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Albion Completes MIAA Title Run

More news about: Albion

By Scott DeWeerd

Albion College completed its undefeated run through the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association by scoring a 34-31 victory over Hope College at Ray & Sue Smith Stadium.

Trailing 31-27 with less than 2 minutes remaining in the game, 75 yards seemed like a mile for an Albion offense that failed to put points on the board in 7 out of its previous 10 drives. However, the Britons' desire to get "just one more" could not be denied, and sophomore quarterback Dominic Bona came through in the clutch to deliver a game-winning drive in impressively efficient fashion. Bona was 3 for 3 for 42 yards on the drive, including a 4-yard pass to senior tight end Sage Alward to give the Britons the lead with 51 seconds remaining.

But the Flying Dutchmen weren't going to let the Britons go home without a fight.

Hope senior Vincent Boddy returned the kickoff for 23 yards, and made a 23-yard catch along the sideline before getting shoved out of bounds by first-year defensive back Jose Rodriguez  -- and just like that, Hope was in field goal range.

With 4 seconds remaining, Hope lined up for a 31-yard field goal attempt to force the game into overtime. But the home crowd walked away disappointed as senior kicker Evan Finch's field goal clanked off the left upright.

When asked about his team's game-winning drive, head coach Craig Randle said, "We just made plays. Dominic was throwing the ball well. The guys got in a rhythm and made plays."

There were a number of notable statistics to come out of the victory. Rundle gained his 100th win at Albion and the 157th of his career. Albion, owners of a league-best 35 MIAA championships, will make their 10th appearance in the NCAA Division III Playoffs. Albion will receive its assignment for the playoffs in a 6 p.m. Sunday show broadcast on the NCAA website.

"[The undefeated conference record] is a tribute to our kids," Rundle said. "The guys believed in themselves and worked hard. I'm really proud of them."

Rolling through its MIAA rivals was unexpected by anyone outside the program after Albion went through a rough patch in September. Widely dismissed after a blowout loss at Wheaton College, the Britons might finally be vindicated.

"No one understood the circumstances surrounding Wheaton. They just saw the score," Rundle said about the 66-0 loss to the Thunder. "Our guys knew they were better than that, and they set out to prove it."

And prove it they did.

With resilience being a key to Albion's success throughout the year, it couldn't have been any more fitting for Bona to lead the game-winning touchdown drive after throwing an interception that would be returned for a touchdown late in the second quarter.

"He showed what he's all about," Rundle said of Bona's performance. "He's matured a lot. He's not going to let one bad play get him down."

Albion finished the day with 413 yards of total offense. Bona completed 20 of 37 passes for 193 total yards and a touchdown. Senior running back Darrin Williams rushed for 89 yards on 18 attempts. Sophomore running back Michael Czarnecki ripped off two huge running plays for a combined 99 yards. Junior receiver Zach Brigham led all receivers with 6 catches for 37 yards.

Hope quarterback Michael Atwell completed 21 passes on 43 attempts for 337 yards and 3 touchdowns.

Albion senior safety Adam Hahn paved the way for the defense making 10 ½ tackles including one for loss. Senior quarterback Christopher Jakubik broke up 5 passes.

Nov. 18: All times Eastern
Final
Husson 23, at Springfield 21
Video Video Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at Berry 34, Huntingdon 20
Video Video Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at Delaware Valley 35, Western New England 0
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Brockport 66, Plymouth State 0
Video Box Score Recap Photos
Final
Frostburg State 35, at Wittenberg 7
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Mount Union 21, Washington and Lee 0
Video Box Score Photos
Final
at Wesley 45, RPI 27
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Washington and Jefferson 31, Johns Hopkins 28
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Trine 63, Monmouth 24
Video Box Score Photos
Final
at Mary Hardin-Baylor 50, Chapman 6
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Case Western Reserve 28, at Illinois Wesleyan 0
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at UW-Oshkosh 63, Lakeland 0
Video Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at St. Thomas 47, Eureka 8
Video Video Box Score Recap Photos Photos
Final - OT
at Wartburg 35, Franklin 34
Video Preview Box Score Live stats Photos
Final
at North Central (Ill.) 17, St. John's 7
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Linfield 27, Hardin-Simmons 13
Box Score Photos
Nov. 25: All times Eastern
12:00 PM
Wesley at Brockport
12:00 PM
Case Western Reserve at Mount Union
Preview Live stats Preview Audio Video
12:00 PM
Frostburg State at Washington and Jefferson
Video Live stats Audio
12:00 PM
Husson at Delaware Valley
Video Live stats
1:00 PM
Berry at St. Thomas
Video Live stats Live stats Audio Audio
1:00 PM
North Central (Ill.) at UW-Oshkosh
Video Live stats Live stats Audio
1:00 PM
Linfield at Mary Hardin-Baylor
1:00 PM
Trine at Wartburg
Video Live stats
Nov. 19: All times Eastern
Final
at Alfred 29, Stevenson 16
@ University of Delaware
Video Box Score Recap
Nov. 25: All times Eastern
12:00 PM
Wesley at Brockport
12:00 PM
Case Western Reserve at Mount Union
Preview Live stats Preview Audio Video
12:00 PM
Frostburg State at Washington and Jefferson
Video Live stats Audio
12:00 PM
Husson at Delaware Valley
Video Live stats
1:00 PM
Berry at St. Thomas
Video Live stats Live stats Audio Audio
1:00 PM
North Central (Ill.) at UW-Oshkosh
Video Live stats Live stats Audio
1:00 PM
Linfield at Mary Hardin-Baylor
1:00 PM
Trine at Wartburg
Video Live stats