Football: November 26
Central Washington Gets Date with Grand Valley State for Northwest Region Crown
Central Washington 20, Nebraska-Omaha 17 - Central Washington University scored two touchdowns in the final 2:49 to comeback and upset Nebraska-Omaha in the NCAA Division II Football Championship Second Round, 20-17, in Omaha, Neb., on Saturday afternoon. Nebraska-Omaha got on the scoreboard early with a 10-yard run by Nate Wurth that put the Mavericks up 7-0 at 7:15 to go in the first quarter.
On Central Washington's next possession, RB Johnny Lopez fumbled at his own 32-yard line and UNO's Jacob Skow recovered. The Wildcat defense held its ground as the Mavericks were forced to a kick a field goal - a 47-yard try by Greg Zuerlein that sailed wide left.
QB Mike Reilly then converted on two consecutive pass plays - a 28-yard completion to Johnny Spevak and a 15-yard strike to Jared Bronson - that set up a 39-yard field goal attempt by Garrett Rolsma which was eventually blocked.
Central Washington's defense forced another three-and-out which led to a 24-yard pass from Reilly to Chris Rohrbach early in the second quarter.
Two punts by both teams and an interception by Wildcat Brandon Kennedy carried a 7-7 tie into the halftime break.
Nebraska-Omaha took a 14-7 lead at 3:19 in the third quarter on a 3-yard quarterback keeper by Zach Miller.
Each team traded possessions several times before a Maverick field goal late in the fourth quarter put Nebraska-Omaha up 17-7.
Brandon Stout then took the ensuing kickoff a school-record 100 yards for the Wildcat score with 2:49 left in the contest to come within three points at 17-14.
Jerome Williams intercepted a Miller pass on the next possession allowing the go-ahead Wildcat touchdown with 1:36 seconds left - an 18-yard strike from Reilly to Spevak. Another Williams interception with 40 seconds remaining in the game sealed the upset victory for the Wildcats.
Central Washington outgained Nebraska-Omaha (267-257) while most of the Wildcats' yards came through the air. Reilly finished the game on 19-of-28 and 224 yards passing with the two aforementioned touchdowns. Spevak had eight catches for 95 yards.
UNO's Zach Miller went 11-for-22 with 108 yards and three interceptions. The Mavericks ran for 149 yards on the ground with the help of Wurth who gained 89 yards on 17 carries.
Grand Valley State 21, North Dakota 14 - UND's storied run at the Division II level, one that spanned more than a century of football, came to an end Saturday afternoon with a 21-14 NCAA second round playoff loss at Grand Valley State.
It did not come without a fight from the seventh-ranked Sioux, who were hit hard by injuries to key players, both prior to and during the game.
The Lakers built a 14-0 halftime lead while limiting UND's high powered offense to just 83 yards and 5 first downs in the first half.
Then, in the third quarter, UND P Brent Halfmann was unable to corral a low snap and had his punt attempt blocked, giving the Lakers the ball at the Sioux 22-yard line. One player later, GVSU quarterback Brad Iciek lobbed a pass over the middle to Jonn Mathews and the junior tight end made a diving catch just inside the Sioux goal line to push the lead to 21-0.
But then the Sioux began to rally against long odds for the second straight year at Lubbers Stadium.
After a poor Grand Valley punt gave UND the ball at the Laker 39-yard line, the Sioux began benefitting from some breaks. On the first play of the drive, Jake Landry, playing in relief of injured starter Danny Freund, fired a rocket over the middle that bounced off of the hands of Laker free safety Jacob McGuckin at his own 15-yard line. The ball ricocheted in the air behind McGuckin, were UND's Weston Dressler calmly hauled it in at the 10 and raced the rest of the way to the end zone.
K Brandon Hellevang had his extra point attempt blocked - his first miss in 106 attempts - but the Sioux were on the board at 21-6 with 7:27 left in the third quarter.
Then it was UND's defense to make a big play.
With Grand Valley State going for it on 4th-and-1 from the Sioux 41, LB Bobby Stroup burst through the line and stopped Lakers' running back Blake Smolen for a loss of two, turning the ball over to the Sioux offense at their own 43 late in the quarter.
Four players later RB Josh Murray found the end zone from three yards out, and then added a two-point conversion to cut the deficit to 21-14 with 1:08 left in the third quarter.
But that same 21-14 count would still be on the stadium clock 15 minutes later, despite a handful opportunities for the Sioux to tie the game.