Football: #2 Mount Union Beats Case Western Reserve, 45-16; Raiders in NCAA Quarterfinals For 26th Straight Year

Photo by Dan Poel, OhioSI.com
Photo by Dan Poel, OhioSI.com

ALLIANCE, Ohio – No. 2 ranked Mount Union defeated Case Western Reserve 45-16 in the second round of the NCAA Division III Football Playoffs Saturday at Mount Union Stadium.

The Purple Raiders (12-0) advance to the national quarterfinals for the 26th straight year and take on No. 17 ranked Frostburg State (Md.) -- a 46-23 winner over No. 10 Washington & Jefferson (Pa.) -- next Saturday at noon at a site to be announced Sunday by the NCAA.

Mount Union quarterback D'Angelo Fulford (Miramar, Fla. / Miramar) threw four touchdown passes and ran for another as he completed 19-of-28 passes for 233 yards.

His top target was Braeden Friss (Avon / Avon) with a career best 11 catches for 80 yards while Jared Ruth (Indianapolis / Pike) and Justin Hill (Circleville / Circleville) each caught two touchdowns. Jawanza Evans-Morris (Coral Springs, Fla. / Taravella) had 110 yards on the ground as the Raider offense generated 452 yards.

The Mount Union defense pressured Case Western Reserve (11-1) all day with 5.0 sacks, 6.0 tackles for loss with three interceptions. Kollyn Crenshaw's (Solon / Solon) 27-yard interception return for a touchdown was the seventh the Raiders brought back for a score this year.

Quarterback Rob Cuda had 326 yards of total offense with 245 yards passing and 81 yards rushing with a touchdown pass to pace the Spartans. Justin Phan had 12 catches for 169 yards.

Case Western Reserve drove to the Mount Union 35-yard line before it turned it over on downs on the game's first possession. The Raiders answered with a nine-play drive of its own to take a 7-0 lead on a 20-yard TD pass from Fulford to Hill.

Mount Union's defense then got interceptions on the next two Case Western Reserve possessions from Crenshaw and Louis Berry (Pittsburgh, Pa. / Shady Side Academy) that the Raiders turned into seven points as the first pick went 27 yards back for a score from Crenshaw.

Fulford tossed his second score of the day midway through the second quarter to extend the lead to 21-0. On the ensuing drive, Case Western Reserve then had the first rushing touchdown against the Raiders on the season on a drive set up by a 60-yard pass that got the ball down to the Mount Union three-yard line. The extra point was no good and the score stood at 21-6.

Mount Union took the opening drive of the second half 47 yards before settling for a 25-yard Alex Louthan (Loganville, Ga. / Grayson) field goal to extend the lead to 24-6.

Both teams then exchanged fumbles before Case Western Reserve got the ball to the Mount Union 10-yard-line and got a 27-yard field goal from Quinn Saluan to take the score to 24-9.

The Raiders made it 31-9 when Fulford tossed his third touchdown pass of the day – a 34-yard catch and run to Ruth.

Cuda then engineered a seven-play, 78-yard drive and hit Luke DiFrancesco on a 24-yard touchdown pass to make the score 37-16 but Mount Union responded with a six-pay, 60-yard drive of its own as Fulford threw a 37-yard touchdown pass to Hill.

Mount Union finished the scoring as Fulford had a one-yard scoring run for the 45-16 final.