Written by News Bulletin News Sources
Wednesday, 16 October 2013 00:00
For the fourth straight week, the North Central College football team remains the No. 4-ranked program in the nation by D3football.com, which released its most recent NCAA Division III Top 25 Poll on Sunday.
The Cardinals (5-0, 2-0 College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin), who remained unbeaten with a 55-7 rout of conference rival Millikin University, received 537 points in this week's voting.
The top five spots in the poll are unchanged since last week. The defending national champion, the University of Mount Union (Ohio), received 609 points and 16 first-place votes to remain in the No. 1 spot in the voting, while Linfield College (Ore.) is second with 597 points and six first-place votes and the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor (Tex.) is a close third with 594 points and three first-place votes. The top five is rounded out by Bethel University (Minn.) in fifth with 501 points.
North Central is one of three CCIW teams ranked in the top 25, joining 13th-ranked Wheaton College and 23rd-ranked Illinois Wesleyan University.
Carrying over its momentum from last week's win, North Central left no doubt in its Saturday evening encounter with Millikin, quickly establishing a comfortable lead and cruising to the decisive victory over the Big Blue at Benedetti-Wehrli Stadium.
After a strong second half in last Saturday's 31-14 win at Elmhurst College, the fourth-ranked Cardinals followed with an encore performance in the first half against the Big Blue. North Central found the end zone three times in the first period and owned a 41-0 lead at halftime before allowing its younger players to close out the win.
"That was our one goal," said senior defensive end Alex Tripp, who led the Cardinals' defense with seven tackles, a quarterback sack and a forced fumble. "We wanted to come out like we did in the second half against Elmhurst, and to repeat it the entire game was great to see."
North Central quarterback Spencer Stanek broke his own single-game school record for completion percentage, connecting on 15 of 16 passing attempts (93.8 percent). He got the rout started by throwing three first-quarter touchdown passes, the first of which was a 40-yard strike down the middle to A.J. Thomas on the game's first possession.
The Cardinals owned a 550-212 advantage in total yards, gaining 318 yards on the ground. North Central owned a 33:14-26:46 advantage in time of possession and converted 8 of 12 third-down attempts. The Cardinals' defense managed 12 tackles for loss and four quarterback sacks, with Michael Monterrubio and Alex Ibarra each recovering fumbles.
North Central travels to Chicago to face North Park University (1-4, 1-1) next week. The Vikings lost a 52-21 decision at Illinois Wesleyan University on Saturday. Kickoff at the Holmgren Athletic Complex is scheduled for 1 p.m.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 15 October 2013 10:13