Final
Wooster 58, at Hiram 25
Video Box Score
Final
Washington and Lee 36, at Hampden-Sydney 6
Video Box Score
Final
at Anna Maria 36, Alfred State 34
Box Score
Final
Bridgewater 31, at Emory and Henry 23
Video Box Score
Final
at FDU-Florham 49, Wilkes 31
Video Box Score
Final
Lebanon Valley 17, at Misericordia 0
Video
Final
at St. Lawrence 36, Rochester 14
Video Box Score Recap
Final
RPI 30, at Alfred 15
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Curry 46, Nichols 16
Video Box Score
Final
at Salisbury 42, Southern Virginia 0
Video Box Score
Final
Ferrum 27, at Brevard 24
Video Box Score Photos
Final
Randolph-Macon 63, at Apprentice 14
Box Score
Final
at Susquehanna 21, Ursinus 14
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Cortland 34, at Morrisville State 20
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Trine 50, Hope 14
Box Score Recap Recap
Final
Trinity (Texas) 27, at Sewanee 21
Video Box Score
Final
Wartburg 41, at Luther 16
Video Box Score
Final
at Franklin and Marshall 56, Dickinson 0
Video Video Box Score
Final
Tufts 21, at Williams 13
Video Box Score Photos
Final
Mount Union 66, at Wilmington 7
Video Box Score
Final
MIT 30, at Coast Guard 21
Video Box Score Photos
Final
at Norwich 24, Maine Maritime 22
Video Box Score
Final
at Marietta 44, Heidelberg 21
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Franklin 29, at Rose-Hulman 22
Video Video Box Score Photos
Final
John Carroll 48, at Capital 21
Video Box Score
Final
at Manchester 28, Bluffton 21
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Mount St. Joseph 71, at Anderson 27
Video Box Score
Final
UW-Whitewater 20, at UW-River Falls 7
Video
Final
Kean 26, at TCNJ 3
Video Box Score
Final
at LaGrange 59, Greensboro 10
Video Box Score
Final
at Worcester State 45, Mass-Dartmouth 40
Video Box Score
Final
Muhlenberg 40, at McDaniel 13
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Western New England 45, at Becker 0
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Maryville (Tenn.) 35, Methodist 14
Video Box Score
Final
Adrian 36, at Kalamazoo 22
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Denison 31, at Ohio Wesleyan 20
Video Box Score Photos
Final - OT
at Washington and Jefferson 34, Westminster (Pa.) 33
Video Box Score Live stats Audio Audio
Final
Berry 37, at Millsaps 22
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Benedictine 43, Olivet 37
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Birmingham-Southern 31, at Austin 24
Video Box Score
Final
at Mary Hardin-Baylor 45, Belhaven 7
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at UW-Stout 23, UW-Stevens Point 17
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Eureka 37, at MacMurray 20
Video Box Score
Final
at Illinois Wesleyan 13, Carthage 10
Video Box Score
Final
Nebraska Wesleyan 14, at Buena Vista 13
Video Box Score
Final
Lakeland 48, at Wisconsin Lutheran 0
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Aurora 28, Rockford 21
Video Box Score
Final
at Concordia-Chicago 37, Concordia (Wis.) 17
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at St. Olaf 29, Carleton 26
Video
Final
at St. John's 41, Gustavus Adolphus 17
Video Box Score
Final
at Concordia-Moorhead 42, Augsburg 20
Video Box Score Photos
Final
St. Thomas 84, at Hamline 0
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Westminster (Mo.) 24, at Greenville 14
Video Box Score
Final
at Loras 44, Coe 38
Video Box Score
Final
Monmouth 61, at Cornell 10
Video
Final
Wheaton (Ill.) 56, at North Park 0
Box Score Recap
Final
Northwestern (Minn.) 30, at Martin Luther 14
