AZUSA, Calif. — In its first game as a full NCAA Division II member, Azusa Pacific wowed a national television audience with a thrilling 26-23 double-overtime upset of No. 2 Grand Valley State Thursday night.
An Azusa Pacific record attendance of 6,199 along with TV viewers from around the nation watched senior tailback Terrell Watson rush 42 times for 207 yards, the fourth 200-yard game of his career.
Azusa Pacific took a 13-10 lead into the fourth quarter after Watson scored on a 10-yard run with 4:29 left in the third quarter, his first score of the game. Grand Valley State tied the game on the opening play of the fourth quarter on Joel Schipper’s 40-yard field goal.
Those three points were Grand Valley State’s only second-half points against a Cougar defense that broke in eight new starters under a new defensive coordinator. The unit surrendered 79 rushing yards and allowed just 278 yards of total offense. Junior LB Errik Manning led the way with a team-high 15 tackles, and redshirt freshman Taliuaki Suliafu added 12 tackles, including three tackles for loss. The Cougars dropped Grand Valley State 10 times behind the line of scrimmage, including four sacks of Laker QB Heath Parling.
With the win, Azusa Pacific won its season opener for the first time since 2010, and the Cougars are now 3-2 all-time in overtime games.
MARYVILLE, Mo. — On a hot, Thursday evening, No. 1 Northwest Missouri State thanked its loyal fans with a solid 31-7 victory against Nebraska-Kearney in the season-opener at Bearcat Stadium.
The Bearcats did some nice things to erase a 7-7 first-quarter tie. They played well in the third quarter to extend a 17-7 halftime lead to 31-7.
And senior punter Kyle Goodburn excelled, placing three punts inside the 20.
Much credit goes to the Lopers, who early on showed Northwest that they weren’t the same team that lost 53-7 a year ago.
Nebraska-Kearney stopped Northwest on the opening drive of the game. The Lopers came out hitting hard on offense and defense.
The Bearcats, though, have quick strike ability and unleashed it 5 minutes into the game when junior Brady Bolles tossed a perfect pass to senior wide receiver Bryce Young for a 65-yard scoring play. The first points of the 2014 season by Northwest came with 9:01 left in the first quarter.
Nearly 5 minutes later, Nebraska-Kearney showed it had no fear of the Bearcats vaunted defense. The Lopers went on a 10 play, 78-yard drive that ended on an 8-yard run by quarterback Bronson Marsh.
Suddenly, the defending NCAA Division II national champions were staring at a 7-7 tie with 4:11 left in the first quarter.
The Bearcats were locked in an old-fashion, hard-hitting game. And the Lopers were quite salty. Twice they successfully pulled off a fake punt deep in their territory.
Northwest regained the lead with 5:44 left before halftime when Phil Jackson scored the first of his three touchdowns on a 1-yard run.
Northwest tacked on a 44 yard field goal by sophomore Simon Mathiesen with 21 seconds left in the second quarter.
Early in the third quarter, Northwest took complete control of the game when Jackson bolted up the middle on a nice hole created by the offensive line. Once he was 10 yards down the field, Jackson did the rest, breaking a couple of tackles for a 25-yard touchdown run that pushed the Bearcats lead to 24-7 with 9:45 left in the third quarter.
DULUTH, Minn. — In the end, the University of Minnesota Duluth walked out of James S. Malosky Stadium Saturday night with its 15th straight season-opening victory in hand — but it didn’t come easy.
The No. 3 Bulldogs took a 20-3 lead into the fourth quarter and then staved off Concordia University-St. Paul’s late rally to prevail 20-13 in front of an overflow crowd of 5,287 (the sixth largest in program history) at James S. Malosky Stadium. The win was UMD’s 45th in its last 46 NSIC home games and its fifth in a row over the Golden Bears.
UMD, which never trailed the entire night, sandwiched a pair of Tyler McLauglin field goals (34 and 22 yards) around a 34-yard touchdown run by sophomore quarterback Drew Bauer to go into halftime up 13-10. Bauer later connected with a wide-open Taylor Grant in the end zone from six yards out 3:09 into the second half to make it 20-13 before the Golden Bears struck for 10 points in a span of four minutes in the fourth quarter on quarterback Corey Cole’s four-yard run and Tom Obarski’s second field goal of the evening.
The Bulldogs took the ensuing kickoff with 3:31 to go and eventually ran out the clock, thanks in part to Logan Lauter’s 46-yard run. The junior tailback finished with a personal-best 165 yards on just 14 carries while Bauer rushed 15 times for 85 yards for the Bulldogs, who outgained Concordia-St. Paul in total yards (384 to 362), but managed just 15 first downs and 82 yards through the air.
PUEBLO, Colo. — A 66-yard touchdown connection between seniors Chris Bonner and Paul Browning 2:57 into the game set the tone, as No. 4 Colorado State-Pueblo downed visiting No. 11 West Texas A&M Thursday at the Neta and Eddie ThunderBowl, in the 2014 season opener for both squads.
Bonner finished the game going 16-for-31 with 277 yards and four touchdowns. Browning totaled 102 yards with the one touchdown reception.
The Pack defense posted a strong performance from the defensive line, all the way back to the defensive backfield. Junior linebacker Joe Rosenbrock led the way in the middle with 10 tackles, while is partner on the inside, senior Josiah Flack added eight tackles, which included a half tackle for loss (-1 yard).
As a unit, the ThunderWolves held West Texas, a team that posted 46.1 points and 500.9 yards of offense per game last season, to 302 yards. The Pack defense forced four fumbles and recovered three.
