Full recaps of the first-round action in the Whitewater bracket, plus previews and predictions for the second round games, after the jump. For team capsules, see the first round precap.
1 Wisconsin-Whitewater 59, 8 Albion 0
at Perkins Stadium, Whitewater WI; attendance 1211
Whitewater never even gave Albion a chance in this one. Before the first quarter was half over, Albion had committed three turnovers and Levell Coppage had already scored three touchdowns for the Warhawks.
Noah Timm picked off Albion’s Spencer Krauss on the second play from scrimmage, returning the ball 27 yards to the Albion 11. Matt Blanchard did the only sensible thing; he kept handing the ball to Coppage. The Britons actually stiffened, and Whitewater was forced to go for it on 4th and inches, but Coppage barrelled into the end zone anyway. After the kickoff, Albion handed off twice to Clinton Orr for a combined loss of a yard, then Krauss took to the air again; the ball was picked off behind the line of scrimmage, and Whitewater had possession at the Albion 13. Blanchard completed a pass to Luke Menzel at the 2, then Coppage ran it in again. The first play from scrimmage after the next kickoff? Orr was trapped in the backfield for a loss of five and fumbled. Whitewater ball on the 15. Two Coppage carries later, and it was 21-0; Whitewater had only had to travel 39 yards in total.
Albion actually managed to record a first down on the next drive, and advanced to their own 45 before being forced to punt. The Warhawks then drove to the brink of the red zone before settling for a field goal. On the next possession, the Britons managed to get into Whitewater territory before stalling out at the 44. Sage Alward dropped back to punt, but Jaren Borland blocked the kick, recovered it on the fly, and raced 56 yards for the score. It was 31-0 18 minutes into the game.
The teams then traded possessions a couple of times before Blanchard hit Tyler Huber for a 33-yard TD pass with half a minute to go in the half, making it 38-0. After Whitewater’s first possession of the second half, head coach Lance Leipold called off the dogs and put in the backups. On their first crack at the Briton defense, Lee Brekke connected with Zach Howard for a 25-yard score; on the following possession, Krauss was sacked by Ryan Cortez and fumbled. Borland recovered the loose ball and scored, this time from 54 yards out, and Whitewater was up 48-0. Midway through the final period, Bryon Stanford broke loose for a 57-yard touchdown run for the final score of the game.
Whitewater held Albion to 50 yards on the ground, and 216 total offense. Krauss was 15-30 for 133 yards and the two fateful picks. For the Warhawks, Blanchard was 12-18 for 168 and a TD before being lifted; Brekke was 2-2 for 38 and a score. Coppage had 20 carries for 80 yards and three scores, while Byron Stanford actually led UWW rushers with 114 yards on 9 carries, and a TD. Colton Sweitzer added 60 yards on 7 carries. And of course, one cannot forget Borland’s two return scores.
My pregame prediction: Whitewater 38, Albion 7. If not for the three turnovers in six plays in the first quarter, I might have been closer.
2 Salisbury 62, 7 Western New England 24
at Sea Gull Stadium, Salisbury MD; attendance 1183
Salisbury ran the ball down the Golden Bears’ throats, racking up 568 rushing yards in an absolute rout which was aided by four key fumbles.
Salisbury got things started with a five-play drive which ended with a 27-yard Ross Flanigan TD run. The second play of that drive saw Dan Griffin complete his only pass of the game, a 29-yard connection with Flanigan to cross midfield. Griffin would only throw the ball three more times all day, all incomplete. Western responded with a four and a half minute drive of their own which ended with a 29-yard Nick Fox-Edele field goal, and when Salisbury was held up on 4th-and-9 at their own 25 on the ensuing drive, and Nick Hamby’s punt only made it seven yards past the line of scrimmage, it looked like we might have a ball game.
Except Nicholas Silvester fumbled the ball, and Salisbury recovered on their own 35. That led to a march down field which ended with a 1-yard keeper by Griffin and a 14-3 lead for the Sea Gulls. The next three possessions, spanning the quarter break, all ended in punts. Just over three minutes into the second half, Salisbury took over at their own 21, and Griffin immediately broke free for a 79-yard rushing score. The Golden Bears responded, however, burning four minutes off the clock before Bryce Brown found Andrew Walz for a 17-yard TD catch, making the score 21-10 in Salisbury’s favor.
