The North Central College Cardinals had little trouble getting past Millikin on Saturday night in the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin (CCIW) opener for both teams. The Cardinals crushed the Big Blue 47-13 with a big second quarter.
The Cardinals took their first drive of the game 73 yards in 13 plays to take the early lead. Tyler Dicken threw a 6 yard touchdown pass to Peter Sorenson to cap the drive.
Millikin added a 36 yard field goal late in the first quarter from Chayce Volpert to make it 7-3. However, that would be as close as they would get. North Central started to drive late in the first quarter and ended it with Dicken’s 6 yard touchdown pass to Demarco Tillman.
A fumble by Nick Pippin gave the Cardinals the ball at the Millikin 47 yard line and they turned it into Dicken’s third touchdown pass of the night. He threw a 15 yarder to Ryan Kuhl to make it 20-3 after the extra point was blocked by Andy Roth. North Central then tried an onside kick and recovered, but were stopped on fourth and one to give the ball back to Millikin.
Millikin turned that into a field goal from 43 yards out off of Volpert’s leg. North Central answered back with a 37 yard field goal of their own to make it 23-6 late in the first half.
Millikin had a chance to score late in the first half, but a fumble derailed their opportunity and the would run out the clock and trail 23-6 at the break.
The Cardinals started the second half with a punt that ended up at their own 44 yard line. Millikin drove to the Cardinals’ 13 yard line, but Pippin was picked off by P.J. Crotty at the ten to end the threat. It would not take long for the Cardinals to put the game out of reach.
Dylan Warden came in and completed a 5 yard pass to Sorenson to move the sticks. On the next play, Warden hit Sorenson on a bomb for the 80 yard touchdown and the 30-6 lead.
NCC extended the lead further on the next drive as Dicken came back in and threw his fourth touchdown of the night. This one went to Kolton Kuczynski from two yards out and the Cardinals led 37-6.
The Millikin’s next play would be Pippin’s pass getting taken back to the house for a 40 yard interception return by Justin Stuursma. Stuursma was not done with the big plays, as the next Millikin drive ended when he recovered the fumble.
North Central added a 31 yard field goal midway through the fourth quarter to make it a 47-6 game before Millikin scored a very late and small consolation touchdown. Pippin hit Tucker Schwengel for the 3 yard touchdown pass to reach the final of 47-13.
Nick Pippin went 23 of 45 for 179 yards with 1 touchdown and two interceptions. He also carried the ball 11 times for 50 yards. Justin Brooks also had 50 yards, but did so on 8 carries. Isaiah Townsend was the top receiver for the Big Blue with 5 catches for 62 yards.
Tyler Dicken had an excellent game for the Cardinals even if his numbers were not eye-popping. He went 14 of 26 for 147 yards with 4 touchdowns and an interception. Dylan Warden went 4 for 4 with 88 yards and a touchdown in his drive during the third quarter. Warden contributed 30 yards on 6 carries as well.
Ryan Kent ran for 107 yards on 19 carries while Matt Randolph had 7 rushes for 40 yards. Peter Sorenson had 8 catches for 156 yards and 2 touchdowns. Ryan Kuhl was the second leading receiver with 3 catches for 34 yards and a touchdown.
Millikin (2-2, 0-1) will play at home next week against Illinois Wesleyan (2-2, 0-1). North Central (3-1, 1-0) goes on the road to face North Park (0-4, 0-1) in Chicago.
North Central lost last week to UW-Stevens Point and fell from number 5 to number 13. The Cardinals are expected to emerge from the game next week at North Park with a 2-0 record in CCIW play.