Two big plays in the first quarter gave CSU-Pueblo a 14-3 lead, capped by a junior wide receiver Daniel Wise 47-yard catch and run to the end zone. In the second quarter the Pack offense, led by Bonner, methodically marched down the field and posted a nine-play, 82-yard touchdown drive to earn the 21-3 lead into the half.
MANKATO, Minn. — Things were clicking all day long for seventh-rated Minnesota State-Mankato as it cruised to a 31-0 shutout victory against No. 15 St. Cloud State Thursday evening in the season opener for both teams.
The Mavericks have now won 19 consecutive NSIC games at Blakeslee Stadium.
MSU’s shutout of the Huskies is its first shutout since the 2012 season when it blanked MSU-Moorhead 24-0 at Blakeslee Stadium. A total of 6,022 fans witnessed Minnesota State’s shutout of SCSU, marking the fifth-largest crowd in program history.
The Maverick offense accounted for 393 total yards of offense, including 270 yards on the ground. Senior Andy Pfeiffer led the way with 128 rushing yards and a touchdown, while junior Connor Thomas added 97 rushing yards and one touchdown.
Sophomore Ricky Lloyd and sophomore Nick Pieruccini combined for 123 passing yards, with Lloyd notching 91 passing yards and two touchdowns.
While the Maverick offense was doing its thing, the MSU defense kept the SCSU offense from getting any traction all night long as the Huskies managed just 235 yards of total offense, including 67 passing yards. The Mavericks also forced three turnovers as they recovered a fumble, to go along with a pair of interceptions.
Junior Tyler Henderson led the defense with nine tackles, while junior Josh Gordon added six tackles, including one sack, to go along with one fumble recovery. Freshman Cory Brent and junior Justin Otto each recorded an interception.
No. 8 Henderson State 72, Southern Nazarene University 7
BETHANY, Ok. — It was a record-breaking performance for Henderson State as the Reddies opened the 2014 season with a 72-7 beating of Southern Nazarene, Saturday in Bethany, Okla. The No. 8 Reddies broke several Great American Conference and HSU records including scoring 59 points in the first-half.
All-American and Harlon Hill candidate Kevin Rodgers only played the first-half and completed 27-of-36 passes for 408 yards and a HSU and GAC record-tying seven touchdown passes. Rodgers ties his own record set in 2012 against McKendree and went over the 300-yard plateau for the 20th time.
The GAC and HSU all-time leading receiver Darius Davis also set a record with five touchdown receptions having 10 catches for 217 yards in two quarters of play. Davis had a 58-yard touchdown reception on the second play of the game, followed by a 10-yard score later in the opening quarter. Davis scored three consecutive times in the second quarter have catches of 36, 45 and 11 yards.
The Reddies ended the game with 661 yards of total offense including 584 passing yards. Rodgers and Hardison combined for nine touchdown passes which set a new GAC record. Henderson’s defense was equally impressive allowing Southern Nazarene just 277 yards of offensive, while recording five sacks, two interceptions and a pair of fumble recoveries.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Pittsburg State held Northeastern state to just 48 rushing yards as they picked up a week one victory at home. PSU held NSU to 180 yards of total offense for the game while racking up 396 of their own.
For the Gorillas, Anthony Abenoja was 18-of-23 passing for 230 yards and a touchdown adding 49 yards and a score on the ground. Jeff Seybold had both a touchdown receiving and a touchdown on the ground while Solomon Watkins added a five-yard touchdown dash. On defense Tyler Disney led the way with 13 tackles while De’Vante Bausby and Deron Washington each picked off a pass.
For the RiverHawks, Kevin Pastico was 13-of-28 passomg for 132 yards through the air. Garrett Powell caught three passes for 45 yards while Terrance Dixon hauled in five passes for 40 yards on the night. On the defensive side of the ball Steffon Herd led the way with eight tackles and Donnie Fuston made six stops.
WEST HAVEN, Conn. — Sixth-year senior quarterback Sean McCartney threw for 262 yards and four touchdowns to lead 10th-ranked West Chester University to a 35-30 victory aga host New Haven Saturday afternoon at DellaCamera Stadium.
McCartney found four different targets for his TD strikes. Fifth-year transfer senior WR from Temple, Mike Doty, led all receivers with five catches for 75 yards, including a 38-yard reception for the first score of the ballgame on West Chester’s opening drive.
New Haven would answer with 10 straight points to take a 10-7 lead by the end of the first quarter.
West Chester moved in front early in the second quarter when Jr., TE Shawn Driggins snared a 4-yard TD reception on 3rd-and-Goal, making the Chargers pay dearly for a bad snap over their punter’s head on the previous drive that gave the Golden Rams the ball on UNH’s 8-yard line.
New Haven answered that with a touchdown with 3:23 left in the first half, but the point-after attempt failed. That is when McCartney led the Rams on a 7-play, 57-yard drive, executing the two-minute drill to perfection. He found Jr., TE Tim Brown over the middle for a 31-yard TD reception with 50 seconds left in the half to give West Chester a 21-16 lead entering the break.
The Rams added to that advantage when Sr., DB Al-Hajj Shabazz jumped on a blocked punt in the end zone to give the visitors a 28-16 lead. Shabazz also blocked a punt later in the contest and also intercepted a pass. Both of those came in the fourth quarter.
New Haven stormed back once more with a pair of touchdowns in the third quarter to take a 30-28 lead. However, Sr., WR Erick Brundidge caught a 44-yard TD pass from McCartney with 21 seconds left in the third to put WCU in front for good, 35-30.
West Chester’s defense pitched a shutout in the fourth quarter to preserve the season-opening win.