/seasons/2002/contrib/20121007na3ai4

Wind blows Bridgewater into next round

By Keith McMillan,
D3sports.com
 

BRIDGEWATER, Va. -- If anyone is going to lob claims of intervention after Bridgewater's first home playoff game since last season's infamous clock operator fiasco, one could only point a finger at the Divine this time.

Bridgewater survived a 259-yard rushing outing from King's tailback Richard Jackson when Matt VonTanhausen's 32-yard field goal attempt caught a gust of wind and fell about a foot short of the crossbar, preserving the top-seeded, No. 2-ranked Eagles' 19-17 second-round NCAA playoff victory.

"When he first hit it and it didn't start going [end over end], I knew we had a chance," said Bridgewater head coach Michael Clark of the kick, attempted with 57 seconds left. "If that gust of wind hadn't come in, as ugly as it was, it might have slipped through."

"It looked close," said Jackson. "I thought he had it. It looked like it was going to curve back in, but I didn't think it was going to come up short.

Bridgewater quarterback Robbie Jenkins said the kick "just hit a wall."

If not for the wind, King's (9-3) could have taken a 20-19 lead and possibly advanced to play Trinity (Texas), a second-round winner over Washington & Jefferson. Instead the Eagles (11-0) will host the Tigers (12-0) next Saturday. 

 The Monarchs had marched 66 yards in 15 plays to set themselves up with a fourth-and-8 at the 15-yard line. The notoriously fickle weather at Bridgewater's Jopson Field, set among mountains near Harrisonburg, Va., had gone from windy enough to blow over a tent in the first quarter, to overcast with driving rain at halftime, to no wind for much of the fourth quarter. But the gust that changed the game came at the right time for the Eagle faithful.

"In this business," said Clark, "I've been in it long enough and I've lost enough to know that you say 'thank you' when you win."

"We didn't lose because of the field goal," said Rich Manello, the dejected King's coach, afterward. "Let's get that straight. You can't let it come down to that."

Jackson had given the Monarchs a 7-0 lead less than four minutes in, following a 42-yard completion from David Hessler to Chris Ripoli.

The Eagles' offensive struggles began early, but they tied the game on Jamie Langley's 7-yard TD run. Steward White blocked a King's punt near midfield that Adrian Herndon scooped up and rumbled with to the 7-yard line.

King's came right back and scored three minutes later on a 22-yard run by Jackson. With 4:16 to play in the opening quarter, the Monarchs led 14-7.

The Eagles' second touchdown came after a roughing-the-punter call against King's extended the following drive. Jenkins connected with Brian Ratliff on a 54-yard scoring strike, but the Eagles missed the point after.

A 15-yard King's punt gave Bridgewater good field position, and the Eagles went up 19-14 on a 36-yard scoring strike from Jenkins to Andre Jones that was either a hot read or blown coverage.

The Eagles missed the two-point conversion, and two spectacular defenses assumed control of what looked like it would be a shootout.

The Monarchs kept the Eagles from getting to the perimeter, stifling the Eagles' option attack and funneling everything towards their excellent tackles and linebackers. King's was content to run the ball, not being able to pass against Bridgewater's speedy defenders.

The Monarchs added a 28-yard VonTanhausen field goal in the third period, when they were going with the wind.

The two teams had nothing but praise for each other afterward, with several people from Bridgewater saying that the King's defense was the best he'd seen in Division III, better than even Mount Union's in last year's Stagg Bowl.

The Eagles came in scoring 41 points per game and rolling up 464 yards, including 243 rushing. King's outgained the Eagles 376-210. Punter Chad Coffey, who gained 18 yards on a fake, was the Eagles' leading rusher. They finished with just 18 yards rushing.

"We had a defense to make a run all the way," said Manello. "That group could have made a run back into Virginia, back here. That's the hard part."

Jackson, just a sophomore, gained his 259 yards on 45 carries.

"I give all the credit to my offensive line," he said. "Every time I touched the ball, I felt I was going to break one."

Clark, who called King's as physical a team as he's seen in his eight years in Divison III, said his team wouldn't over-analyze the win.

"After you've won for a while, you kind of find a way to win," he said.

And sometimes the wind helps find it for you.

