Unbeatens fall on brutal Saturday

Peter Nilson
All of the scoring, including Peter Nilson's game-winning field goal, came at one end of the field on a windy day at RPI.
RPI athletics photo by Mark Grubbs

We started the day with more than two dozen unbeaten teams in Division III but won't end it that way, as Alfred, Baldwin-Wallace, Coe, Cortland State and Randolph-Macon all picked up their first loss in Saturday's action. 

Wartburg gave up a season-high 21 points but won the battle of unbeatens, knocking off No. 6 Coe 31-21 and spoiling the Kohawks' homecoming. Wartburg now stands alone in first place in the IIAC, although the Knights have yet to play Central.

"It was critical that we had ball possession, especially in regards to our defense against a good offense," said Knights coach Rick Willis. "We did that with nearly 39 minutes. We also couldn't afford turnovers, and the offense handled the football very well. Both of those things were big."

RPI jumped out to a 21-0 first-quarter lead in a fierce wind at the Engineers' new stadium, then held on as Alfred rallied to tie it 24-24. Senior Peter Nilson finished the Saxons' unbeaten run by kicking a 37-yard field goal with six seconds remaining in the game to lift RPI to the 27-24 win. Following an RPI spike on first down and an incompletion on second, the Saxons called three consecutive timeouts before Nilson's low kick with the wind cleared the uprights.

Washington and Lee rushed for 400 yards for the fourth time this season and the Generals upset No. 20 Randolph-Macon 42-28 in Lexington, Va. Ohio Northern scored 21 unanswered points to end the first half and went on to defeat Baldwin-Wallace 41-21. Rowan upended No. 23 Cortland State 20-17.

No. 12 Delaware Valley turned the ball over seven times in the first half, but rallied with two touchdowns in the second half to defeat Wilkes 30-18. No. 18 St. John Fisher picked off eight passes in a 41-14 win against Hartwick.

In non-close games, top-ranked UW-Whitewater rolled up 237 rushing yards despite taking its foot off the gas in the fourth quarter and blanked UW-Eau Claire 45-0, while Jeremy Murray ran for 224 yards and a pair of touchdowns for No. 2 Mount Union in a 45-7 win against Heidelberg. No. 3 Wesley won its 150th game under coach Mike Drass, crushing Southern Virginia 52-3. Steve Johnson picked up his 150th career win as well as No. 24 Bethel defeated Gustavus Adolphus 20-0.