DII Football Roundup: Minnesota Duluth escapes Augustana with overtime win

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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — Because it has rarely trailed at any point in a football game — particularly the second half — over the past seven seasons, the Minnesota Duluth hasn’t posted a whole lot of come-from-behind victories.

Saturday afternoon in Sioux Falls, S.D., the No. 3 Bulldogs found themselves in one of those uncommon predicaments, down 16-6 with just over five minutes to go in the fourth quarter.

They came through big time with a thrilling 23-22 overtime win against Augustana. UMD cashed in on its first possession of the extra session, getting a six-yard touchdown run from sophomore quarterback Drew Bauer and the Vikings then responded with a score of their own, only to have the point-after kick attempt hit the left cross bar.

With the victory, the Bulldogs extended their regular season winning streak 10 games and hiked their 2014 record to 2-0. The Vikings, who were making their 2014 home debut, fell to 1-1 on the year.

Bauer finished the afternoon with 246 yards passing yards while equaling a personal high for completions (20) and setting a career best for attempts (40). His favorite target was Bofferding, who caught 10 passes for 105 yards. Bauer also paced the Bulldogs in rushing, with 60 yards on 14 carries. The Bulldogs held a subtantial 415-292 advantage in total offense and limited the Vikings to a mere 40 yards on the ground.

No. 1 Northwest Missouri State 40, Missouri Southern 14

JOPLIN, Mo. — Top-ranked Northwest Missouri State moved to 2-0 on the season with a 40-14 victory against Missouri Southern State on Thursday night at Fred G. Hughes Stadium.

The Bearcats scored 20 unanswered points to capture the victory. Brady Bolles and Phil Jackson II each found the end zone on the ground twice. Bolles also completed 19-of-28 passes for 212 yards and two touchdowns. He ran 13 times for 34 yards.

Jackson had 15 carries for 86 yards and two scores. He was not stopped for a loss all game.

Bolles completed passes to nine different receivers led by Bryce Young, Jason Jozaites and Korey Jackson with four each. TJ Schieber and Jacob Vollstedt each had touchdown catches from Bolles in the first half.

Kyle Goodburn was called upon to punt four times. He averaged 50.8 yards per kick and placed two fourth-quarter kicks at the MSSU 2 and 3-yard lines.

Eric Reimer had a team-high 10 tackles and recorded the lone Bearcat sack. He had 2.0 tackles for loss for eight yards. Kevin Berg and D.J. Gnader each recorded interceptions in the game.

Northwest racked up 383 yards of total offense, 212 yards in the air and 171 on the ground. Defensively, Northwest allowed just 177 yards of rushing to last year’s MIAA team rushing leader. For the second consecutive year, the Lions did not gain a yard through the air on the Bearcats. MSSU attempted five passes with two interceptions.

Northwest was 9-for-14 on third down conversions and held MSSU to just 4-of-12. The Bearcats had 11 tackles for loss on the day.

No. 8 Pittsburg State 38, Lindenwood 7

ST. CHARLES, Mo. — Quarterback Anthony Abenoja passed for 328 yards and three touchdowns to lead eighth-ranked Pittsburg State to a 38-7 victory against Lindenwood on Thursday at Hunter Stadium.

The Gorillas (2-0, 2-0 MIAA) claimed their 15th consecutive road victory dating back to the 2010 season, while handing the Lions (1-1, 1-1 MIAA) their first home-opening loss in 12 years.

Abenoja, who became Pitt State’s all-time passing yardage leader on the Gorillas’ opening drive of the game, tossed touchdown passes of 18 yards to Jeff Seybold, 14 yards to Gavin Lutman and 11 yards to Marquise Cushon.

Deron Washington added a 98-yard interception return for a touchdown for the Gorillas, turning a potential Lions score into a pick six.

Ramsey Hamilton also scored on a four-yard touchdown run in the third quarter, and Frazell booted a 24-yard field goal – his school record 14th consecutive make – early in the first period. Frazell’s streak ended with a 46-yard miss as time expired in the first half.

The Lions, who were limited to 189 yards of total offense in the game, ended the Gorillas’ bid for a second consecutive shutout on Stephen Kaiser’s 14-yard run with 3:01 to play against the Pitt State reserves.

Cushon caught five passes for a career high 140 yards, all in the first half. He also returned a pair of punts 73 yards to finish the game with 213 all-purpose yards.

No. 9 West Chester 38 Mercyhurst 14

WEST CHESTER, Pa. — Sixth-year QB Sean McCartney completed 23 of 35 passes for 306 yards and three touchdowns, while also running for another score, to lead No. 9 West Chester to a 38-14 victory against visiting Mercyhurst in its home opener Saturday afternoon at John A. Farrell Stadium.

West Chester (2-0, 1-0 PSAC) jumped out to an early 21-0 lead after the first quarter on a pair of big plays. Wide receiver Erick Brundidge caught a pass in the flats at his own 26-yard line, broke two tackles and raced down the far sideline for a 74-yard TD that put the Golden Rams on top, 14-0. Then, defensive back Drew Formica intercepted a pass and returned it 39 yards for a touchdown to give the hosts a three-touchdown lead after 15 minutes. That pick was set up when Ronell Williams delivered a crushing hit on Mercyhurst QB Zach Emerick just as he released the ball.

Mercyhurst (0-2, 0-1) never could recover from the early hole that it dug itself.

The Lakers finally got on the board late in the second quarter when Michael Foster returned a fumble 43 yards for a touchdown. But, it was the only score the visitors could muster until the middle of the fourth quarter.

West Chester racked up 418 yards of total offense, and McCartney looked like he was in sync with his wide receivers. He distributed his 23 completions to seven different targets. Mercyhurst had 255 yards of total offense. Lakers’ star running back, Brandon Brown-Dukes managed just 39 yards rushing on 15 carries in the game.

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