ALBION, Mich. – The offense rolled up 479 yards and the defense picked up four turnovers as Albion College scored a 38-20 victory over Aurora (Ill.) University in a non-league football game at Sprankle-Sprandel Stadium.
"We improved in all three phases – offense, defense and special teams," Albion Coach Craig Rundle said.
Helped by personal foul and pass interference calls against Albion, Aurora moved the ball to the Albion 18 on the first series of the game. The Spartans would turn the ball over on downs.
Albion scored on its second possession of the day as it picked up chunks of yards. Michael Czarnecki gained 20 yards on a pass from Dominic Bona and he added a run of 15 yards. Joseph Mayone hauled in a 14-yard pass from Bona, and Darrin Williams took a pass for 24 yards. Williams capped the 9-play drive with a 1-yard run with 4 minutes left in the first quarter.
Aurora tight end Ryan Mizgate appeared to be on his way to scoring a touchdown early in the second quarter, but he was stripped of the ball by Briton defensive back Chris Jakubik a yard shy of the goal line. Brett McCarty pounced on the loose ball in the end zone for a touchback, and the offense covered the 80 yards in 11 plays for another touchdown. Justin Losey turned in the big play when he scampered 39 yards down the sideline after hauling in a pass from Bona. Bona covered the final yard and Albion led, 14-0, with 10:54 left in the first half.
Aurora scored a pair of field goals to cut the Albion lead to 14-6 at halftime.
Albion received the second half kickoff and the drive ended with a 20-yard field goal from Nick Pendell.
Aurora moved the ball near midfield on its first two possessions of the second half, but both ended on interceptions. Mark Sheridan's interception set the offense up at the Albion 40 and the Britons needed just 6 plays to cover the distance. Czarnecki rumbled for 47 yards on 3rd-and-1 to move the ball to the Aurora 4 and Bona hooked up with Williams for the touchdown on 3rd-and-goal.
Bona threw a 41-yard touchdown strike to Zach Brewer and Czarnecki reached the end zone on a 23-yard run for Albion's scores in the fourth quarter.
Bona was 28-of-42 for 329 yards. He utilized six targets with Williams hauling in nine passes for 89 yards. Brewer and Cody Crawford finished with five receptions apiece.
"Dominic relaxed and made plays," Rundle said. "He was too anxious in his first start of the season. He ran the ball better, too."
Linebacker Brett McCarty led the defense with 11 solo tackles. Defensive backs Nick Emery and Sheridan contributed seven solo tackles each.
Albion, 2-1 overall, completes its non-league slate at Central, Iowa, next Saturday.