Oct. 20: All times Eastern
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at Johns Hopkins 52, Gettysburg 0
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Oct. 21: All times Eastern
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at Framingham State 29, Westfield State 14
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Moravian 20, at Juniata 17
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at Salve Regina 41, Endicott 14
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at Thomas More 63, St. Vincent 13
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at Union 28, Hobart 23
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at Hamilton 27, Colby 24
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at Christopher Newport 27, William Paterson 19
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at Ithaca 35, St. John Fisher 10
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at Allegheny 44, Kenyon 35
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SUNY-Maritime 21, at Mount Ida 13
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Middlebury 43, at Bates 14
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at Springfield 68, Catholic 20
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at Amherst 21, Wesleyan 17
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at Trinity (Conn.) 63, Bowdoin 14
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Husson 48, at Gallaudet 21
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Wabash 35, at Oberlin 21
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at Utica 34, Buffalo State 12
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Ohio Northern 7, at Muskingum 6
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at Frostburg State 62, Montclair State 3
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at Wesley 34, Rowan 3
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at Stevenson 26, Albright 23
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Wittenberg 52, at DePauw 6
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at Albion 31, Alma 28
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at Guilford 45, Shenandoah 20
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Plymouth State 40, at Massachusetts Maritime 14
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Wooster 58, at Hiram 25
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Washington and Lee 36, at Hampden-Sydney 6
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at Anna Maria 36, Alfred State 34
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Bridgewater 31, at Emory and Henry 23
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at FDU-Florham 49, Wilkes 31
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Lebanon Valley 17, at Misericordia 0
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at St. Lawrence 36, Rochester 14
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RPI 30, at Alfred 15
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at Curry 46, Nichols 16
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at Salisbury 42, Southern Virginia 0
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Ferrum 27, at Brevard 24
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Randolph-Macon 63, at Apprentice 14
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at Susquehanna 21, Ursinus 14
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Cortland 34, at Morrisville State 20
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at Trine 50, Hope 14
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Trinity (Texas) 27, at Sewanee 21
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Wartburg 41, at Luther 16
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at Franklin and Marshall 56, Dickinson 0
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Tufts 21, at Williams 13
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Mount Union 66, at Wilmington 7
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MIT 30, at Coast Guard 21
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at Norwich 24, Maine Maritime 22
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at Marietta 44, Heidelberg 21
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Franklin 29, at Rose-Hulman 22
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John Carroll 48, at Capital 21
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at Manchester 28, Bluffton 21
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Mount St. Joseph 71, at Anderson 27
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UW-Whitewater 20, at UW-River Falls 7
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Kean 26, at TCNJ 3
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at LaGrange 59, Greensboro 10
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at Worcester State 45, Mass-Dartmouth 40
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Muhlenberg 40, at McDaniel 13
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Western New England 45, at Becker 0
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at Maryville (Tenn.) 35, Methodist 14
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Adrian 36, at Kalamazoo 22
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Denison 31, at Ohio Wesleyan 20
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at Washington and Jefferson 34, Westminster (Pa.) 33
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Berry 37, at Millsaps 22
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at Benedictine 43, Olivet 37
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Birmingham-Southern 31, at Austin 24
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at Mary Hardin-Baylor 45, Belhaven 7
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at UW-Stout 23, UW-Stevens Point 17
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Eureka 37, at MacMurray 20
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at Illinois Wesleyan 13, Carthage 10
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Nebraska Wesleyan 14, at Buena Vista 13
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Lakeland 48, at Wisconsin Lutheran 0
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at Aurora 28, Rockford 21
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at Concordia-Chicago 37, Concordia (Wis.) 17
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at St. Olaf 29, Carleton 26
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at St. John's 41, Gustavus Adolphus 17
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at Concordia-Moorhead 42, Augsburg 20
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St. Thomas 84, at Hamline 0
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Westminster (Mo.) 24, at Greenville 14
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at Loras 44, Coe 38
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Monmouth 61, at Cornell 10
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Wheaton (Ill.) 56, at North Park 0
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Northwestern (Minn.) 30, at Martin Luther 14
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Hardin-Simmons 33, at Texas Lutheran 30
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at Lake Forest 70, Grinnell 6
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at Millikin 56, Carroll 35
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at Macalester 47, Ripon 31
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at St. Norbert 38, Lawrence 6
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St. Scholastica 49, at Crown 21
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at Iowa Wesleyan 24, Minnesota-Morris 17
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UW-Platteville 34, at UW-Eau Claire 14
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at WPI 41, Merchant Marine 7
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at Centre 42, Rhodes 35
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Hanover 49, at Earlham 14
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at Chicago 55, Beloit 12
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UW-Oshkosh 42, at UW-La Crosse 28
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at Dubuque 28, Simpson 27
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at North Central (Ill.) 54, Augustana 2
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at East Texas Baptist 68, Louisiana College 35
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at Brockport 45, Hartwick 0
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Western Connecticut 27, at Bridgewater State 20
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Chapman 38, at La Verne 21
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Pacific 17, at Lewis and Clark 7
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Pacific Lutheran 27, at Willamette 14
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at Whitworth 38, Puget Sound 23
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Redlands 42, at Claremont-Mudd-Scripps 25
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at Linfield 12, George Fox 6
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Sul Ross State 52, at Howard Payne 15
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at Castleton 17, Dean 14
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N.C. Wesleyan 21, at Averett 15
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at Otterbein 37, Baldwin Wallace 29
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Case Western Reserve 45, at Geneva 7
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Carnegie Mellon 42, at Thiel 10
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at Illinois College 23, Knox 13
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at Cal Lutheran 60, Whittier 34
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Cancelled
Occidental at Pomona-Pitzer
Oct. 20: All times Eastern
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at Johns Hopkins 52, Gettysburg 0
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Oct. 21: All times Eastern
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at Wesley 34, Rowan 3
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at Frostburg State 62, Montclair State 3
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Wittenberg 52, at DePauw 6
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at Springfield 68, Catholic 20
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Wartburg 41, at Luther 16
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Mount Union 66, at Wilmington 7
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at Marietta 44, Heidelberg 21
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at Washington and Jefferson 34, Westminster (Pa.) 33
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Hardin-Simmons 33, at Texas Lutheran 30
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at Mary Hardin-Baylor 45, Belhaven 7
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St. Thomas 84, at Hamline 0
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at St. John's 41, Gustavus Adolphus 17
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at Illinois Wesleyan 13, Carthage 10
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at Concordia-Moorhead 42, Augsburg 20
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Berry 37, at Millsaps 22
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UW-Platteville 34, at UW-Eau Claire 14
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UW-Oshkosh 42, at UW-La Crosse 28
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at North Central (Ill.) 54, Augustana 2
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at Brockport 45, Hartwick 0
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at Linfield 12, George Fox 6
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Case Western Reserve 45, at Geneva 7
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