Salisbury, Cortland get past rivals; Wabash rolls; WNEU, Albion advance

Tom Lally and the Mount Union defense kept John Carroll bottled up in a 36-3 win.
Photo by Dan Poel, d3photography.com

Albion clinched the MIAA while playing a non-conference game.
Albion athletics file photo

Wabash rolled over its archrival on the way to the playoffs, while Salisbury had to rally and Cortland and Western New England had to hold on. St. Norbert won the Midwest Conference head-to-head, while Albion ended up winning the MIAA tiebreaker.

Those teams and more clinched the remaining automatic bids to the 2015 Division III playoffs on Saturday. The rest of the playoff contenders await Sunday's selection show, set to stream at 6 p.m. ET. We'll have a link to watch the NCAA.com video stream right here on D3football.com.

Meanwhile, if you want to know who we think will go to the playoffs, tune in for our Bracketology Special, where our mock committee will use the NCAA's selection process and numbers to decide who we think will go to the playoffs. It starts an hour after games end, at 11 p.m. ET.

For a long time this afternoon it looked as if we might have one at-large bid freed up to give out. But that was before Salisbury scored 21 fourth-quarter points to rally past archrival Frostburg State and win 28-27, clinching the New Jersey Athletic Conference's automatic bid and putting Wesley in contention for an at-large bid. Isaac Robinson, who had made a 50-yard field goal earlier in the game for Frostburg, attempted a 57-yarder at the final gun but it fell short.

Wabash won the Monon Bell game for the seventh consecutive season, leading 31-10 at halftime and cruising to a 45-17 win vs. DePauw. The win clinches the North Coast Athletic Conference title for the Little Giants, as well as giving them a 60-53-9 advantage in the series. Mason Zurek rolled to 288 yards and two touchdowns on the ground in the win.

Cortland clinched the Empire 8 automatic bid and won the Cortaca Jug for the sixth year in a row, defeating archrival Ithaca 11-8. Cortland scored the first 11 points of the game, including having an extra point blocked and picking up a safety on a bad punt snap, before Ithaca put together a drive to score with 4:36 remaining. The Bombers got the ball back, but Cortland got a sack on second down, held Ithaca short of the first-down marker on third and the Bombers' fourth-down pass sailed wide. Although four Cortaca Jug games are in the Top 25 in recorded Division III history for single-game attendance, this game drew 10,001, about 1700 short of making the list.

No. 1 Mount Union led just 10-0 at the half but put up 19 points in the third quarter to make it look easy in a 36-3 win vs. No. 15 John Carroll. The win knocks John Carroll out of playoff contention, for all intents and purposes, and into essentially third place in the Ohio Athletic Conference. JCU is 8-2, as is Ohio Northern, and Ohio Northern won the teams' head-to-head meeting. Justin Magazine ran for six touchdowns for the Polar Bears on Saturday in a 42-10 win vs. Otterbein.

Albright kept control of its own destiny and defeated Lebanon Valley 38-13 to clinch the MAC automatic bid, while Albion won the MIAA's bid to the playoffs when Olivet defeated Alma 47-29. That win preserved a possible at-large bid, as Olivet's strength of schedule is not likely strong enough to get them in the playoffs at 9-1.

St. Norbert picked off Monmouth quarterback Tanner Matlick three times and kept the Scots off the scoreboard until the fourth quarter as the Green Knights won 16-7 in the Midwest Conference title game. St. Norbert is 10-0 for the fifth time since 1999, when automatic bids were first implemented in Division III football.

Hendrix clinched its first Division III football playoff bid as the Warriors shut out Sewanee 19-0 and Centre defeated Berry 30-23. The Warriors are in just their third season of football and win the first-ever football automatic bid from the Southern Athletic Association.

Western New England intercepted a pass with 65 seconds left in the game, and the Golden Bears turned it into a touchdown three plays later as Tyler Ward ran for a 4-yard touchdown with nine seconds left to defeat Salve Regina 28-21 and win the New England Football Conference. Salve Regina had rallied from a 21-0 deficit to tie the game early in the fourth quarter but could not finish it off. Ward threw for 129 yards and a touchdown and ran for 92 yards and two more scores in the win.

Jordan Ratliffe ran for 217 yards and two touchdowns, including a 75-yard touchdown on the first play from scrimmage as UW-Whitewater made its final case with a 63-14 win vs. UW-Stout. St. John's scored four touchdowns in the first 21 minutes of the game and had little trouble with St. Olaf in a 49-7 win. Nick Martin threw sparingly at quarterback for the Johnnies but Sam Sura ran for 181 yards and four touchdowns in the victory. Both teams should be shoo-ins for one of the six at-large playoff spots.

Muhlenberg ended Moravian's run at playoff contention as the Mules defeated their archrival 28-14. The loss snapped a six-game winning streak for Moravian as the Greyhounds fell to 8-2. Guilford benefits from the Moravian loss to stay clearly No. 2 in the pecking order from the South Region for at-large bids, as the Quakers defeated Emory and Henry 41-30. Matt Pawlowski was 36-for-47 passing for 411 yards and four touchdowns, while Adam Smith caught 15 passes for 132 yards and two of those scores. Guilford's strength of schedule remains below .500, however.

St. John Fisher finished the regular season playing spoiler (and grabbing a share of the E8 crown) as the Cardinals defeated Alfred 23-9. Alfred's third loss eliminated the Saxons from at-large consideration. Wesley had an easy time of it vs. William Paterson in a 63-0 win, keeping the Wolverines near the top of the at-large pecking order.

UW-Platteville made its final case for an at-large bid, as the Pioneers rolled over UW-La Crosse 52-7. Tom Kelly was 22-for-25 passing for 284 yards and four touchdowns in the win. UW-La Crosse's tough season ends with losses to current No. 4 St. Thomas (51-7), No. 13 Mary Hardin-Baylor (43-10), No. 6 UW-Whitewater (30-12), No. 3 UW-Oshkosh (31-13) and No. 14 UW-Platteville (52-7). The Eagles finished the season 3-7, 0-5 vs. Top 15 teams.

Norwich will be heading into the playoffs on a down note, as the Cadets threw three interceptions and were sacked six times by in-state rival Castleton in a 31-13 loss. The Spartans improve to 7-3, but were 5-2 in the ECFC compared to Norwich's 6-4, 6-1 mark.

Dec. 14: All times Eastern
at Mary Hardin-Baylor 24, Mount Union 16
@ Woodforest Bank Stadium; Shenandoah, Texas
Box Score Recap Photos
Dec. 8: All times Eastern
at Mary Hardin-Baylor 31, UW-Whitewater 14
Box Score Recap Photos
at Mount Union 28, Johns Hopkins 20
Video Box Score Recap Photos
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