November 26, 2011

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.
comments powered by Disqus
Sep. 18: All times Eastern
Final
Christopher Newport 31, at N.C. Wesleyan 28
Box Score
Sep. 19: All times Eastern
Final
Framingham State 29, at Fitchburg State 26
Box Score Recap
Sep. 20: All times Eastern
Final
RPI 41, at Castleton State 13
Box Score Recap
Final - 2OT
at Massachusetts Maritime 26, Maine Maritime 20
Box Score Recap
Final
at Rochester 30, Gallaudet 2
Box Score Recap Recap
Final - OT
at Husson 34, Alfred State 28
Box Score
Final
at Randolph-Macon 34, Sewanee 20
Box Score
Final
at Johns Hopkins 33, Moravian 14
Box Score Recap
Final
at Utica 20, Frostburg State 12
Box Score Recap Recap
Final
Alfred 29, at Buffalo State 21
Box Score Recap Recap
Final
at Catholic 31, Newport News Apprentice 24
Box Score
Final
at Nichols 10, Becker 3
Box Score
Final
Wesleyan 22, at Middlebury 14
Box Score
Final
Bridgewater State 51, at Worcester State 27
Box Score Recap
Final
at Tufts 24, Hamilton 17
Box Score Recap Recap Photos
Final
at Amherst 14, Bates 6
Box Score Photos
Final
at Trinity (Conn.) 32, Colby 7
Box Score Recap
Final
at William Paterson 36, Salve Regina 32
Box Score Recap
Final
at Stevenson 20, Lebanon Valley 14
Box Score
Final
Allegheny 24, at Hiram 21
Box Score Recap
Final
at Merchant Marine 34, SUNY-Maritime 17
Box Score
Final
at St. Vincent 23, Case Western Reserve 20
Box Score
Final
Thomas More 66, at Thiel 27
Box Score Recap
Final
Ursinus 31, at Franklin and Marshall 24
Box Score Recap
Final
Endicott 41, at Kean 28
Box Score Recap
Final
at Hampden-Sydney 56, Coast Guard 0
Box Score
Final
Maryville (Tenn.) 40, at Averett 17
Box Score
Final
at Widener 41, Albright 23
Final
Hobart 43, at Curry 13
Box Score Recap
Final
at Greensboro 37, LaGrange 35
Box Score
Final
at Dickinson 29, Susquehanna 28
Box Score Photos
Final
at Wesley 37, Rowan 7
Box Score Recap
Final
at St. Lawrence 31, Morrisville State 14
Box Score
Final
at Misericordia 35, FDU-Florham 0
Final
at Gettysburg 31, Juniata 17
Box Score Recap
Final
at Montclair State 27, Lincoln (Pa.) 14
Box Score
Final
Wabash 31, at Denison 12
Box Score
Final - OT
Bethany 21, at Westminster (Pa.) 14
Final
at Springfield 47, Mount Ida 16
Box Score Recap
Final
at Ithaca 42, Hartwick 7
Box Score Recap
Final
at Norwich 10, WPI 7
Box Score Recap
Final
Iowa Wesleyan 13, at Minnesota-Morris 7
Box Score
Final
at Methodist 41, Huntingdon 34
Box Score
Final
Ohio Northern 37, at Baldwin Wallace 35
Box Score
Final
at Capital 34, Wilmington 21
Box Score Recap
Final
Franklin 62, at Anderson 14
Box Score
Final
at Washington and Jefferson 48, Carnegie Mellon 30
Box Score Recap
Final
at John Carroll 43, Heidelberg 16
Box Score Recap Recap
Final
at Lycoming 28, King's 13
Box Score Recap
Final - 2OT
at Waynesburg 44, Geneva 38
Final
Mount Union 62, at Muskingum 6
Box Score
Final
Mount St. Joseph 24, at Defiance 21
Box Score
Final
at Manchester 55, Earlham 7
Box Score Recap
Final
at Williams 36, Bowdoin 0
Box Score Photos Photos
Final
Muhlenberg 59, at McDaniel 10
Box Score
Final
UW-Whitewater 48, at TCNJ 0
Final
at Otterbein 20, Marietta 0
Box Score
Final
Hope 25, at Lakeland 22
Box Score
Final
Olivet 49, at Aurora 20
Box Score Recap
Final
Albion 57, at Concordia (Wis.) 20
Box Score
Final
at Washington U. 24, North Park 19
Box Score Recap
Final
at Wisconsin Lutheran 32, Kalamazoo 20
Box Score
Final
at Wheaton (Ill.) 17, UW-Eau Claire 0
Box Score Recap Recap
Final
Concordia-Moorhead 23, at St. John's 14
Box Score Photos
Final
at Bethel 40, St. Olaf 0
Box Score
Final
Augsburg 42, at Carleton 14
Box Score
Final
