#19 Tartans Season Closes with a 28-7 Loss at #1 North Central in the NCAA Second Round
(NAPERVILLE, Ill.) – The Carnegie Mellon University football team traveled to Naperville, Illinois, on Saturday for a second round contest in the NCAA Division III Championship and dropped a battle to the nation's top team, 28-7.
Carnegie Mellon 7, North Central 28
Records: Carnegie Mellon (11-1), North Central (12-0)
Location: Naperville, Ill. (Benedetti-Wehrli Stadium)
How it Happened
- Following a blocked field goal by Tartan senior Ben Cawyer, the Cardinal and Gray put together a seven-play, 73-yard drive that resulted in a 47-yard touchdown catch and run by senior Kris Hughes from junior signal caller Ben Mills. Graduate student Cole Hanna's point after sailed through the uprights to make the score 7-0 with 2:35 to play in the first quarter.
- On the ensuing possession, North Central knotted the score at 7-7, as quarterback Luke Lehnen found DeAngelo Hardy on a 2-yard touchdown strike. The score capped off a 10-play, 70-yard drive that took 5:30 off the clock.
- North Central's senior Tyler Rich had a sack-fumble on Mills on the Tartans' 2-yard line and Cardinal junior Dan Lester jumped on the ball. Three plays later, senior Ethan Greenfield plunged in from one yard away to make the score 14-7 with 6:09 to play in the first half.
- Rich and Lester combined for another sack-fumble recovery, this time on Carnegie Mellon's 41-yard line. Five plays later Greenfield ran for his second touchdown of the afternoon. The 8-yard run made the score 21-7 with 14:53 to play.
- With 5:04 to play, Lehnen sprinted down the sideline for a 72-yard score which made the score 28-7.
- North Central held the edge in total offense gaining 394 yards to Carnegie Mellon's 146.
- North Central was held to 115 yards on the ground over the first three quarters and ended with 273 yards rushing after recording 158 in the fourth.
- The Cardinals forced two turnovers while the Tartans forced zero.
- Hughes led the Carnegie Mellon receivers with 64 yards on three receptions and a score.
- Tartan junior running back Tre Vasiliadis rushed for 70 yards on 24 carries.
- Defensively, the Tartans were led by junior Robert Coury with 11 tackles including a sack for a loss of 10 yards.
- Lehnen finished the game passing for 121 yards on 13-of-17 attempts. The signal caller also rushed for 127 yards and a score.
- The Cardinals' leading receiver was Hardy with seven catches for 66 yards and a touchdown.
- Greenfield led all rushers with 135 yards on the ground and two touchdowns.
- Carnegie Mellon concludes its season tying the program record with 11 wins.
- The Tartans' touchdown was the first allowed by North Central since week four on October 1st against Wheaton College. Over the span, North Central outscored its opponents 409-6.
- This was the Tartans' eighth appearance in the NCAA postseason (1978, 1979, 1983, 1985, 1990, 2006, 2021).
- They are now 4-7 all-time in the NCAA playoffs.
- The Tartans had won their last six contests against ranked opponents. Their last loss was to #13 W&J on September 15, 2018.
- The Tartans are 8-15 all-time against ranked opponents since D3football.com started a Top 25 poll in 2003.
- Hughes completes his career with 28 touchdowns and 1,925 receiving yards, ranking first and third all-time.