And that’s as close as it got. A short kickoff led to Salisbury starting on the Western 43; Randal Smedley scored from there on the first handoff. After the kickoff for a touchback, Brown was hit by Matt Leon at the line of scrimmage, and the ball came free; Matt McMurdo recovered and ran in for the score. Western drove again, and reached the Salisbury 6 yard line before JJ Jachym fumbled; Salisbury recovered at their own 2 and went to work. 1:13 later, Griffin scored again from two yards out, and the Sea Gulls took a 42-10 lead into the locker room.
Western went three-and-out to open the third, then after a first down Flanigan scampered in from 31 yards out. Again, Western drove deep into Salisbury territory before being forced to turn the ball over on downs when Brown was brought down behind the line on fourth-and-goal from the Salisbury 5. A few plays later, Salisbury actually committed a blunder; Griffin fumbled, and the Golden Bears recovered at their own 33. This drive ended with a 1-yard Bryce Brown keeper which narrowed the margin to 49-17, but it was now a minute into the fourth quarter and time was running out.
Three minutes later, Jonathan Briscoe scored on a five-yard run; on the ensuing possession Brown was sacked and fumbled again, which led to a Brendan Chavis 5-yard TD run. The kick failed on that one, leaving the score at 62-17. Brown hit Kareem Hines for a 42-yard TD on the next drive to close the scoring.
As noted, Griffin only attempted four passes the entire game, completing one for 29 yards. All of Salisbury’s damage was done on the ground, with Griffin himself leading the charge with 11 carries for 175 yards and three scores. Ross Flanigan added 110 and two TDs on 7 carries; Joe Benedetti had 98 yards on 6 touches, and Randal Smedley added 86 and a score on 7. For WNEC, Bryce Brown was 12-23 for 140 yards and 2 TDs with no interceptions, plus a rushing TD. John Krafick came in to mop up late and was 6-7 for 71 yards. Kevin Cook had 23 carries for 76 yards. Kareem Hines led Western receivers with five catches for 85 yards and a score.
My pregame prediction: Salisbury 43, Western New England 17. Amazingly, it would have been closer than my prediction if not for all the turnovers, and hats off to WNE for outscoring my projection even despite the problems. They very easily could have put 42 points on the board without impacting Salisbury’s score one iota.
3 Kean 34, 6 Christopher Newport 10
at Alumni Stadium, Union NJ; attendance 3943
Kean was actually outgained 338-261, but six turnovers helped the Cougars build and maintain a lead.
CNU’s Aaron Edwards attempted to go deep on the very first play from scrimmage, and it was costly as Jamahl Edwards intercepted the pass and returned it to the CNU 44. A few plays later, Chris DiMicco ran it in from 20 yards out to give Kean the lead. Newport drove, but at the Kean 29 on 4th and 10, they went for it but only picked up six. The Cougars again drove downfield, culminating in a 9-yard DiMicco TD run a half-minute before the end of the opening quarter.
The Captains then mounted another drive, this one ending successfully when Edwards plunged in from a yard out on a keeper to get back within a score. Five plays into the next drive, Tom D’Ambrisi was intercepted by Daniel Lewis, but CNU was forced into a three-and-out. Kean also had to punt, but on the next play Edwards was intercepted again by Brad Higgins. Three plays later, D’Ambrisi hit Billy Kvallheim for a 35-yard strike. On the very first play after the kickoff, Edwards was picked off yet again; Matt Clerk snagged the pass and ran it in from the 19, followed by a failed PAT. Trapped deep after an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty after the kickoff, Edwards was picked off for a fourth time; Chris Suozzo scored from 21 yards out on the return, and Kean went into the locker room leading 34-7.
Newport got a 29-yard field goal from Stephen Denuel on their first possession of the second half aftrer forcing Kean to punt; nobody would score again for the final 23 minutes of the contest.
