November 27, 2010

North Central Advances to Quarterfinals with Win over Ohio Northern

More news about: North Central (Ill.)

The North Central College football team is preparing for a December contest for the first time in its history after scoring a second-round win in the NCAA Division III Playoffs on Saturday. The Cardinals shook off a sluggish first quarter and worked over the Ohio Northern University Polar Bears, 28-9, at Benedetti-Wehrli Stadium.

North Central (12-0) had issues getting untracked in the early going, managing just 10 yards of total offense in the first period while incurring four penalties. The first of those penalties, a subsitution infraction, prevented the Cardinals' defense from forcing a three-and-out and kept Ohio Northern's offense on the field on the visitors' first possession.

The Polar Bears wound up advancing deep into North Central territory and setting up a first-and-goal from the Cardinals' nine-yard line. The hosts stifled two rushing attempts and forced an incomplete pass to force ONU to send on kicker Blair Ellenberger for a 22-yard field goal attempt. The kick split the uprights, giving the guests an early 3-0 lead.

Ohio Northern (10-2) threatened to score again midway through the second period, advancing to the Cardinals' 14 before a tackle for loss by Peter Bulandr, a quarterback sack by Valente Garza and a Polar Bear holding penalty backed the visitors out of field goal range. ONU lined up to punt, but the kick was blocked by Kyle Haste, giving the Cardinals possession at their own 44-yard line.

Nick Kukuc burst through the middle of the Ohio Northern defense on the next play from scrimmage to get the Cardinals into their opponents' half of the field for the first time, and quarterback Spencer Stanek capped off a five-play, 56-yard drive by calling his own number for a five-yard touchdown run, giving North Central a 7-0 edge with 2:48 left in the first half.

The Polar Bears punted on their final first-half possession, giving North Central the ball on its own 25 with 1:51 on the clock. The Cardinals faced a third down-and-one from their own 49 with less than a minute to go when Kukuc slithered through the ONU line and broke  into the open field, narrowly avoiding getting run out of bounds and scoring on a 51-yard run to send the Cardinals into halftime with a 14-3 advantage.

Another big run opened the door for North Central's first score of the second half, as Jordan Tassio broke free for a 48-yard run that set up a first-and-goal at the Polar Bears' seven-yard line. On second down at the two-yard line, tight end Jeff Grunwald lined up in the backfield and took a handoff to score on his first career rushing attempt.

The Cardinals' final scoring drive started at the Ohio Northern 38 following an 18-yard punt return by Joe Antonacci. A series of five running plays moved North Central to the three-yard line, and Kukuc scored for the second time with 5:19 to play, giving the home team a 28-3 lead.

The Polar Bears found the end zone on the game's final drive, as quarterback Kyle Simmons connected with Jay Priest for an 18-yard touchdown pass as time expired.

The Cardinals ran the ball on 47 of their 54 plays, gaining 285 of their 325 total yards on the ground. Kukuc ran 14 times a career-high 137 yards, while Tassio carried the ball 17 times for 111 yards and Stanke gained 29 yards on 11 carries while completing four of seven passes for 40 yards.

North Central's defense was paced by Matt Wenger's 18 total tackles, which tied a career best. Garza finished with two quarterback sacks and Josh McLeod tied a single-season school record with his eighth interception.

Cardinal receiver Steve Hlavac caught a 10-yard pass to push his career yardage total to 2,444, eclipsing the Cardinals' career record which had been held by Tyke Spencer '06. Kicker Nick Dace connected on four extra-point kicks to establish a new North Central single-season record (48), while the Cardinals also set team single-season records for total offensive yards (5,151) and quarterback sacks (45).

North Central will host next Saturday's North Region Championship game against the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, which defeated Trine University (Ind.), 45-31, in its second-round game. Kickoff is scheduled for 12:00 noon.