Video Box Score
Final
Hardin-Simmons 33, at Texas Lutheran 30
Box Score Photos
Final
at Lake Forest 70, Grinnell 6
Video Box Score Photos
Final
at Millikin 56, Carroll 35
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Macalester 47, Ripon 31
Video Box Score
Final
at St. Norbert 38, Lawrence 6
Video Box Score Recap
Final
St. Scholastica 49, at Crown 21
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Iowa Wesleyan 24, Minnesota-Morris 17
Box Score
Final
UW-Platteville 34, at UW-Eau Claire 14
Video Box Score Photos
Final
at WPI 41, Merchant Marine 7
Box Score Recap
Final
at Centre 42, Rhodes 35
Video Box Score Recap Photos
Final
Hanover 49, at Earlham 14
Video Box Score Photos
Final
at Chicago 55, Beloit 12
Box Score Photos
Final
UW-Oshkosh 42, at UW-La Crosse 28
Video Box Score Recap
Final - OT
at Dubuque 28, Simpson 27
Video Box Score Live stats Audio
Final
at North Central (Ill.) 54, Augustana 2
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at East Texas Baptist 68, Louisiana College 35
Box Score Recap
Final
at Brockport 45, Hartwick 0
Video Box Score Recap Recap
Final
Western Connecticut 27, at Bridgewater State 20
Box Score Recap
Final
Chapman 38, at La Verne 21
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Pacific 17, at Lewis and Clark 7
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Pacific Lutheran 27, at Willamette 14
Video Box Score
Final
at Whitworth 38, Puget Sound 23
Video Box Score Photos
Final
Redlands 42, at Claremont-Mudd-Scripps 25
Video Box Score
Final
at Linfield 12, George Fox 6
Video Box Score
Final
Sul Ross State 52, at Howard Payne 15
Video
Final
at Castleton 17, Dean 14
Video Box Score
Final
N.C. Wesleyan 21, at Averett 15
Video Box Score
Final
at Otterbein 37, Baldwin Wallace 29
Box Score
Final
Case Western Reserve 45, at Geneva 7
Video Box Score
Final
Carnegie Mellon 42, at Thiel 10
Video Box Score
Final
at Illinois College 23, Knox 13
Video Box Score
Final
at Cal Lutheran 60, Whittier 34
Video Box Score
Cancelled
Occidental at Pomona-Pitzer
Oct. 20: All times Eastern
Final
at Johns Hopkins 52, Gettysburg 0
Video Video Box Score Recap
Oct. 21: All times Eastern
Final
at Wesley 34, Rowan 3
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Frostburg State 62, Montclair State 3
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Wittenberg 52, at DePauw 6
Video Box Score Video
Final
at Springfield 68, Catholic 20
Video Video Box Score Recap
Final
Wartburg 41, at Luther 16
Video Box Score
Final
Mount Union 66, at Wilmington 7
Video Box Score
Final
at Marietta 44, Heidelberg 21
Video Box Score Recap
Final - OT
at Washington and Jefferson 34, Westminster (Pa.) 33
Video Box Score Live stats Audio Audio
Final
Hardin-Simmons 33, at Texas Lutheran 30
Box Score Photos
Final
at Mary Hardin-Baylor 45, Belhaven 7
Video Box Score Recap
Final
St. Thomas 84, at Hamline 0
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at St. John's 41, Gustavus Adolphus 17
Video Box Score
Final
at Illinois Wesleyan 13, Carthage 10
Video Box Score
Final
at Concordia-Moorhead 42, Augsburg 20
Video Box Score Photos
Final
Berry 37, at Millsaps 22
Video Box Score Recap
Final
UW-Platteville 34, at UW-Eau Claire 14
Video Box Score Photos
Final
UW-Oshkosh 42, at UW-La Crosse 28
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at North Central (Ill.) 54, Augustana 2
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Brockport 45, Hartwick 0
Video Box Score Recap Recap
Final
at Linfield 12, George Fox 6
Video Box Score
Final
Case Western Reserve 45, at Geneva 7
Video Box Score