DII Roundup: No. 4 Lenoir-Rhyne wins close game to clinch fourth SAC title


No. 4 Lenoir-Rhyne holds off Carson-Newman to claim a share of SAC Championship

JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. — No. 4 Lenoir-Rhyne (9-0, 6-0) jumped out to a 25-point lead and held off a furious rally to defeat No. 16 Carson-Newman (6-2, 4-1), 35-32, Saturday in a South Atlantic Conference showdown at Burke-Tarr Stadium.

Lenoir-Rhyne senior fullback Chris Robinson, the team’s leading rusher, finished with a team-high 178 yards on the ground and a score while redshirt freshman quarterback Evin Sims added two rushing touchdowns and the Bears clinched at least a share of their fourth consecutive league regular season championship.

In addition, Robinson became Lenoir-Rhyne’s first 1,000-yard rusher in a single season since 2004. Robinson has 1,091 yards on the ground so far this fall.

Lenoir-Rhyne, the leading rushing team in NCAA Division II entering the contest, finished with 412 yards on the ground. The Bears have also won 19 consecutive South Atlantic Conference Regular Season games.

No. 1 Minnesota State Mankato rallies in fourth-quarter to top No. 10 Sioux Falls

MANKATO, Minn. — It proved to be a competitive game Saturday afternoon at Blakeslee Stadium but a late fourth-quarter rally by No. 1 Minnesota St. Mankato proved to be the difference as the Mavs topped No. 10 Sioux Falls 27-14.

With the win, MSU improved to 9-0 on the season, while USF fell to 8-1. The Mavericks have now won 31 consecutive NSIC games.

MSU entered the fourth quarter trailing for the first time this season as the Cougars held a 14-10 lead. Undaunted, the Mavericks rallied for 17 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to secure the 27-14 win.

Sophomore Nick Pieruccini finished his day completing 7-of-16 passes for 125 yards and a touchdown, while senior Dorian Buford caught three passes for 64 yards and a touchdown. Buford now has 12 touchdown catches on the season, just two behind Josh Nelsen’s single-season record of 14 touchdown catches set during the 1994 season.

No. 2 Minn. Duluth scores early and often in rout of Crookston

CROOKSTON, Minn. — When Beau Boefferding darted 37 yards for a touchdown on the seventh play of the afternoon Saturday, that would ultimately be all the points Minnesota Duluth would need in its Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference North Division road outing with the Minnesota-Crookston. But for the No. 2 Bulldogs, the scoring barrage had only just begun.

UMD reached the end zone on each of its seven first-half possession and went on to trounce the winless Golden Eagles 77-3, setting a program single-game record for points as well as jacking its regular season winning streak to 17 games. The Bulldogs also moved to 9-0 on the year with their 17th consecutive NSIC North Division victory.

Senior Aaron Roth caught four touchdown passes — one shy of both the UMD and NSIC records — all from sophomore quarterback Drew Bauer and junior Logan Lauters and freshman Nate Beaulieu each ran for a pair of scores on Senior Day at Ed Widseth Field.

No. 5 Ferris State wins high-scoring tilt against Lake Erie to keep perfect season intact

BIG RAPIDS, Mich. — Undefeated No. 5 Ferris State returned home Saturday to open a two-game homestand and won a track meet against an inspired Lake Erie, as the Bulldogs recorded a high-scoring 66-56 triumph at Top Taggart Field.

The Bulldogs came up with some pivotal offensive plays fueled by standout junior quarterback and Harlon Hill Trophy candidate Jason Vander Laan. Vander Laan finished the game with 499 yards of total offense with 284 of those coming on the ground. He also had three rushing touchdowns to go along with three passing touchdowns and completed 13-of-15 throws for 215 yards overall.

Ferris State moved one step closer to a potential GLIAC Championship by improving to 9-0 overall and 8-0 in league play.

No. 6 Bloomsburg captures PSAC East crown with 34-13 win against ESU

BLOOMSBURG, Pa. — No. 6 Bloomsburg entered Saturday’s contest against visiting East Stroudsburg needing just one win in its final two conference games to clinch its third PSAC East title in the past five seasons.

Bloomsburg made sure to erase the drama quickly.

The Huskies (9-0, 8-0 PSAC East) jumped out to and early lead and stifled an ESU offense lacking star quarterback Matt Soltes on the way to a dominating 34-13 victory at cold and windy Redman Stadium to cement their spot at the top of the East once more.

Bloomsburg followed its typical blueprint for success – Eddie Mateo ran for three scores and the defense dominated, holding the Warriors (6-3, 5-3) to 140 yards of total offense while forcing four more turnovers to run their season total to 31 turnovers gained.

Defense shines as No. 8 NW Missouri St. beats rival Missouri Western State on Senior Day

MARYVILLE, Mo. — Northwest Missouri State only had 21 yards passing in the first half and still went into halftime with a commanding 27-3 lead over Missouri Western.

Those numbers paint a picture of how dominating the Bearcats offensive line was in the final regular-season home game for the seniors on a blustery Saturday afternoon at Bearcat Stadium.

The Bearcats, in front of 7,182 fans, literally ran to an impressive 40-3 victory against Western and improved to 8-1.

It was definitely complete domination in all phases. Northwest rushed for 397 yards compared to 21 for Western. The total yards were just as lopsided, 496 to 78.

If the Bearcats get the kind of run production it had against Western, they will be tough to beat the rest of the season. The offensive line opened holes all afternoon for senior running back Robert Burton III and freshman running back Cameron Wilcox.

Burton carried the ball 27 times for 157 yards and Wilcox added 125 yards in 19 carries.

Scott Harrigan
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