|It was elation on the field, dejection on the sidelines and in the stands after Demarre Nelson's second pick.
St. John Fisher athletics photo
|Hjavier Pitts was the leading ground gainer for Thomas More.
Thomas More athletics file photo
Oftentimes it seems key conference battles come at the end of the season. But in Saturday's afternoon games, both the Presidents' Athletic Conference and Empire 8 saw key clashes that will shape the chase for their automatic bids.
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- Top 25 roundup
- Week 3 national roundup
- Even more game stories
Thomas More used a long drive at the beginning of the first half, then intercepted Pete Coughlin on the next possession and scored one play later to expand its lead to 21-3 and went on to pull away from Washington & Jefferson 35-9 on Saturday.
The Saints, ranked No. 20 in the latest D3football.com Top 25 poll, intercepted Coughlin again on the next possession for the No. 23 Presidents and turned that into a score as well. In all, Coughlin was 15-for-32 passing, a week after throwing seven touchdowns in the first half. Brenan Kuntz was 19-for-31 for 246 yards and two touchdowns for the Saints, while running for an additional 75 yards. Daylin Garland was his top target, with eight catches for 139 yards and a score. The Saints limited W&J to 204 total yards and held the ball for 38:58.
Demarre Nelson intercepted passes to end each of Cortland's final two possessions, giving No. 21 St. John Fisher a 31-24 road win vs. No. 15 Cortland in a battle of Empire 8 contenders. The Cardinals (3-0, 1-0 E8) jumped out to a 21-3 on the first play of the second quarter, then held on as Cortland (2-1, 0-1) cut the lead to seven on a 15-yard run by Alex Wasserman in the fourth quarter. Nelson's interceptions came at the 9-yard line with 2:49 left and at the 17 with under 10 seconds remaining.
K.J. Kearney put the Christopher Newport passing record at a more respectable total, completing 30 of 44 for 400 yards, and the Captains pulled away to defeat No. 17 Wesley 42-28. The Wolverines fall to 1-2 for the first time since 2003. CNU scored 21 fourth-quarter points in the win.
Moravian scored twice in the fourth quarter to make it an eight-point game, but the Greyhounds could get no further as No. 11 Johns Hopkins was able to close out a 29-21 win. Moravian had two more shots to tie, including one following an interception, but Marcus Spearman picked off a pass at the 8-yard line with under 2:30 left and the Blue Jays got two first downs to run out the clock. Jonathan Germano was 34-for-53 passing for 331 yards and two scores in the win.
No. 14 Delaware Valley scored on its first six possessions and held the ball for more than three-quarters of the game as the Aggies had no trouble with King's in a 49-14 win. Delaware Valley outgained the Monarchs on the ground, 278-2.
Ryan Jones threw for 108 yards and a touchdown, led an offense that had four players rush for more than 70 yards and a touchdown, rushing for 159 yards himself as No. 16 Salisbury had little trouble in a 40-20 win vs. Montclair State.
No. 24 Stevenson won its first game as a ranked team, scoring the first 21 points and cruising to a 24-13 win vs. Lebanon Valley. Daniel Williams was 23-for-28 through the air, while Jimmy Lauer had nine tackles (six solo) and an interception to pace the Mustangs defense.
B.J. Mitchell ran for three touchdowns in the first half and top-ranked Mount Union had little trouble with Marietta as the Purple Raiders cruised to a 56-0 win in their OAC opener. Mount Union led 50-0 at the half. Mitchell's last carry was with 4:47 left in the second quarter. ... St. Thomas scored three touchdowns in the game's first 6:34 and the Tommies rolled to a 48-3 lead at the half en route to a 62-10 win vs. Carleton. St. Thomas averaged 9.9 yards per snap. ... North Central intercepted six Illinois Wesleyan passes and held the Titans to 94 passing yards in a 34-7 win in the CCIW opener for both teams.