|Malcolm Carey breaks through the Gallaudet defense en route to a 20-yard touchdown run, giving Alvernia the lead with 2:40 to go in the game.
Alvernia athletics photo
Alvernia's first-ever football game was one to remember, while Thomas More's attempt to barnstorm its way to a playoff bid was derailed right out of the gate and Washington & Lee did something it hadn't done since 1969 in Saturday's Week 1 Division III football action.
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Malcolm Carey ran for two touchdowns, including a 20-yarder with 2:40 remaining in the game, as Alvernia's first-ever football game ended in a 26-21 victory vs. Gallaudet. Carey ran for 117 yards on 13 carries, while Jake Dilcher completed 15 of 19 passes for 127 yards and a score in the win. Gallaudet jumped out to a 14-0 lead before the Golden Wolves put together a 72-yard drive, capped off by a rushing touchdown by Marlon Brown, the first points in the program history. Alvernia surged to a 20-14 lead on the first drive of the third quarter, but Gallaudet answered to retake the lead on the very next drive.
After Alvernia took the lead with 2:40 left, Gallaudet drove as far down at the Golden Wolves 2-yard line with 27 seconds remaining. But Timel Benton fumbled on the fourth-down snap and Alvernia took over to run out the clock. University of New England, the other school that began Division III football this season, lost at Coast Guard on Thursday night.
North Carolina Wesleyan scored the first 21 points of the game, but it needed to score last as well to defeat Thomas More 35-28, handing the Saints a loss in the opening game of their 2018 barnstorming tour of a final season in Division III. Thomas More had battled back to tie the game at 28-28 with 3:07 left when Hjavier Pitts capped a 66-yard drive with a 24-yard touchdown catch, but Nate Gardner hit Trey Lancaster with a 46-yard pass on a one-play drive to lift the Battling Bishops to the victory.
Washington & Lee hadn't won a season opener on the road since 1969, and despite the fact that the Generals made the playoffs last year and Dickinson hasn't won more than three games since 2012, W&L almost saw that streak continue. The Generals needed overtime to defeat the Red Devils 16-10 in Carlisle, Pa. Josh Breece, a D3football.com All-America selection as a freshman, ran for 122 yards on 26 carries, the last of which resulted in the game-winning touchdown. Dickinson was limited to just 137 yards of total offense and only seven first downs.
After lightning struck twice at Otterbein, the Cardinals must have captured some of it in a bottle. Otterbein safety Niall Lewison came off the edge and blocked an Ohio Wesleyan field goal attempt with seven seconds left to preserve a 10-7 win. "Everything was moving so fast and we didn't have much time to communicate whether it was block right or block left," Lewison said. "I just told the guys I was going off my side and did my best to turn the corner. I didn't think I was going to get there when I dove, but I felt the ball hit my arms and it was time to go home." Lewison was making his first start for Otterbein after playing on special teams as a freshman in 2016 and missing 2017 because of injury.
Linebacker Cole Dixon led Susquehanna with nine tackles including seven solo stops and added two sacks, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and an interception as the River Hawks posted a 38-7 victory over Lycoming. With the win, Susquehanna retains the Stagg Hat Trophy for the first time since 1994-95 when Susquehanna beat Lycoming in back-to-back meetings. The win on the road was the first since 2000 and the 31-point victory was the largest margin of victory for Susquehanna in the series.
Jamar Rutledge's second touchdown of the day with 27 seconds remaining pulled visiting Buffalo State within one at Bridgewater State, but the Bengals' two-point conversion pass attempt sailed out of the back of the end zone, allowing the Bears to escape with a 30-29 victory. Bridgewater State rode running back Nick Santaviccia to victory, as he had 32 carries for 200 yards and two touchdowns, the last of which gave the Bears a 30-23 lead with 2:26 remaining in the game.
Lakeland certainly missed its all-everything quarterback in its first game of the post-Michael Whitley era. The Muskies completed just 7 of 26 pass attempts and only held the ball for 22 minutes as Carroll defeated Lakeland 45-26. JJ Keels ran for 79 yards and three touchdowns on just nine carries for the Pioneers. Husson missed its All-America running back as well, as Union limited the Eagles to 66 rushing yards in a 30-7 win in Husson's first game after the departure of John Smith. Union won its season opener for the first time since 2009.
Earlham started the season with a loss, the Quakers' 44th in a row, as they fell to Wilmington 49-7. Not long ago, Wilmington was mired in some pretty dismal losing streaks of its own. The Earlham Quakers are within range of the longest losing streak in Division III football history, a skid of 50 consecutive games which Macalester snapped in 1980. If the streak continues, Earlham would play Anderson on Oct. 13 with its streak sitting at 49 games.
Augustana defenders picked off Coe quarterback Quentin White three times and Ryan Pitra ran for 148 yards and a touchdown as the Vikings handled the Kohawks 26-7. Augustana is coming off a 1-9 season in 2017. Doug Erney threw two touchdown passes and the Moravian defense pitched a shutout as the Greyhounds defeated King's 24-0. The shutout was the first for the Greyhounds since the program blanked Juniata 42-0 on the road on Oct. 23, 2010.
Bridgewater scored three times on plays of 40-plus yards and the Eagles got the season started on the right foot with a 34-17 win at Gettysburg, spoiling the Bullets head coaching debut of Kevin Burke. Burke replaced Gettysburg legend Barry Streeter after Streeter's retirement this past offseason. Trey Stephens scored on a 52-yard touchdown catch, Demetreus Jalepes ran for a 52-yard score and Matt Dang returned an interception 41 yards for six.
Saturday's action involved a lot of waiting at Guilford, Ferrum, Otterbein and Averett, with the first three seeing their home games delayed and extended multiple times by lightning strikes. The final one of that group, Hampden-Sydney at Averett, was postponed until Sunday, while the Guilford-Huntingdon game was cancelled when it was delayed for four hours because of lightning strikes. The teams only completed 47 minutes of play.