|Mark Riggio reaches the ball out in a goal line situation for Muhlenberg.
Photo by Tom Nettleton, d3photography.com
RPI ended Brockport's season after 11 consecutive wins, Johns Hopkins rolled through the second half at Frostburg State and Muhlenberg extended its season into the quarterfinals in Saturday's second-round action at the Division III football playoffs.
St. John's made the national quarterfinals for the first time since 2006 and became one of two MIAC teams in the national quarterfinals, along with two Centennial teams. Meanwhile, Mount Union, UW-Whitewater and Mary Hardin-Baylor advanced with ease. Expected quarterfinal host sites are on the updated bracket linked above, but the NCAA won't formally announce them until Sunday.
Joe Germinerio was 11-for-33 passing and was picked off twice and Brockport turned the ball over five times as RPI advanced to the national quarterfinals for the first time 2003. Nick Cella rushed for 69 yards and two touchdowns, including a 3-yarder with 5:56 to go in the first quarter as the Engineers (10-1) got on the board first following a Brockport turnover. The Golden Eagles took a 13-7 lead, but RPI came out of the locker room and drove 75 yards for a score to go up 14-13. Cella added a final score with 8:06 to play and the Engineers defense held. Of the five turnovers RPI forced, two came from junior linebacker John Sadak, who intercepted a pair of passes. Jack Hoggard, Amaechi Konkwo and Alec Hazard each recovered fumbles, while Kyle Samuelsblocked a punt, which set up Cella's first touchdown.
The No. 14 Johns Hopkins Blue Jays scored 29 points in the third quarter to pull away from sixth-ranked Frostburg State for a 58-27 win. The third quarter belonged to the Blue Jays as they scored four touchdowns and jumped out to a 48-20 lead with 15 minutes to play. Blue Jays quarterback David Tammaro threw two TD passes and ran for another during the decisive third period.
Mount Union got D'Angelo Fulford back behind center after a game and a half on the sideline because of injury and he led the top-ranked Purple Raiders to a 51-7 halftime lead en route to a 51-35 win vs. Centre. The Colonels' starters scored three times against the Mount Union reserves in the fourth quarter. Fulford only needed to throw 10 passes to score two touchdowns and Josh Petruccelli scored four times and get 162 yards on 18 carries. John Walton, who was Centre's second-string quarterback entering the playoffs, got picked off four times in the loss.
Muhlenberg limited Randolph-Macon to 98 yards of total offense and Nick Sirico returned an interception for a touchdown for the second week in a row as the Mules advanced to the national quarterfinals, rolling past Randolph-Macon 35-6. Burke Estes plowed his way through the line for a 2-yard touchdown to help the Yellow Jackets cut the lead to 7-6 midway through the first quarter, but R-MC didn't even get back into Mules territory until the fourth quarter. Michael Hnatkowsky was 14-for-24 passing for three touchdowns. Each team was picked off twice.
No. 5 UW-Whitewater posted more than 500 yards of total offense for the fourth time in its last five games and forced three turnovers in a 54-21 triumph over St. Norbert. The Warhawks, who have won 17 consecutive games, outscored the Green Knights 30-7 in the second half to pull away for the win. Mitchell Dess had a highlight-reel touchdown in the corner of the end zone with five second left in the half to put UWW (11-0) up 24-14 going into the break. Alex Peete ran for 158 yards and two touchdowns while Ronny Ponnick added 131 yards on the ground and Famus Hasty returned one of Whitewater's three interceptions for a 48-yard touchdown.
The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor took advantage of short fields to build a big early lead and the Cru never looked back in a 75-9 victory over Berry. UMHB reached the end zone on scoring drives fof 39, 50, 16, 32, 40, 72 and 65 yards in the first half to go up 48-0. Markeith Miller ran for three touchdowns on just 11 carries and Marquis Duncan added three scores on 13 carries, while three quarterbacks combined to go 13-for-17.
The Jackson Two combined to deliver a back-breaking blow just before halftime and St. John's rolled in the second half to defeat Whitworth 45-24 in Collegeville, Minnesota. Safety and return man Max Jackson returned a Whitworth punt 47 yards into St. John's territory in the closing minute of the second quarter. On the next play, quarterback Jackson Erdmann hit Andrew Van Erp with a 35-yard pass, and hit Will Gillach for a 4-yard TD to stake the Johnnies (12-0) to a 28-17 lead going into the locker room. St. John's added 17 consecutive points to start the second half before Whitworth scored with 24 seconds left for the final margin. They'll join their MIAC mates in the quarterfinals as the Royals defeated North Central 27-24 on the road. Trailing, 27-17, with just under six minutes to play, the Cardinals (10-2) narrowed the gap to three points and took possession late in the contest with a chance to tie or take the lead, but the Royals were able to come up with one final stop to advance to next weekend's quarterfinal round.