Football Comes Up Short in NCAA Quarterfinals 27-22



- Score: Indiana 27, Assumption 22

- Records: Indiana (13-0), Assumption (11-2)

- Location: Indiana, Pa. (George P. Miller Stadium)

- The Lead: Assumption led midway through the fourth quarter before top seed Indiana came back to pull in front 27-22 with just 1:09 remaining. The Hounds were able to move the ball down to the 39-yard line but two last-second passes came up just short as they fell by five points in the NCAA Division II Quarterfinals on Saturday.


- Assumption took the opening kickoff and moved methodically down the field to the 10-yard line. The drive stalled but Cole Tracy (Camarillo, Calif. / Newbury Park) came on to kick a 28-yard field goal for the 3-0 advantage.

- Assumption's Mason Spence (Boston, Mass. / Episcopal) forced a fumble on the ensuing kickoff. The Hounds drove down to the 13-yard line but were stuffed on fourth down and turned the ball over. On IUP's next possession Stephon Hill (Baltimore, Md. / Boys' Latin School of Md.) picked off a pass in Crimson Hawk territory, however the Hounds were forced to punt.

- IUP used 10 plays on its second drive to move down to the one-yard line before a plunge by Samir Bullock gave them a 7-3 advantage.

- On the Crimson Hawks' first drive of the second, Joe Kim (Edison, N.J. / Edison) picked off Lenny Williams on third down and took it down the sideline for a 35-yard interception return and a 13-7 lead with 13:33 remaining.

- Andrew Martorella (Wantagh, N.Y. / Wantagh) orchestrated a perfect onside kick and Hill recovered to give Assumption the ball at the 50. The Hounds drove inside the three-yard line but were stalled and Tracy came on for the field goal and 13-7 advantage.

- IUP answered with a touchdown at 6:43 and drove into Assumption territory late in the period but Andrew Benson (East Bridgewater, Mass. / East Bridgewater) came up with an interception to end the scoring threat.

- The Crimson Hawks scored on their first drive of the second half, extending their lead to 21-13 with 9:08 left in the third.

- Assumption marched down the field on its next drive, moving to the 4-yard line for the final play of the third. Ashton Grant (Manchester, Conn. / Manchester) drew a pass interference penalty to give the team one untimed down before the fourth. Khaleed Exum-Strong (Norwichtown, Conn. / Norwich Free Academy / Trinity Pawling) powered his way through the middle and just got the ball over the goal line to trim the deficit to 21-19. The two-point attempt failed, to leave the Hounds down by two.

- Following another stop by the defense Assumption drove the ball inside the ten-yard line again. However, they were unable to record a touchdown after getting a third and goal from inside the five, and settled for a 25-yard field goal from Tracy for the 22-21 lead.

- IUP answered with a 13-play 76-yard drive. The Crimson Hawks moved the ball down the field and eventually punched it in from the 1-yard line on third down for a 27-22 lead with just 1:09 remaining.

- Deonte Harris (Baltimore, Md. / Archbishop Curley) returned the ball out to the 46-yard line to give Assumption a chance. The Hounds moved down to the 39-yard line and Cody Williams (Wilbraham, Mass. / Springfield) nearly found Grant for a 35-yard reception but the defender knocked it out of his hands. One play later Williams scrambled before finding Grant in the endzone, however, it was ruled he was past the line of scrimmage. Following the penalty, a final Hail Mary came up short also as IUP held on for the win.


- Assumption totaled 318 yards while IUP finished with 443 total yards, highlighted by 340 yards rushing. The Crimson Hawks were held to 103 passing yards while the Hounds had 233. They did force four turnovers, including three interceptions.

- Brendan Tobey (Lynn, Mass. / Malden Catholic) was 12-for-23 for 132 yards while Williams completed 9 of 14 passes for 101 yards. Sam Blake (Springfield, Mass. / East Longmeadow) finished with six receptions for 77 yards while Harris caught six passes for 66 yards. He added 78 kickoff return yards for 168 all-purpose yards.

- Dylan Oxsen (Plymouth, Mass. / Plymouth South) led the rushing attack with 35 yards on eight carries while Exum-Strong had eight rushes for 23 yards and one touchdown.

- Tracy finished the day with three field goals and one extra point for ten points to give him 148 on the year. The total is a new NCAA Division II single-season record. Tracy finished the year with 27 field goals, the second-highest total in NCAA Division II history while his 67 career field goals are tied for second all-time in Division II.

- Defensively, Levi Fancher (Beacon Falls, Conn. / Woodland Regional) paced the defense with 13 tackles and 1.0 sacks, while Joe Bruno (Old Forge, Pa. / Old Forge) had ten stops and 2.5 TFL. Kim added four tackles and one interception and a touchdown.

- Benson finished with one interception, giving him nine for the year. The total broke the single-season school record and Benson finished with a school-record 17 interceptions in his career.

- The Assumption senior class finished as the winningest in program history, going 38-11 overall with three NCAA Tournament appearances and a pair of NE10 Championships. It is five more wins than any other class in Assumption history.


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