Mount Union edges Capital to advance to D-III semis

Updated: December 6, 2005, 12:40 PM ET
Associated Press

ALLIANCE, Ohio -- Mike Jorris passed for 315 yards and three touchdowns, including a 2-yard score to Anthony Antonucci with 3:41 to play, to lift Mount Union over Capital 34-31 in an NCAA Division III quarterfinal playoff game Saturday.

The Purple Raiders (12-1) will host Rowan (11-1) next Saturday in the semifinals. Rowan defeated Delaware Valley 27-21 on Saturday.

Jorris completed 23-of-32 passes, including touchdowns of 3 and 88 yards to Pierre Garcon, while freshman Nate Kmic rushed for 177 yards on 38 carries for Mount Union, which is seeking its eighth national championship and first since 2002.

In three playoff games, Kmic has run for 695 yards and eight touchdowns.

It was Purple Raiders' 19th consecutive win over the Crusaders (10-3) since 1987, but the second time they needed a fourth-quarter rally to defeat Capital this year. In an Ohio Athletic Conference game Oct. 1, Mount Union scored 21 points in a 2:13 span to win 42-24.

Lewis Howes caught 12 passes for a school-record 245 yards and three touchdowns for Capital. His 22-yard reception from Rocky Pentello with 7:05 left gave the Crusaders a 31-27 lead.

Robert McDavid returned the kickoff 45 yards for Mount Union and Jorris directed the Purple Raiders the final 46 yards in eight plays to win it.

Pentello went 18-for-28 for 312 yards and four touchdowns. He connected with Kive Kraft for an 11-yard score in the first quarter and with Howes for scoring strikes of 70, 21 and 22 yards.

With the scored tied 24-all, the Purple Raiders took advantage of two Capital mistakes late in the third quarter.

Pentello fumbled when sacked by Justen Stickley. Greg Brauer recovered for the Purple Raiders at their own 44. The Crusaders then were called for running into punter Andrew Gerber, giving Mount Union a key first down.

That led to Mike Zimmerman's 24-yard field goal 45 seconds into the fourth quarter that put Mount Union in front 27-24.

Kmic rushed seven times for 65 yards on Mount Union's first drive. His 38-yard run set up a 26-yard field goal by Zimmerman.

Five plays after Kyle Hausler recovered a fumble by Kmic at the Mount Union 28, Pentello found Kraft all alone in the end zone with an 11-yard pass for a 7-3 lead.

It was the first time Mount Union trailed in 22 quarters since a 21-14 loss to Ohio Northern on Oct. 22 that snapped the Purple Raiders' 110-game regular season winning streak.

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press