/seasons/2012/contrib/20120909ekmat3

Big Second Half Propels Gustavus Football Past Simpson 35-26 In Season-Opener

More news about: Gustavus Adolphus
The Gustavus football team captured a 35-26 victory over Simpson in its season-opener on Saturday afternoon in Indianola, Iowa.

The Gustavus football team captured a 35-26 victory over Simpson in its season-opener on Saturday afternoon in Indianola, Iowa.

Indianola, Iowa – The Gustavus Adolphus football team kicked off its 2012 season with a 35-26 win over Simpson College on Saturday afternoon at Bill Buxton Stadium.  Gustavus was able to capitalize on Simpson's mistakes throughout the day, scoring two defensive touchdowns and forcing a total of five turnovers.  Gustavus wins its first season-opener since 2008 and is now 1-0 for the first time in Head Coach Peter Haugen's tenure.  Simpson suffers its first loss of the year and is now 1-1.

"It feels great," said Peter Hagen following the game.  "Winning is very difficult and very special, and I'm proud of the way our guys came out and played this afternoon.  We're feeling pretty good are going to enjoy the moment for right now."

With Simpson leading 17-14 at the start of the second half, the momentum began to swing towards the Gustavus sideline following a booming 62-yard punt by Jordan Rudenick (Jr., Nicollet, Minn.) that was downed on the seven-yard-line.  Three plays later on third-and-15 from the three-yard-line, defensive lineman Nolan Wester (Jr., Kettle River, Minn.) sacked quarterback Taylor Nelson in the endzone, forcing a fumble that was covered up by fellow defensive lineman Donte Green (Jr., Minneapolis, Minn.) for a touchdown.  Following the extra point, Gustavus led 21-17 just five minutes into the quarter.

The Gustie defense came up big again on Simpson's following drive when cornerback Torey Asao (Jr., Chaska, Minn.) picked off a tipped pass and returned it 55 yards for a touchdown, extending Gustavus' lead to 28-17.

Muresuk Mena

After the two teams traded possessions, Gustavus came up with its third turnover of the third quarter when defensive end Andrew Lonneman (So., Adrian, Minn.) sacked Nelson, forced him to fumble, and recovered the ball on the 15-yard line.  The Gustavus offensive converted the turnover to points on the very next play when quarterback Muresuk Mena (Sr., Inver Grove Heights, Minn.) found tight end Rudenick on 15-yard catch-and-run touchdown.

In the third quarter alone, Gustavus scored 21 unanswered points and forced three turnovers, leading by the score of 35-17 entering the final quarter.

Haugen was enthused by the play of the defense in the second half, stating, "If you go through a season and your defense gets you one touchdown, that's pretty special.  Today we got two, so hats off to those guys.  Not only did the defense find a way to score, but it also put our offense in good position throughout the day."

Rudenick's touchdown capped Gustavus' scoring for the afternoon.  It would take Simpson until the 2:38 mark of the fourth quarter to get back on the scoreboard.  Logan Klein hit a 30-yard field goal to make the score 35-20, and Nelson found wide receiver Taylor Rogers with a 15-yard touchdown to bring the score to a final at 35-26.

The Simpson offense had a hard time getting back into rhythm in the second half – a credit to a relentless pass rush, tight coverage in the secondary, and play of the Gustavus punt team.  The Gustie defense registered six sacks and intercepted two passes, while Jordan Rudenick stole the show in his first game as the full-time punter.  Rudenick punted six times for 290 yards for an average of 48.3 yards per punt.  He downed all five punts inside the 20-yard line, three of which were downed inside the five-yard-line.   Even when called upon to fill in for Rudenick at punter, Tom Huepenbecker (Sr. Middleton, Wis.) pinned a 34-yard punt inside the 15-yard line.  Huepenbecker also finished 5-for-5 on extra point tries.

"Jordan did and unbelievable job today.  You can't underestimate how important of a role that will play in a game," said Haugen on the play of his special teams. "Today it made Simpson play with a long field for much of the game, and that was a contributing factor to this win."

Jordan Rudenick

The game began with Simpson taking a 3-0 lead after Klein knocked in a 29-yard field goal that capped a six-play, 30-yard drive

After a punt and a blocked field goal attempt, Gustavus scored its first points of the 2012 season with 1:02 remaining in the first quarter.  Muresuk Mena, who seemed to be dead in the water on fourth-and-two when his key target was covered, made a play with his feet, seeing daylight downfield and taking the ball in for a 35-yard touchdown run that gave Gustavus a 7-3 advantage.  Mena would tally two runs over thirty yards in the game, gaining a total of 73 yards on 13 carries for an average of 5.6 yards per rush.

Simpson's offense began to pick up some steam after the Mena score, answering on the ensuing drive with a 63-yard touchdown pass from Nelson to Rogers, bringing the score to 17-7.  Rogers was Nelson's top target in the game, making a game-high eight catches for 187 yards with two touchdowns.

