Three weeks of the 2017 season are in the books and if things continue as they did this week, we’re going to need bigger books.
The top teams in the country made strong statements about the their viability to be a top team and several others pulled surprising wins over the weekend. Memphis over UCLA, Stanford falling again, a Big Ten team dominating the mighty SEC on the road, chances are you didn’t see those coming and we’re pretty sure you didn’t see any of the craziness that occurred “Elsewhere in College Football”…
Biggest Blowout of the Week
There was no shortage of lopsided wins this week. Even Rutgers got into the act with an impressive 65-0 shutout of Morgan State who played more like a bunch of traders from Morgan Stanley, but 65-point wins weren’t enough to claim this prize in week 3. Neither was 66 as Mt. Union rolled over Marietta 69-3.
The margin of victory needed to be in the seventies to take top spot in this category this weekend and Albion sealed the deal with a 79-7 win over Concordia (WI). The 79 points are the second-highest total in D-III this season as only St. John’s with 98 in week one scored more. The Britons of Albion racked up 749 yards of total offense in their win over Concordia. The 749 yards are the most in D-III so far this season.
The Britons scored early and often capitalizing on their first 6 possessions and 7 of 8 possessions in the first half to lead 45-0 at the break. The second half, to quote Herman’s Hermits, was the same as the first as Albion got a 72-yard pick six early in the third and two more scores including a 5-yard TD run from Patrick Czarnec late in the third and a 24-yard TD run by Doug Freeman on the 4th play of the 4th quarter and it was 66-0 with 14:06 left to play. Concordia did score two minutes later but Albion tallied again and added the final nail in the coffin on Kole Hollenbeck’s 17-yard run late in the game. Albion ran 78 plays and had 40 first downs, which is easy to do when you average 9.4 yards per play as the Britons did. Both teams are 1-2 on the season.
Fewest Points by a Winning Team
Two teams scored 7 points and came away winners this past weekend. The first was Concord who defeated UVA-Wise 7-0 in a Mountain East Conference battle last Thursday night. UVA-Wise dominated the stat sheet outgaining Concord 285 yards to 131 and they ran 33 more plays but one play made the difference and it was Jeremiah Johnson picking off Brycen Lee and returning it 36 yards for a touchdown with just over 6 minutes to play. The Concord defense held Wise two more times and then ran out the clock for the win.
Like Concord, the Quincy University Hawks were outplayed by their opponent the Blue Tigers of Lincoln but got the one play that turned the game in their favor to post a 7-3 victory on Saturday. Lincoln held Quincy to just 56 yards passing but 48 of that came on an Andrew Rund to Kody Wood touchdown midway through the third quarter. Defense ruled that day in this one as the two teams combined for just 27 first downs and they punted 18 times.
Most Points by a Losing Team
For some teams scoring wasn’t the issue. Winning was. The Wasps of Emory and Henry hosted Maryville Saturday afternoon and put up 46 points but gave up 56. Morrisville State followed the same script scoring a bunch of points at home but giving up too many as they fell to Buffalo 53-48 and even though Tulsa scored 51 points they lost by 3 to Toledo, but nobody did less with more—and maybe nobody ever has—than the Tigers of Dakota Wesleyan University. The Tigers, ranked 22nd in the latest NAIA poll travelled to Crete, Nebraska to take on the 7th ranked Tigers of Doane. It was Tigers versus Tigers and when the dust had settled the Tigers of Dakota Wesleyan had put up 67 points on one of the best teams in NAIA. The only problem was they gave up 68. Yep, the final in this one was 68-67. In regulation. No multiple overtime periods in this game. It was sixty minutes of action. Literally. The first score happened 14 seconds after it started when Tariq Mustafaa returned Dillon Turner’s first pass attempt 31 yards for a TD and the last score, a 10-yard run by Garre Sonderup, came with 37 seconds left.
It may be a while before we see the numbers like these two Tigers compiled Saturday. Total offense? How about 1,395 yards…the two teams ran 183 plays…there were 66 first downs…they went a combined 17 of 32 on third down and were a perfect 15 of 15 in the red zone…the 1,200 fans at Papik Field saw 23 kickoffs and 413 yards of kick returns and here’s a real surprise, they only punted once.
Turner, the Dakota Wesleyan quarterback, finished the day 30 or 44 passing for 405 yards and 4 TD’s. He also rushed 12 times for another 122 yards and 2 more scores. I’ll do the math for you. 527 yards and 6 TD’s.
Dakota got a 21-yard field goal from Seth Paulson with 6:19 left in the game to go up 67-49 but the Doane Tigers rallied with three TD’s, the last of which was Sonderup’s game winner, to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. With the win, Doane improves to 3-0 and Dakota Wesleyan dropped to 2-2.
The Directional Game of the Week
More than 8,400 fans flocked to Walton Stadium in Warrensburg, Missouri to watch the Mules of Central Missouri take on the Griffons of Missouri Western in a D-II match-up. The Mules made sure the fans left happy as they won 66-44. Lots of offense in this game but what piqued my interest wasn’t the more than 1,000 the teams put up or the fact the 66 points were the most by the Mules in 8 years or even that Mule QB Brook Bolles only completed 12 of 26 attempts but 4 went for TD’s, it was the not-so-good stuff from the box score. Stuff like 11 turnovers—five interceptions and six fumbles–and 24 penalties that merits a mention in this category. The Mules had six turnovers. How often does a team win with six turnovers and win by 22 points? Exactly.
And Finally an Updated Wolverine Watch
By dropping a 42-10 decision to Case Western Saturday night, the Wolverines of Grove City College extended its’ losing streak to 33 games. Senior running back Jacob Burke led the Spartans with 4 rushing TD’s and the CWRU defense held Grove City to just 3.7 yards per play and just 238 yards of total offense in a Presidents Athletic Conference game. The win improves the Spartans to 2-0 on the season. Grove City hosts St. Vincent on Saturday. St. Vincent has won three straight games over the Wolverines but Grove City did win the 2013 match-up 36-26. Will the nation’s longest losing streak come to an end next week? We’re guessing not, but you’ll find all the details from the game the next time we explore what happens, “Elsewhere in College Football”.