St. John's couldn't celebrate until the final gun, with a walk-off win.
|It looks as if St. John's running back Dusty Krueger gets into the end zone on his first effort on the final play of the game.
St. John's won its first-round game in dramatic fashion winning on the final play of the game, while Coe survived a first-round game vs. Monmouth and higher seeds St. Thomas and UW-Oshkosh won handily in the St. Thomas bracket.
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Dusty Krueger got into the end zone by the narrowest of margins as time expired, the final play of a 14-play, 80-yard drive with no timeouts remaining in the final 2:20 of the game, lifting St. John's to a 32-31 win vs. UW-Platteville.
Krueger's dive came on fourth down, and was the Johnnies' fourth consecutive play from the 1-yard line, which is where Will Gillach had been brought down just short of the end zone on a pass from the 12-yard line three plays earlier. St. John's spiked the ball on first down, threw two incomplete passes to Jared Streit in the corner of the end zone, then gave it to Krueger for the final yard.
It took the officials a full six seconds to throw their arms up and declare it a touchdown.
"I was hoping they were going to throw their arms up there and say I was in," Krueger said. "I was looking for the refs. They were walking closer together and finally the hands went up and we got to celebrate."
"I was panicking," said Johnnies coach Gary Fasching. "I thought we had a good play called. We really in that sequence had three or four different plays called and they'd call time out and we'd change the play, thinking we could do something else. Our guys didn't panic. They stuck right with it. Every time we came back to the huddle, they said, 'we're going to get this.' "
Coe advanced to the second round, defeating Monmouth 21-14 in a battle of unebatens. The Kohawks picked off Monmouth quarterback Tanner Matlick five times and the Scots fumbled the ball away four times as well but the Kohawks were able to do very little with the extra possessions until late in the third quarter, when they converted an interception into a touchdown with an 18-yard drive to go up 14-7. On their next possession, the Kohawks handed it to Trevor Heitland, who ran for a 46-yard TD for a two-score lead. Heitland finished with 50 carries for 251 yards and the one score.
St. Thomas posted a shutout, its first playoff shutout in the history of the program, defeating Northwestern (Minn.) 43-0. St. Thomas' defense had four takeaways and allowed just 162 net yards to the Eagles (9-2). Linebacker Dylan Andrew had a 58-yard interception return for a touchdow, while defensive back Michael Alada tied a 33-year-old school record as he recorded his 10th pickoff of the season. Stephen Wagner came off the bench to record 98 yards of offense on 17 touches in the second half.
Mitch Gerhartz rolled up 204 yards on 21 carries and Brett Kasper threw for 192 yards and three scores as UW-Oshkosh had little trouble with Washington U. in a 49-13 win. J.J. Tomlin threw for 221 yards in his final game as a Bear, with Kevin Hammarlund collecting 13 catches for 116 yards.