Not to be outdone by Simpson's big play, the Gusties responded right back on their next drive with a touchdown, cutting the lead to 17-14.  On third-and-11 from the Gustavus 36-yard line, Mena opted to throw a screen pass to running back Jeffrey Dubose (Jr., St. Paul, Minn.).  After catching the screen and turning up field, an opening appeared down field following two key blocks by offensive lineman Lyle Opdahl (Sr., Norwood Young America, Minn.) and David Gschneidner (Jr., Edina, Minn.).  Dubose hit the crease and scampered 64 yards down the sideline, stiff-arming a Simpson defender at the five-yard-line on his way into the endzone.

Dubose benefited from the solid play of Gustavus' offensive line throughout the afternoon, running for 119 yards on 26 carries for an average of 4.6 yards per run

"It was a big day for Jeffrey and a great showing by our offensive line.  Today was a preview as to what that group is capable of and it will be fun to seen how the hogs progress as the season continues."

The final count saw Gustavus gain a total of 366 yards (211 rush, 155 pass).  The Gusties had no turnovers and were 1-of-2 in the red-zone.  Simpson racked up a total of 466 yards, 427 of which were through the air.

Muresuk Mena played mistake free football in his first start under center, finishing 8-for-14 for 155 yards and two touchdowns through the air.  His counterpart Taylor Nelson was 28-for-54 for 427 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions.

Andrew Lonneman

On how earning his first win as a collegiate quarterback feels, Mena said, "It feels great.  I was a little nervous today and wish I would have made a few better reads, but my teammates picked me up all game long.  From the offensive to defense to special teams, I'm proud of the way everyone stepped up today."

"Everything happens so fast in a game.  I think Muresuk just got into rhythm early and never looked back," commented Haugen on the play of his senior quarterback.  "We knew going in that he is a respected leader who has the ability to make plays with his feet.  As up and down as our offense was at times today, he and a few others were able to step up and make plays when it mattered."

Gustavus was led defensively by safety Jake Forcier (So., Watkins, Minn.), who had a team-high seven tackles (all solo) and one interception.  Andrew Lonneman finished with a game-high three sacks and three tackles for loss.

As Gustavus heads into the opening game of the MIAC season next weekend, Mena expects the Gusties to continue to play with confidence.  "We need to continue to work hard and rely on each other.  It was evident today, the offense relied on the defense, and the defense relied on us.  If we continue to do that, it's going to be a fun season.

The Gustavus football team will open its home schedule on Saturday, Sept. 15 against Augsburg College at 1:00 p.m.

Box Score

Notes

- Jeffrey Dubose ran for over 100 yards for the fourth time in his career.  He is also the last Gustavus running back to go for over 100 yards, running for 148 yards against Hamline last season.
- Jordan Rudenick is the first Gustavus punter in the last 25 years to down five punts inside the 20-yard line.
- Donte Green's fumble recovery touchdown is the first since Ethan Armstrong returned a fumble 21 yards for a touchdown against Hamline in 2008.
- Torey Asao's interception return touchdown is the first since Brad Kruckeberg took a pick back 70 yards against Hamline  in 2010.
- Andrew Lonneman's three sacks today are the most since 2009 when Christian Vanek recorded three against St. Olaf.
- The Gustavus football team's six sacks are the most since 2007 when the defense got to the Carleton quarterback a total of seven times.
- It was the first time since 2007 that a Gustavus defense scored two touchdowns in a game.  Jared Seiling and Joe Welch both returned interceptions back for touchdowns against Carleton.

