2014 NCAA Division 3 Football Playoffs Quarterfinals
Four quarterfinal games were played and once again it was a great day of football. The semifinals are now set, but let’s take a look at all four games in the 2014 NCAA Division 3 Football Playoffs Quarterfinals. Be sure to see how the games played out compared to the predictions made here.
Wartburg (12-0) at Wisconsin-Whitewater (12-0)
Wisconsin-Whitewater needed 21 fourth quarter points to beat Wartburg 37-33 to make yet another semifinal appearance.
Wartburg came to play as shown by their first few drives. Their opening drive resulted in a 4 yard touchdown run from Brandon Domeyer to take a 7-0 lead. After forcing a UWW punt, Wartburg got a 29 yard field from Michael Bohlke to make it 10-0. The Warhawks responded with a touchdown of 8 yards from Matt Behrendt to Justin Howard, but the extra point was no good and UWW trailed 10-6. Wartburg’s third possession led to another field goal and a 13-6 lead, which they held after the first quarter.
Wartburg continued to move the ball with ease against the UWW defense, but for the third time in as many series, they had to settle for a field goal. Then the Wartburg defense stepped up and forced Jake Kumerow to fumble at the Wartburg one yard line. That led to yet another field goal and a 19-6 lead. The Warhawks came back down the field on their next drive with Behrendt hitting Kumerow for a 10 yard touchdown and a 19-13 deficit. A late UWW pick ended their chances to cut into the deficit, as Wartburg led 19-13 at halftime.
The Warhawks got the ball to start the second half and turned it into a 31 field goal from Will Meyer to make it 19-16 in favor of Wartburg. The Knights first offensive possession was like a lot of their first half possessions: easy to move the ball and some points. This time it was a touchdown instead of a field goal with Logan Schrader running for an 11 yard touchdown to give Wartburg a 26-16 lead. UWW tried to answer, but Behrendt was stuffed on fourth and 3 on the Wartburg 36 yard line and the Knights made them pay. Schrader hit Taylor Jacobsme for a 12 yard touchdown and a shocking 33-16 lead at the end of three quarters.
The fourth quarter was all about UWW. The second play was a 57 yard touchdown run from Dennis Moore to cut it to a 10 point deficit at 33-23. Then came a massive defensive play with Schrader losing a fumble and Zach Nellis of UWW recovering. Four plays later, Behrendt hit Derric Junakin in the flat and he did the rest for a 16 yard touchdown pass. UWW suddenly made it a 33-30 game with all the momentum on their side.
The next drive was a disaster for Wartburg and pretty much killed their chances. On third and 8, Schrader connected with Robbie Anstoett for a 26 yard gain and a first down, but Schrader hurt his left ankle and missed the rest of the drive. The Knights stalled out after that and gave the ball back to UWW, who completed the comeback. Behrendt and Justin Howard hooked up for a 23 yard touchdown a 37-33 lead. Schrader came back on the next drive, but was ineffective in a three-and-out. UWW opted to punt on fourth and 1 from the Wartburg 38, but the decision would not matter. Schrader went 0 for 4 passing on the next drive and UWW was able to run the clock out for the victory.
Logan Schrader went 19 of 39 for 358 yards passing and a touchdown. He also ran 12 times for 27 yards and a touchdown. Brandon Domeyer had 111 yards and a touchdown on 24 carries. Taylor Jacobsme recorded 7 catches for 181 yards and a touchdown.
Matt Behrendt had an excellent day going 21 of 32 for 345 yards with 4 touchdowns and a pick. Dennis Moore ran 12 times for 122 yards with a touchdown while Jordan Ratliffe had 12 carries for 80 yards. Jake Kumerow caught 6 passes for 146 yards and a touchdown, but also had the costly fumble at the Wartburg one yard line. Justin Howard caught 7 passes for 94 yards and 2 scores.
Linfield (10-1) at Widener (12-0)
Going across the country was no problem for Linfield as they crushed Widener on the road 45-7. Sam Riddle accounted for 336 yards and 5 touchdowns for Linfield in the victory.
