/seasons/2018/contrib/20181103jqcfvl

Knights Clinch UMAC Title with 40-6 Win

More news about: Martin Luther

NEW ULM, Minn. - The Martin Luther College football team clinched at least a share of the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference championship with a 40-6 win over MacMurray College on Saturday.

The two teams entered the day tied atop the conference standings with matching 6-0 records in league play. With a win, the Knights could also clinch the UMAC's automatic qualifier for the NCAA Division III Footall Championship.

Both defenses stood tall in a scoreless first quarter, but the Knights ran off 26 unanswered points in the second quarter to take a 26-0 halftime lead.

MacMurray geared up against the run early, but quarterback Zach Bloomquist and receiver Josh Arndt made them pay through the air. Arndt caught touchdown passes of 30 and 63 yards, respectively, and added another 56-yard reception to set up anAustin DeNoyer touchdown in the second quarter. Joshuah Kren added the final score of the first half following a Jared Witkowiak interception that set the MLC offense up with great field position inside MacMurray territory.

While the Bloomquist-to-Arndt connection got the MLC offense going in the second quarter, DeNoyer and the Knights' offensive line put the game away in the third. DeNoyer was held to 29 yards on 11 carries in the first half, but exploded for 86 yards on 12 attempts in the third quarter. Bloomquist capped a 12-play, 68-yard drive with a three-yard touchdown run to answer the Highlanders' lone score of the day, and DeNoyer scored from seven yards out late in the third quarter to put the game to bed. 

The Knights finished the game with 450 total yards (243 rush, 207 pass) against the league-leading MacMurray defense that came into the day allowing opponents only 302 total yards and 16.6 points per game.

Bloomquist completed nine of his 10 attempts through the air for 192 yards and two scores. Arndt finished the day with four receptions for 155 yards, and his two scores gave him the MLC record for career touchdown receptions with 27. DeNoyer led the Knights on the ground with 126 yards on 24 carries. 

The MLC defense forced four turnovers on the day and held the Highlanders under 200 total yards until the score was 40-6 late in the third quarter. Witkowiak, Joe Herrewig and Ian Paulsen each intercepted a pass, while Keith Brassow recorded 2.5 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks. Abel Bain was active throughout the game on the interior with a team-high 12 tackles. 

The UMAC title is the program's first since the 2009 season, when the Knights won the UMAC North Division. This is the first time the Knights have won the league championship while the conference carries the automatic qualifier. 

The Knights improved to 8-1 on the season and 7-0 in UMAC play with the win. The eight wins set a new MLC football record for most in the history of the program. MacMurray fell to 6-2 overall and 6-1 in league play in defeat. 

MLC will close the regular season on Saturday, November 10, when it hosts Crown College. 

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D3football.com Top 25, preseason

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1 Mary Hardin-Baylor (24) 15-0 624
2 Mount Union (1) 14-1 599
3 St. John's 12-1 566
4 UW-Whitewater 12-1 555
5 North Central (Ill.) 10-2 482
6 Johns Hopkins 12-2 457
7 St. Thomas 8-2 414
8 Muhlenberg 11-2 405
9 Hardin-Simmons 9-2 397
10 Bethel 11-2 396  
11 Whitworth 10-1 336  
12 Linfield 7-2 291  
13 Brockport 11-1 230  
14 Delaware Valley 9-2 223  
15 Illinois Wesleyan 8-2 197  
16 Berry 10-2 190  
17 John Carroll 9-2 168  
18 Wittenberg 9-1 162  
19 RPI 10-2 152  
20 Centre 10-2 137  
21 Washington and Jefferson 9-2 132  
22 Wheaton (Ill.) 8-2 109  
23 Wabash 9-1 105  
24 Randolph-Macon 9-3 91  
25 St. Norbert 10-2 83

Others receiving votes: Trine 73; UW-La Crosse 71; Wartburg 61; Wesley 59; Washington U. 58; Montclair State 49; Alfred 48; Ithaca 42; UW-Oshkosh 40; Central 29; Case Western Reserve 25; Baldwin Wallace 20; Salisbury 15; Trinity (Texas) 10; Hope 10; Redlands 6; Marietta 3; Trinity (Conn.) 3, MIT 2.

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