comments powered by Disqus
Sep. 3: All times Eastern
7:00 PM
Anna Maria at Coast Guard
7:00 PM
Franklin and Marshall at Lebanon Valley
7:00 PM
Ursinus at Millersville
7:30 PM
Manchester at Trine
Live Stats
8:00 PM
Belhaven at Millsaps
8:00 PM
Bethel at UW-Stout
Sep. 4: All times Eastern
7:00 PM
Salisbury at Albright
Live Stats
7:00 PM
Gettysburg at Bridgewater (Va.)
7:00 PM
St. Lawrence at Morrisville State
7:00 PM
MIT at WPI
Live Stats Video
7:00 PM
Westfield State at Nichols
7:00 PM
Becker at Fitchburg State
Live Stats Video
7:00 PM
Stevenson at N.C. Wesleyan
7:00 PM
Mount Ida at Mass-Dartmouth
Live Stats Video
7:00 PM
Curry at Bridgewater State
Live Stats
7:00 PM
Wilkes at Muhlenberg
7:00 PM
Averett at Washington and Lee
Live Stats
8:30 PM
Luther at UW-La Crosse
Sep. 5: All times Eastern
TBA
Buffalo State at Otterbein
TBA
Buena Vista at UW-Platteville
12:00 PM
Hobart at Dickinson
12:00 PM
Norwich at RPI
12:00 PM
Heidelberg at Cortland State
12:00 PM
Maine Maritime at SUNY-Maritime
12:00 PM
St. John Fisher at Thomas More
Live Stats
12:00 PM
Alfred at Husson
Live Stats Video
12:00 PM
Framingham State at Endicott
Live Stats
12:00 PM
TCNJ at Christopher Newport
12:00 PM
Worcester State at Salve Regina
Live Stats
12:00 PM
Grove City at Juniata
12:00 PM
Westminster (Mo.) at Southwestern Assemblies
1:00 PM
Delaware Valley at Montclair State
1:00 PM
Lycoming at Susquehanna
1:00 PM
William Paterson at Alfred State
1:00 PM
Alma at Finlandia
1:00 PM
Springfield at Western New England
1:00 PM
Ferrum at Emory and Henry
1:00 PM
Earlham at Olivet
Live Stats
1:00 PM
Centre at Hanover
1:00 PM
Wabash at Hampden-Sydney
Video Audio Audio
1:00 PM
Washington and Jefferson at Wooster
Live Stats
1:00 PM
Rowan at Widener
1:00 PM
Ithaca at Union
1:00 PM
Brockport State at Oberlin
1:00 PM
John Carroll at St. Vincent
1:00 PM
Johns Hopkins at Randolph-Macon
1:00 PM
Castleton State at Plymouth State
1:00 PM
Methodist at Apprentice
1:00 PM
Waynesburg at Muskingum
Live Stats
1:00 PM
Case Western Reserve at Chicago
Live Stats Video
1:00 PM
Carnegie Mellon at Washington U.
Live Stats Video
1:30 PM
Wittenberg at Capital
1:30 PM
Illinois Wesleyan at Franklin
Live Stats
1:30 PM
Berry at Maryville (Tenn.)
Live Stats
1:30 PM
Monmouth at Hope
Live Stats Audio
1:30 PM
Bethany at Mount Union
Live Stats
1:30 PM
Bluffton at Wilmington
2:00 PM
Kenyon at Sewanee
2:00 PM
Beloit at Concordia-Chicago
2:00 PM
Rockford at Lawrence
2:00 PM
Wisconsin Lutheran at Lake Forest
2:00 PM
Carthage at St. Norbert
2:00 PM
Wheaton (Ill.) at Coe
2:00 PM
Jamestown at Concordia-Moorhead
2:00 PM
Macalester at Carleton
2:00 PM
Minnesota-Morris at Hamline
2:00 PM
Northwestern (Minn.) at St. Olaf
2:00 PM
Dubuque at St. John's
2:00 PM
Illinois College at Aurora
2:00 PM
North Park at Concordia (Wis.)
Live Stats
2:00 PM
UW-River Falls at Simpson
2:00 PM
Hendrix at Austin
2:00 PM
Southwestern at Hardin-Simmons
2:00 PM
Knox at Eureka
2:00 PM
Maranatha Baptist at Martin Luther
2:00 PM
St. Scholastica at Ripon
2:00 PM
Louisiana College at Huntingdon
2:00 PM
Loras at Elmhurst
3:00 PM
Pacific at College of Idaho
4:00 PM
George Fox at La Verne
4:00 PM
Puget Sound at Claremont-Mudd-Scripps
Live Stats
4:30 PM
Misericordia at Utica
Live Stats Video Audio
5:00 PM
Western Connecticut at Hartwick
5:00 PM
Defiance at Adrian
6:00 PM
Moravian at King's
6:00 PM
Birmingham-Southern at LaGrange
6:00 PM
UW-Stevens Point at Albion
6:00 PM
Redemption Christian College at Southern Virginia
Live Stats
7:00 PM
Guilford at Greensboro
Live Stats
7:00 PM
Allegheny at Thiel
7:00 PM
Gallaudet at Shenandoah
Live Stats Live Stats Video Audio
7:00 PM
Kalamazoo at Rose-Hulman
Live Stats Video
7:00 PM
Westminster (Pa.) at Hiram
7:00 PM
Marietta at Denison
7:00 PM
Anderson at Taylor (Ind.)
7:00 PM
Mary Hardin-Baylor at Ohio Wesleyan
7:00 PM
Frostburg State at Geneva
7:00 PM
UW-Oshkosh at Robert Morris University (Ill.)
7:00 PM
Greenville at Millikin
7:00 PM
Trinity (Texas) at Howard Payne
7:00 PM
Texas Lutheran at Sul Ross State
7:00 PM
Mount St. Joseph at Augustana
7:10 PM
St. Thomas at UW-Eau Claire
7:30 PM
Catholic at McDaniel
7:30 PM
Benedictine at Central
8:00 PM
McMurry at East Texas Baptist
8:00 PM
Lakeland at Carroll
8:00 PM
Augsburg at Wartburg
8:00 PM
Gustavus Adolphus at Crown
8:00 PM
Iowa Wesleyan at Cornell
Maintenance in progress.