Football: #2 Mount Union Beats Bobcats to Reach NCAA Semifinals For 23rd Straight Year

Luke Poorman (photo by Dan Poel,
Luke Poorman (photo by Dan Poel,

ALLIANCE, Ohio – No. 2 ranked Mount Union advanced to the national semifinals for the 23rd straight season after a 70-37 win over No. 17 Frostburg State in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Division III Football Playoffs Saturday at Mount Union Stadium.

The Raiders (13-0) will play No. 3 ranked Wisconsin-Oshkosh next Saturday, Dec. 9 at a time and location to be announced Sunday by the NCAA.

Mount Union quarterback Luke Poorman (Orlando/University School) accounted for seven touchdowns -- six in the first half -- as he finished the game throwing for six and running for another going 12-of-16 for 355 yards while also running for 39 yards.

Justin Hill (Circleville/Circleville) caught three of those touchdown passes while and finished with 196 yards on six catches. Braeden Friss (Avon/Avon) also caught two scores.

The Mount Union defense held Frostburg State to 253 yards of offense with seven sacks and forced three fumbles. Linebacker Charlie Dear (Massillon/Jackson) had 7.0 tackles, a sack and forced a fumble and lineman Adam Mihoci (Murrysville, Pa./Franklin Regional) had two fumble recoveries.

Connor Cox threw four touchdowns on 15-of-36 passing for 236 yards to lead Frostburg (11-2) on offense.

Mount Union got off to a quick start in the first quarter with 21 points on offense while the defense held Frostburg State to minus-six yards with 3.0 quarterback sacks.

The Raiders 21 points came from two Poorman touchdown passes – a 37-yarder to Braeden Friss and a 45-yarder to Hill along with Poorman scrambling for a 25-yard scoring run.

Frostburg got its first first-down of the game with just under 12 minutes to go in the second quarter but the drive stalled on the Raider 20-yard-line and the Bobcats got on the board with a 37-field goal from Hassan Mostafa.

On the ensuing kickoff, Darian Littlejohn (Fulton, Md./Reservoir) ran the kick-off back 90 yards for a touchdown to give the Raiders a 28-3 lead.

Cox then put together a nine-play, 70-yard drive and the Bobcats found the end zone with a two-yard touchdown pass to Christian DiPaola and the score was 28-10.

The final 2:25 featured five touchdowns – three by Mount Union and the Raiders led 49-24 at break.

Poorman threw his third touchdown pass of the game with a 62-yarder to Justin Hill at the 2:25 mark. The defense then got a forced fumble from Dear that was recovered by Mihoci and on the Raiders next play Poorman found Jared Ruth (Indianapolis, Ind./Pike) for his fourth touchdown pass and Mount Union led 42-10.

Frostburg then scored less than a minute later when Cox found Malik Morris from 20 yards out for a score. Poorman led Mount Union 83 yards on five plays and hit Friss on a 16-yard touchdown pass with 20 seconds left but a long Frostburg kickoff return set up Cox to throw an 18-yard touchdown pass on the final play of the half and the Raiders led 49-24 at the break.  

Frostburg fumbled each of its first two possessions of second half and the Raiders turned one of them into a Jawanza Evans-Morris five-yard TD run to take a 56-24 lead. On the ensuing kickoff, the Raiders recovered the football but missed a 36-yard field goal attempt.

Mount Union pushed the score to 63-24 at the end of the third quarter on a Josh Petruccelli (Perry/Perry) 27-yard scoring run.

The Raiders tacked on another score early in the fourth quarter with a 57-yard bomb – Poorman's sixth of the day – to Hill to push the score to 70-24.

Frostburg finished the scoring with a pair of Cox touchdown passes.