Sep. 23: All times Eastern
Final
at Framingham State 50, Massachusetts Maritime 7
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Muhlenberg 56, at Juniata 40
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at Dean 25, Becker 10
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Salisbury 27, at TCNJ 7
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MIT 38, at Catholic 21
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Merchant Marine 56, at Maine Maritime 31
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at Hobart 34, Endicott 17
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at Morrisville State 44, Nichols 22
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at Delaware Valley 27, Stevenson 7
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at Albright 9, Widener 7
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Christopher Newport 16, at Montclair State 8
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at Westminster (Pa.) 41, Bethany 14
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Middlebury 41, at Bowdoin 14
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Williams 24, at Colby 7
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Amherst 36, at Hamilton 6
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Ursinus 35, at Moravian 17
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Trinity (Conn.) 51, at Bates 0
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at LaGrange 38, Brevard 28
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Geneva 33, at Thiel 24
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at Plymouth State 37, Mass-Dartmouth 7
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Kean 28, at Southern Virginia 14
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Frostburg State 24, at Rowan 10
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Union 17, at Curry 14
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at Carnegie Mellon 37, Thomas More 17
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Lycoming 44, at King's 41
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at Western New England 21, Husson 14
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Johns Hopkins 41, at Dickinson 10
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at DePauw 51, Wooster 24
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at Ohio Wesleyan 37, Allegheny 21
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at Misericordia 43, Wilkes 14
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at Alfred 45, Rochester 7
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Wesley 66, at William Paterson 0
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at N.C. Wesleyan 35, Maryville (Tenn.) 25
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Huntingdon 31, at Ferrum 28
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at McDaniel 27, Gettysburg 20
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at Buffalo State 33, RPI 21
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Franklin and Marshall 27, at Susquehanna 24
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at Denison 45, Oberlin 17
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at Northwestern (Minn.) 10, Westminster (Mo.) 7
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at Eureka 44, Crown 20
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at Lebanon Valley 24, FDU-Florham 14
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at Heidelberg 47, John Carroll 21
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at Ohio Northern 35, Otterbein 7
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at Mount Union 55, Baldwin Wallace 7
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at Rose-Hulman 37, Defiance 14
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at Marietta 49, Muskingum 25
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Franklin 59, at Bluffton 30
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at Hanover 64, Anderson 21
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Mount St. Joseph 31, at Manchester 14
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Worcester State 34, at Westfield State 10
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Coast Guard 13, at Norwich 9
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at Fitchburg State 31, Bridgewater State 29
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Wittenberg 48, at Kenyon 11
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at Wabash 25, Hiram 21
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North Central (Ill.) 51, at Millikin 21
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at Millsaps 17, Sewanee 13
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at Rhodes 35, Birmingham-Southern 9
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at Hendrix 36, Austin 24
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at Martin Luther 34, Greenville 20
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Final - OT
at Trinity (Texas) 41, Chapman 35
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at Loras 73, Buena Vista 34
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at Wartburg 30, Washington U. 20
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at Gustavus Adolphus 51, Hamline 7
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Augsburg 48, at Carleton 28
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at Bethel 64, St. Olaf 7
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at Luther 21, Dubuque 17
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at Central 52, Nebraska Wesleyan 27
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Simpson 38, at Coe 33
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Wheaton (Ill.) 40, at Elmhurst 15
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St. Norbert 66, at Grinnell 13
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at Knox 13, Ripon 6
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at MacMurray 32, Iowa Wesleyan 14
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Hardin-Simmons 63, at Howard Payne 3
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Southwestern 37, at Louisiana College 34
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Monmouth 26, at Macalester 0
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at St. Thomas 20, St. John's 17
@ Target Field, Minneapolis
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at Springfield 42, WPI 10
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at Cornell 55, Beloit 36
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at Brockport 28, Utica 14
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at Hartwick 24, St. John Fisher 21
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at UW-La Crosse 41, Carroll 6
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at St. Scholastica 37, Minnesota-Morris 3
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at George Fox 44, UW-Eau Claire 0
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at Western Connecticut 37, Salve Regina 23
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Final
at UW-Stevens Point 41, Adrian 28
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Final - OT
at Wesleyan 24, Tufts 17
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at Averett 35, Methodist 6
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at Berry 28, Centre 14
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at Case Western Reserve 56, Waynesburg 21
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at Grove City 24, St. Vincent 14
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at Illinois Wesleyan 18, North Park 0
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at Mary Hardin-Baylor 50, Texas Lutheran 7
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at UW-Platteville 56, Lakeland 22
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Carthage 55, at Augustana 14
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Chicago 28, at Illinois College 7
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at Sul Ross State 35, McMurry 7
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at Wilmington 37, Capital 30
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Lake Forest 42, at Lawrence 26
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at East Texas Baptist 79, Belhaven 40
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Arizona Christian 56, at Whittier 38
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Sep. 28: All times Eastern
6:30 PM
Shenandoah at Randolph-Macon
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Sep. 23: All times Eastern
Final
at Delaware Valley 27, Stevenson 7
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Wesley 66, at William Paterson 0
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at Alfred 45, Rochester 7
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Johns Hopkins 41, at Dickinson 10
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Frostburg State 24, at Rowan 10
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at Heidelberg 47, John Carroll 21
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Final
at Mount Union 55, Baldwin Wallace 7
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Wittenberg 48, at Kenyon 11
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at Wabash 25, Hiram 21
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Hardin-Simmons 63, at Howard Payne 3
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North Central (Ill.) 51, at Millikin 21
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Final
Wheaton (Ill.) 40, at Elmhurst 15
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Final
at St. Thomas 20, St. John's 17
@ Target Field, Minneapolis
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Final
at Brockport 28, Utica 14
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Final
at Case Western Reserve 56, Waynesburg 21
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at Illinois Wesleyan 18, North Park 0
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at UW-Platteville 56, Lakeland 22
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Final
at Mary Hardin-Baylor 50, Texas Lutheran 7
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