at Gustavus Adolphus 48, Hamline 19
Box Score
Final
Stetson 37, at Birmingham-Southern 19
Box Score
Final
Trinity (Texas) 14, at Sul Ross State 6
Box Score
Final
at Austin 21, Occidental 12
Box Score Recap Recap
Final
at Howard Payne 38, Southwestern Assemblies 25
Final
at Central 65, Maranatha Baptist 12
Box Score Recap
Final
at Luther 49, Grinnell 21
Box Score
Final
UW-Stevens Point 37, at Coe 21
Box Score
Final
at Greenville 30, Eureka 27
Box Score
Final
Westminster (Mo.) 27, at MacMurray 21
Box Score
Final
Texas Lutheran 38, at Louisiana College 32
Box Score Recap
Final
at Simpson 13, Illinois Wesleyan 3
Box Score
Final
Trine 27, at Rockford 7
Box Score Recap
Final - 2OT
Rose-Hulman 48, at Hanover 42
Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at Western Connecticut 45, Plymouth State 7
Box Score
Final
Hardin-Simmons 37, at Wayland Baptist 23
Box Score
Final
at Whittier 23, Lewis and Clark 10
Box Score
Final
Willamette 42, at Cal Lutheran 24
Box Score Recap
Final
Alma 24, at Concordia-Chicago 21
Box Score
Final
Carroll 28, at Lake Forest 7
Box Score
Final
Whitworth 50, at La Verne 48
Box Score Recap Recap
Final
Westfield State 14, at Mass-Dartmouth 13
Box Score Recap
Final
at St. Scholastica 48, Crown 14
Box Score Recap
Final
at Wittenberg 34, DePauw 17
Box Score Recap Photos
Final
St. John Fisher 36, at Brockport State 20
Box Score Recap
Final
Guilford 35, at Southern Virginia 27
@ Salem Stadium
Box Score Recap
Final
Wooster 63, at Oberlin 10
Box Score Recap
Final
at Shenandoah 45, Ferrum 20
Box Score Photos
Final
Centre 28, at Washington and Lee 23
Box Score
Final
at Ohio Wesleyan 35, Kenyon 25
Box Score
Final
at Delaware Valley 54, Wilkes 35
Box Score Recap
Final
UW-River Falls 43, at South Dakota Mines 28
Final
at Augustana 34, Loras 17
Final
at Dubuque 16, Pacific 10
Box Score Recap
Final
at North Central (Ill.) 28, UW-Platteville 7
Box Score Recap
Final
Chicago 29, at Elmhurst 17
Box Score Recap
Final
Mary Hardin-Baylor 41, at UW-La Crosse 22
Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at South Dakota State 41, UW-Oshkosh 3
Box Score
Final
Adrian 23, at Benedictine 6
Box Score Recap Recap
Final
at Wartburg 45, UW-Stout 14
Box Score Recap
Final
at Northwestern (Minn.) 41, Martin Luther 27
Box Score Recap Recap
Final
at East Texas Baptist 58, Southwestern 34
Box Score
Final
Rhodes 42, at Pomona-Pitzer 21
Box Score Recap
Final
Linfield 36, at Redlands 3
Box Score Recap
Sep. 20: All times Eastern
Final
St. John Fisher 36, at Brockport State 20
Box Score Recap
Final
at Wittenberg 34, DePauw 17
Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at Wartburg 45, UW-Stout 14
Box Score Recap
Final
at South Dakota State 41, UW-Oshkosh 3
Box Score
Final
at North Central (Ill.) 28, UW-Platteville 7
Box Score Recap
Final
Mary Hardin-Baylor 41, at UW-La Crosse 22
Box Score Recap Photos
Final
Linfield 36, at Redlands 3
Box Score Recap
Final
UW-Whitewater 48, at TCNJ 0
Final
Mount Union 62, at Muskingum 6
Box Score
Final
at John Carroll 43, Heidelberg 16
Box Score Recap Recap
Final
at Lycoming 28, King's 13
Box Score Recap
Final
at Wesley 37, Rowan 7
Box Score Recap
Final
at Hampden-Sydney 56, Coast Guard 0
Box Score
Final
Wabash 31, at Denison 12
Box Score
Final
Thomas More 66, at Thiel 27
Box Score Recap
Final
at Ithaca 42, Hartwick 7
Box Score Recap
Final
Hobart 43, at Curry 13
Box Score Recap
Final
at Johns Hopkins 33, Moravian 14
Box Score Recap
Final
at Bethel 40, St. Olaf 0
Box Score
Final
at Wheaton (Ill.) 17, UW-Eau Claire 0
Box Score Recap Recap
Final
at Simpson 13, Illinois Wesleyan 3
Box Score

What We're Reading