SPRINGFIELD, Ohio - The 15th-ranked Frostburg football team posted yet another impressive defensive effort and the offense ran for a season-high 385 yards as the Bobcats advanced to the second round of the NCAA Playoffs with a dominating 35-7 win over ninth-ranked Wittenberg, Saturday.
Bobcat head coach DeLane Fitzgerald preaches taking things one game at a time and his squad showed it was up to the challenge against NCAA Division III's second winningest football program of all-time.
Frostburg's defense limited one of the nation's most potent offenses to just 251 yards, including just 60 rushing yards. The Bobcats also forced three turnovers and held the Tigers on fourth down three times in the fourth quarter all while handing Wittenberg its first loss of the season (10-1).
Meanwhile, the Bobcats collected their second-straight 10-win season behind a relentless rushing attack that averaged nearly seven yards per run on a windy afternoon.
Junior Jamaal Morant put an exclamation point on the ballgame as he galloped for a 61-yard touchdown late in the fourth.
It was the first meeting between the two teams and the win propels Frostburg into a second round matchup against 10th-ranked Washington & Jefferson next Saturday. The NCAA has yet to announce a location or time for the matchup.
Morant finished the afternoon with 168 rushing yards on 26 carries and a pair of touchdowns. Sophomore Gavin Lavat added 96 yards on 16 carries and senior Dante Chinnery faked a punt midway through the fourth and raced 93 yards for a touchdown.
Wittenberg entered the matchup as the nation's 22nd best offense as it averaged 434.6 yards and 40.0 points per game. Frostburg surrendered just one touchdown on a 73-yard scoring drive as the Tigers pulled to within 21-7 early in the third.
Lavat put Frostburg on the board in the second quarter with a one-yard scoring run for a 7-0 lead at 9:20. On their ensuing possession, Bobcat junior Connor Cox connected with junior Sergio Andino for a 17-yard score and a 14-0 cushion.
Frostburg carried the edge into halftime and the Bobcats opened the third quarter with another touchdown for a 21-0 lead.
On the first play of the third, senior Aaron Gibson stepped in front of a Jake Kennedy pass and returned it to the Wittenberg 17. Morant scored two plays later from two yards out.
The Tiger's answered on their next possession when Liam Duncan hauled in a two-yard scoring pass with 10:57 to play.
The score remained 21-7 until Chinnery's fake punt midway through the fourth.
Despite the wind, Cox threw for 116 yards on 11-of-19 completions. His scoring strike to Andino in the second was the seventh-straight game with a TD reception for the junior receiver.
The win marked the sixth-straight victory for Frostburg on the season and is the 10th-consecutive win away from Bobcat Stadium. The win is also just the second in program history in the NCAA Playoffs as Frostburg downed Wilkes, 26-25 in the first round in 1993.
The Bobcat victory snapped a 15-game home winning streak for Wittenberg and the 35 points for the Bobcats are the most allowed by the Tigers since last year's NCAA loss to Wisconsin-Whitewater. The Bobcat defense held the hosts to just seven points, their fewest points scored in a game since 2008.
Twenty-two different Bobcat players notched a tackle on the afternoon. Junior Josh Scales and sophomore Graylin Walker led the way with four each. Senior All-American Niles Scott posted three tackles, one TFL, with a forced and recovered fumble.
Kennedy led the Tiger offense with 179 yards passing on 15-of-34 completions with two interceptions.
A preview of Frostburg's second-round matchup against the Presidents will be available Sunday afternoon.