NAPERVILLE, Ill. – Fourth-ranked North Central College scored on five first-half possessions and it returned a blocked punt for a touchdown to build an insurmountable lead as Albion College was bounced from the NCAA Division III Playoffs with a 63-7 loss.
Albion, champions of the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association for a league-best 35thtime, ends its season with an 8-3 record.
North Central moved the ball to the Albion 3-yard line on its first possession, came away empty on its first possession. Lucus Luchonok stopped a quarterback run on third down and the Cardinals' fourth down pass was incomplete.
Albion took over on downs and moved the ball into North Central territory as quarterback Dominic Bona hooked up with Cody Crawford for a 29-yard gain and Darrin Williams rushed for 16 yards. Albion's march was stopped when Bona's third-down screen pass was tipped and intercepted.
North Central needed five plays to cover the 50-yard distance for its first score of the day. Spencer Stanek hooked up with Peter Sorenson on a 6-yard touchdown pass.
North Central scored on its next possession to extend the lead to 14-0. The Cardinals marched 83 yard in seven plays. Ryan Kent scored the touchdown on a 1-yard run.
Stanek threw three touchdown passes and Jason Callahan returned a blocked punt 29 yards in the second quarter as North Central held a 42-0 halftime lead.
The Cardinals scored twice in the third quarter – on an interception return and a 2-yard run – and they tacked on an 8-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.
Albion scored with 2:34 to play when Bona ran into the end zone form two yards out.
"We started well, but the turnovers and the blocked punt – we did too many things to hurt ourselves," Albion Head Coach Craig Rundle said.