ALLIANCE, Ohio – The Adrian College football team traveled to juggernaut third-ranked Mount Union (11-0) on Saturday (Nov. 22) in the first round of the NCAA Division III playoffs. The host Purple Raiders were forced to punt on their first drive, but then scored touchdowns on their next four drives en route to a 63-3 win over the Bulldogs (8-3).
Adrian won the coin toss and kicked off to Mount Union who gained one first down before having to punt. Adrian only could gain one yard on their first drive and punted back to the Purple Raiders. Mount Union then drove 65 yards in five plays as quarterback Kevin Burke ran for a 24-yard touchdown with 10:52 left in the opening quarter.
Adrian went three-and-out on their second possession losing four yards and Connor Storms booted a 47-yard punt to the MU 29. Mount Union drove 71 yards in six plays as Burke found Luc Meacham for a 16-yard touchdown with 7:16 left in the first. The next drive for Adrian was their most productive of the game as Emmanuel Stewart broke off a 25-yard run to the MU 42. Aaron Tenney found Nathan Hartline for a 13-yard pass to the MU 18 and Stewart then carried five yards to the MU 13. A false start penalty hurt the Bulldogs and two plays went for zero yards before Cameron Cook booted a 35-yard field goal with 1:37 left in the first to make things 14-3.
Mount Union answered quickly taking 1:33 off the clock in six plays as Logan Nemeth ran for a 20-yard score with four seconds left in the first for a 21-3 advantage for the Purple Raiders. Adrian went three-and-out gaining zero yards to start the second quarter and a 17-yard punt set Mount Union up at the AC 48. Burke completed three straight passes for 47 yards and then a holding play pushed the ball back to the AC 11 on first-and-goal. B.J. Mitchell rushed for three yards and then Burke tossed an eight-yard score to Tim Kennedy with 12:29 left in the second for a 28-3 lead.
Tenney was intercepted on Adrian's next drive setting up Mount Union at the AC 20. The Adrian defense held the Purple Raiders out of the end zone as they misfired on fourth-and-goal from the AC 5. Adrian gave up a safety just three plays later as Tenney was sacked in the end zone by Hank Spencer for a 30-3 deficit with 8:34 left until halftime.
Burke tossed his third touchdown of the half to Kennedy for his second score from six yards with 7:22 left until halftime making it 36-3 after a failed two-point conversion. Burke also found Roman Namdar for 11 yards with 4:03 left in the quarter and Nemeth's second rushing score of the half from three yards made it 50-3 at the break.
"I am proud of our team and thought we did some good things out there, but that is a good football team," said head coach Jim Deere. "When you get down to Mount Union, you have a mountain to climb. They have good players and are well coached and we have made strides, but have more work to do. We are working to try to get our program where they (Mount Union) are and we will continue to work on getting more players to get us there."
In the second half, Mount Union added a 65-yard punt return for a score from Jared Ruth and Edward Ruhnke kicked a pair of field goals (38, 23) in the fourth quarter. Mount Union gained 650 yards with a balanced 329 through the air and 321 on the ground. Adrian gained 197 yards but could not convert on third down going 2-of-19. Adrian Harris rushed for a team-best 38 yards on seven carries. Hartline caught two passes for 37 yards in his final game. Charles Fleck ended his career with 13 tackles and one interception to lead the defense.