|Anthony Ruiz and Leif Ericksen celebrate in the end zone in Whitworth's win.
Linfield athletics photo by Kelly Bird
Whitworth snapped an 11-game losing streak to Linfield, Wheaton retained the Little Brass Bell with authority, Wittenberg outlasted Denison and Muhlenberg won a battle of unbeatens in Saturday's Top 25 action.
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Whitworth scored 19 points in the third quarter and made them stand up as the Pirates improved to 3-0 with a 19-14 win vs. No. 11 Linfield. It's the Pirates' first win against the Wildcats since 2007, a streak that includes a 2015 playoff loss. Wyatt Smith threw for 258 yards and two touchdowns, one of them in the closing seconds, but the Wildcats (1-2) managed just 3 yards on 28 carries. Leif Ericksen got Whitworth on the board with a 22-yard touchdown run early in the third quarter, and threw a TD pass to Garrett McKay to give the Pirates the lead less than four minutes later. Whitworth had one more long drive to extend the lead to 19-7, which is where it stayed until Linfield scored with 12 seconds left. The Pirates covered the onside kick and ran out the clock.
Curtis McWilliams accounted for three touchdowns and Jacob Cretin ran for 144 yards and a touchdown as No. 21 Wheaton held tight to the Little Brass Bell, defeating No. 5 North Central 52-30. Broc Rutter had a great night at quarterback for the Cardinals, who lost for the first time this season, but North Central had three punts and an interception on its first four possessions of the second half, allowing the Thunder to expand on a 31-23 halftime lead.
Jake Kennedy threw for seven touchdowns, but it was a run that doesn't even appear on the stat line which was the difference. The Wittenberg quarterback dove for the pylon in the fourth overtime to complete a two-point conversion and lift the No. 14 Tigers past Denison 68-66. The Big Red (2-2, 2-1 NCAC) had rallied from a 35-10 deficit to even get to overtime, and went toe-to-toe with the defending conference champ for three overtime periods. Canaan Gebele threw for 262 yards and two touchdowns, while running for 119 yards and five scores in defeat. Alex Minton got a game-high 197 yards and a touchdown for Denison.
No. 10 UW-Whitewater tallied 20 fourth-quarter points and pitched a second-half shutout in a 30-7 triumph over No. 23 UW-La Crosse in a WIAC contest. The Warhawks (4-0, 1-0 WIAC) outgained the Eagles 418-158 in total yards, taking the lead for good on a 28-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback Cole Wilber to junior wide receiver Nathaniel Osterloo midway through the third quarter.
Muhlenberg ripped off a 21-0 run across the halftime break and handed Franklin & Marshall its first loss of the season by a 42-21 score. The Mules (4-0, 4-0 Centennial) started a 21-0 run with a touchdown with 57 seconds left in the first quarter for a 14-7 lead. Muhlenberg added on seven more before the break to make it 21-7 at halftime and tacked on another touchdown on their first possession after halftime for a 28-7 lead at 12:18 in the third quarter. Michael Hnatkowsky completed 17 of 28 passes for 271 yards and four touchdowns in the win.
No. 22 Delaware Valley won its 15th consecutive MAC game, coming back from a 17-0 first-quarter deficit to win 31-20 at Stevenson. The Mustangs capitalized on a Dashawn Darden fumble to take an early lead and mishandled a kickoff later to fall down by 17. But Stevenson scored just three points the rest of the way. DelVal racked up 278 yards of total offense while the defense limited the Mustangs to 238 yards and forced four turnovers.
UW-Oshkosh improved its record to 3-1 with a conference-opening 48-14 win over UW-River Falls. The 12th-ranked Titans outscored the Falcons 27-0 in the second half. UW-Oshkosh intercepted five passes, including two by Cole Yoder. Titan Kyle Radavich had five touchdown passes. No. 3 St. Thomas made quick work of Concordia-Moorhead, rolling out to a 36-0 halftime lead en route to a 46-7 win. Jacques Perra went 17-for-27 for 204 yards and a touchdown, while the Tommies defense registered seven tackles for loss and forced two fumbles. St. John's had similar success in a 52-0 win vs. Augsburg. Johnnies quarterbacks combined for 25 completions in 29 attempts.
Mary Hardin-Baylor finally got to play in front of its home fans, and in front of coach Pete Fredenburg, and it certainly made the most of it. The Cru, ranked No. 2 overall, rolled over Southwestern 77-7. UMHB did this on just 58 offensive plays, and the Cru defense forced eight turnovers. The Pirates threw three interceptions and fumbled five times. No. 1 Mount Union rolled out to a 35-0 lead en route to a 56-14 win vs. Otterbein, while No. 15 John Carroll scored the first 44 points in a 44-7 win at Muskingum.