October 23, 2010

DePauw clinches first automatic bid

DePauw has a Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference automatic bid to celebrate for the second consecutive season.
DePauw athletics file photo

DePauw showed heart and guts against Trinity (Texas) and its reward is the first automatic bid to the 2010 NCAA playoffs. 

Trinity's Ben Robinson returned an interception for a touchdown with 1:19 left to give the homestanding Tigers a 31-24 lead. But the visiting Tigers came right back and scored on an Alex Koors 34-yard touchdown reception, then went for two and quarterback Michael Engle connected with Nathan Evans to give DePauw a 32-31 victory, the school's first ever in San Antonio.

St. Lawrence is just 4-4 overall but the Saints are not only leading the Liberty League, they are in the driver's seat. Marcus Washington continued his strong season and St. Lawrence remained unbeaten in the Liberty League with a 14-3 win against RPI.

The Saints are 4-0 in the league, with wins against the next four teams in the standings and need to win just one of the two remaining games against WPI (3-4) and Rochester (1-5) to clinch the automatic bid.

The Midwest Conference has the tightest title race in Division III football with four teams tied for first at 5-2.  Illinois College knocked off Ripon 40-35 to bring the Redhawks back into a four-way tie with the Blue Boys, Carroll (35-0 winners over Knox) and St. Norbert (58-14 winners over Grinnell).  Monmouth, Grinnell and Beloit are just one game behind the leaders.

Washington and Lee remained unbeaten in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference with a 35-34 win against Bridgewater and is now a half-game ahead of Hampden-Sydney after the Tigers' bye. The Generals took the lead with 8:31 left and survived a 39-yard Bridgewater field goal attempt with 1:37 remaining.

Lewis and Clark still has a part to play in the Northwest Conference race, at least mathematically, as the Pioneers rolled up 575 yards of total offense and ... well, can't really say they limited Puget Sound but they beat the Loggers 68-64. Puget Sound scored 22 points in the fourth quarter but Lewis and Clark scored last, with 1.7 seconds left, to win.

SUNY-Maritime's unbeaten season was on the ropes when Mount Ida scored a go-ahead touchdown with 1:49 remaining to take a 35-31 lead.  However, the Privateers scored just 45 seconds later when sophomore quarterback Joe Dickey connected with sophomore receiver Erik Heedles for a 45-yard touchdown, on a pass that was nearly intercepted, to put Maritime back ahead, 37-35. Case Western Reserve also stayed undefeated by beating Wooster 28-14 behind four touchdown passes for Joey Baum. Salisbury rolled past Union 52-21 with 210 yards from Randal Smedley and 196 more plus 137 passing from Dan Griffin.

St. Vincent picked up its first Presidents' Athletic Conference victory in convincing fashion as the Bearcats rolled over Grove City 42-17. Franklin and Marshall knocked Muhlenberg from its first-place tie in the Centennial with a 17-7 road win.

The University of Chicago tied an NCAA Division III season record for most touchdowns scored on blocked punt returns. Leading 21-0 midway through the second quarter, Chicago forced Kenyon to punt from its own 31-yard line. Cameron Grimes blocked the punt and Danny Polaneczky returned it 22 yards for the score. It marked the Maroons' fifth blocked punt return for a touchdown this season, matching the Division III record set by Widener in 1990. Chicago won 35-14.

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