Early in the game, Linfield was presented with a first and goal from the one thanks to a bad punt snap by Widener. However, the Wildcats did not get the needed yard and Riddle was stuffed on back-to-back plays, including fourth and goal, to give Widener the ball back. Linfield would get the ball back three plays later with an interception and got on the board first with an 11 yard pass from Riddle to Spencer Payne. Linfield’s next drive resulted in their second touchdown with Riddle hitting Evan Peterson for a 22 yard touchdown. The second touchdown drive also started off an interception. The first quarter also saw fumbles by each team but with no points as a result. The score at the end of the first quarter was Linfield 14, Widener 0.
Linfield’s third play of second quarter was Sam Riddle being picked off by Ameer Sorrell and bringing the ball back to the Linfield 33 yard line. Terrant Morrison punched the ball in from 2 yards out to make it 14-7. Linfield did not respond for a couple drives, but they did with Riddle to Charlie Poppen for 44 yards. After the defense stopped Widener at the Linfield 42 yard line on a sack, the Wildcats made them pay again. Riddle to Peterson for a 5 yard touchdown made it 28-7 at halftime.
There was no scoring in the third quarter, but Linfield’s final drive of the quarter pushed the ball deep into Widener territory. That would result in a 44 yard field goal and a 31-7 lead early in the fourth quarter. Riddle threw a 40 yard touchdown to Colin Nelson on the next drive before a 9 yard touchdown run from Matt Yarbrough made it 45-7.
Sam Riddle went 18 of 36 for 261 yards and 5 touchdown passes. He also threw a pick and ran for 75 yards on 14 carries to lead the team in rushing as well. Charlie Poppen had 5 catches for 112 yards and a touchdown while Spencer Payne caught 5 passes for 50 yards and a score. Colin Nelson caught 2 passes for 46 yards and a touchdown and Evan Peterson finished with 5 catches for 43 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Hobart (12-0) at Wesley (12-0)
Wesley got out to a solid start, but they did their biggest damage in the second half in their 41-13 win over Hobart. Joe Callahan threw for 315 yards and 2 touchdowns to lead Wesley into the semifinals.
Wesley struck first with a 32 yard field goal from Eric Speidel to make it 3-0. Midway through the first quarter both teams traded picks, but nothing came out of Wesley’s interception for Hobart. With 30 seconds left in the first quarter, Wesley made it 10-0 after forcing a fumble on Conner Hartigan and Sean Hopkins returning it 42 yards for the touchdown.
Hobart finally got on the board with their first drive of the second quarter. Patrick Conlan connected with Chris Cyr for a 4 yard touchdown, but the extra point was missed. Wesley held a 10-6 lead and their next drive got to the Hobart 24 yard line. Joe Callahan’s fourth down pass was incomplete and Hobart would be forced to punt on their next drive. Wesley made it 17-6 in the final two minutes when Jamar Baynard ran in from 3 yards out. Wesley would take that 17-6 lead into the halftime break.
Early in the third quarter, Hobart was punting when the snap was short and could not be corralled by the punter. Hobart’s defense stood tall to force a field goal, but still trailed 20-6. Hobart came back down the field for a touchdown with Conlan hitting Mike Berkowitz for a 7 yard touchdown pass, as he was able to get the ball in between two defenders. That made it 20-13 and Hobart had a chance to tie the game on their next drive.
On fourth and 7 from the Wesley 25 yard line, Hobart went for it, but Conlan’s pass was incomplete. Four plays later, Joe Callahan and Steve Koudossou connected for a 60 yard touchdown and a 27-13. Wesley would take that score into the final quarter and extend it even further.
Early in the fourth, Callahan and Koudossou connected on a 37 yard pass play to the Hobart 3 yard line and Baynard capped it off with another three yard touchdown run. Three straight turnovers later in the fourth quarter between both teams left Wesley with the ball at the Hobart 49 yard line and 7:02 remaining in the game. Callahan hit Kyle George for a 19 yard touchdown and the final score of 41-13.
Hobart struggled on offense all day. They amassed only 163 yards of offense and converted only 3 of 17 third downs. Patrick Conlan went 8 of 24 for 74 yards with 2 touchdown passes, but 3 interceptions. Parker Thelander was the top rusher with 3 carries for 39 yards. John Fasano caught 2 passes for 19 yards to lead Hobart in receiving. Troy Robinson had 1 catch for 18 yards.
