The D3 Football playoffs are full of surprises — Mount Union football has not been one of them. After this weekend's win over Alfred, the Purple Raiders are two wins away from defending their 2015 title.
Instead of normal recaps, I figured it'd be interesting to compare expectations to results for every D3 Football Quarterfinal matchup — so that's what we're going to do.
Here's part of what I said about Mount Union at Alfred last week:
As stated above, it’s nearly impossible, if not illogical, to bet against Mount Union. But Alfred presents some interesting challenges, first a foremost being a mobile quarterback who can evade the Raiders’ potent pass rush. Couple that with the Raiders recent “struggles” and I could see the Saxons pulling off a magnificent upset.
But I can’t go against Mount Union.
MOUNT UNION 28, ALFRED 21
WHAT Actually HAPPENED: MOUNT UNION 70, ALFRED 45
The final score is a little deceiving. Sure, the Purple Raiders blew the roof off in the fourth quarter, but until that final period Alfred played really well.
The Saxons led 7-0 early, but then turned the ball over three times — all fumbled — and gave up 28-straight points. They fought back and actually trailed by two, 35-33, late in the game before Mount Union’s offense exploded.
And I mean exploded. The Raiders scored a TD on all five of their last drives and a defense that surrendered 570 yards of offense managed to hold the Saxons in check when it mattered most while also forcing three fumbles, two sacks and 10 pass breakups.
QB Dom Davis was astounding, completing 21-of-29 passes for 251 yards and three touchdowns. His favorite receiver, Tim Kennedy, secured 11 catches for 105 yards, though Zach Herrington, Jared Ruth and Braeden Friss were the game’s touchdown recipients.
Rushing-wise, Bradley Mitchell ran 15 times for 123 yards and three scores, while Davis rushed 18 times for 108 yards and a score.
So, I was right about the outcome, but way off on the score. I expected a tough defensive battle, mainly because the Raiders had failed to put up more than 40 points in each of the past three weeks and appeared to struggle against Johns Hopkins last week.
Instead, the offense totaled 573 yards, scored 10 touchdowns and looked every bit like a defending champion should. The game against UMHB could be a classic.
Props to Alfred, though. The team kept pace with a top tier team and looked capable of pulling off a stunning upset. Unfortunately, turnovers and botched field goals/extra points at crucial moments led to a less-than-satisfying outcome.
QB Tyler Johnson was a stud, completing 36-of-67 passes for 534 yards and a whopping five touchdowns. He also scored on a rushing touchdown and led the team in rushing yards with 43.
The Saxons finish their stellar season with a 12-1 record.