Edwards was a horrific 15-29 fo 178 yards, no TDs and 5 interceptions, with the single rushing TD. Marcus Morrast led the Captains with 72 yards on 18 carries. For Kean, D’Ambrisi was an effective 17-27 for 166 yards and two scores, plus an INT; Chris DiMicco rushed for 73 yards on 19 carries and two TDs.
My pregame prediction: Kean 27, Christopher Newport 20. “Kean has won by forcing turnovers and making plays on special teams,” I noted; they just made more than I expected Saturday. I had also noted that Edwards had come in late in the season and been exceptional; he was anything but in this game.
at Faught Stadium, Franklin IN; attendance 2850
Franklin jumped out early, then hung on for dear life as Thomas More’s rally came up short.
After Franklin received the opening kickoff, the teams traded fruitless possessions twice; Franklin punted twice while Thomas More turned the ball over on a Luke Magness fumble, then punted their next time out. Franklin then took possession on their own 20, and Jonny West led a drive mostly through the air. A 23-yard pass to Kyle Linville nearly resulted in six, but Linville was knocked out at the one; two plays later Sam Otley bulled in for the score. On the ensuing drive, Magness again fumbled just before the quarter expired. Franklin drove again, culminating in a 30-yard Cole Richards field goal. Magness was intercepted by Tyler Huls on the next drive, but Franklin was unable to capitalize; they regained the ball after a trade of punts, and West again aired things out to move downfield. The drive ended with an Ethan Cook one-yard run to put the Grizzlies up 17-0, where things remained until the half.
The Saints were forced three-and-out to start the third, but so was Franklin. Kendall Owens returned that punt 84 yards for a score, and Thomas More was on the board. On the first play after the kickoff, West was intercepted, giving the Saints the ball at midfield; three and a half minutes later, Domonique Hayden scored on a 2-yard run to bring TMC within three. The teams then traded a series of punts until Franklin took possession to start the fourth quarter.
That drive ended when West connected with Logan Worley for a 16-yard TD pass. After another trade of possessions, Hayden scored from 6 yards out to make it 24-21, but the Saints offense never saw the field again as Franklin was able to successfully kill the remaining 6:13.
West was 26-44 for 228 yards, with a score and a pick. Corpe led all Franklin rushers with a mere 44 yards on 12 carries, and a TD; Kyle Linville was the Grizzlies’ leading receiver with 8 catches for 97 yards. Magness was 12-21 for 110 yards, no TDs and a pick, and Hayden had 55 yards on 14 carries.
My pregame prediction: Franklin 35, Thomas More 31. Overestimated the offense a little, but a clean pick. I had been concerned about Magness stepping in to direct the Saints’ offense; he wasn’t a disaster, but he also didn’t accomplish much.
3 Kean (10-1) at 2 Salisbury (10-1)
Sea Gull Stadium, Salisbury MD, 12pm
Video available via Empire8tv. Audio available via WICO. (Tricky: the listen link is on the top image of the middle panel.) Live Stats available via PrestoSports.
Series: Salisbury leads 9-4-1 (last: 2004, 44-0 Salisbury at Salisbury)
Salisbury 32, Kean 21. I’d be tempted to make that spread higher, mostly because the one thing Kean did really well against CNU they won’t be able to do against Salisbury, and that’s pick off a bunch of passes. (Mainly because Griffin’s not going to throw a bunch.) But it’s important to remember that Wesley beat Salisbury, and Kean beat Wesley.
4 Franklin (10-1) at 1 Wisconsin-Whitewater (11-0)
Perkins Stadium, Whitewater WI, 1pm ET
Video available via NMTV. Audio available via WKCH. Live Stats available via Sidearm.
Series: Whitewater leads 2-0 (both in the last 12 months, at Whitewater: last year’s playoffs, 52-21, and on 9/10 this year, 45-0)
Wisconsin-Whitewater 35, Franklin 17. The Golden Bears, fielding a sophomore-heavy lineup, have improved and grown since their early-season whipping at the hands of the Warhawks, but not nearly enough. This one won’t be very close, but it will be a lot closer than their previous meetings.