Joe Callahan went 23 of 39 for 315 yards with 2 touchdowns and a pick. Jamar Baynard had 21 carries for 78 yards and 2 touchdowns on the ground. Steve Koudossou caught 5 passes for 125 yards and a touchdown while Bryce Shade had 5 catches for 68 yards.
John Carroll (11-1) at Mount Union (12-0)
It was another excellent game between Mount Union and John Carroll, but it also was the same result – a Mount Union victory. The Purple Raiders won 36-28 to appear in their 20th consecutive semifinals.
Mount Union started with a touchdown on their first drive with Kevin Burke hitting Roman Namdar for a 13 yard touchdown. Back-to-back punts gave the ball to John Carroll, but their fourth and 2 pass attempt was incomplete. Mount Union took the ball to the JCU 22 yard line, but Burke’s pass was incomplete and JCU took over. JCU would be forced to punt on the next drive and Tim Kennedy’s return would set up a second touchdown for Mount Union. Kennedy returned the ball 43 yards to the JCU 18 and two plays later, Logan Nemeth ran in for an 18 yard touchdown a 14-0 lead at the end of the first quarter.
The ensuing drive was a big one for JCU, as they were behind the chains multiple times and still converted. The drive ended with Tommy Michals pounding the ball in from 2 yards out to make it 14-7. Mount Union’s next drive got to the JCU 35 when Burke hit Taurice Scott for a 10 yard pass, but a fumble was picked up by JCU’s Marty Gibbons and returned 64 yards to the Mount Union 11 yard line. JCU needed to go convert a fourth and one to get the first down, but it worked and resulted in a Mark Myers one yard touchdown pass to Zach Strippy to tie the game 14.
After a series of punts by both teams, Mount Union started with great field position at the JCU 42 with 3:18 remaining in the first half. Burke threw a pass up to Sherman Wilkinson for a 22 yard touchdown pass and catch. JCU’s next drive also consisted of two plays. Mark Myers escaped a sack and threw to a wide open Marshall Howell who ran the ball in from midfield for a 75 yard touchdown to tie the game at 21. Mount Union would get the last points of the first half with Burke throwing another deep ball to Wilkinson, this one from 26 yards out, to take a 28-21 lead at halftime.
The second half was a defensive battle. JCU had a scoring chance with Myers hitting Jordan D’Orazio to the Mount Union 23 yard line, but D’Orazio fumble the ball and Mount Union recovered. Both teams had trouble getting much going after that with JCU constantly pinned deep in their own territory. That would lead to a safety on an awful snap through the end zone to build Mount Union’s lead to 30-21. The lead would expand further after the free kick with Burke hitting Luc Meacham for a 5 yard touchdown. The two point conversion was no good, but Mount Union led 36-21 after three quarters.
John Carroll made it a one possession game midway through the fourth quarter when Myers hit Strippy for a 3 yard touchdown. The opted for the extra point to make it 36-28. John Carroll did force a punt on the next Mount Union possession, but their offense was unable to move the ball. That would prove to be the last time JCU held the ball as Kevin Burke had two separate third down runs for first downs to run the clock out.
Mark Myers went 31 of 55 for 362 yards passing and 3 touchdowns. Tommy Michals was held in check with only 35 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries. Marshall Howell had 4 catches for 119 yards and a touchdown, but also dropped some passes. Aramis Greenwood caught 11 passes for 81 yards.
Kevin Burke went 20 of 37 for 297 yards with 4 touchdowns for Mount Union. Logan Nemeth had 13 carries for 60 yards and a score. Roman Namdar had 6 catches for 123 yards and a touchdown while Sherman Wilkinson made his two catches count for 48 yards and 2 touchdowns. Taurice Scott had 7 catches for 80 yards and 2 carries for 29 yards.
Linfield (11-1) at Wisconsin-Whitewater (13-0) – 3:30 PM ET on ESPNU.
Wesley (12-1) at Mount Union (13-0) – 12 PM ET on ESPNU.