Muskies Drop First NCAA Football Playoff Appearance 49-22
Athletics - posted on 11/19/2005ROCK ISLAND, Ill. -- Missed first-half opportunities cost the Lakeland football team as host Augustana spoiled the Muskies' first trip to the NCAA Division III playoffs with a 49-22 win over Lakeland, which was appearing in the college's first postseason playoff game in school history.
Augie (10-1), the nation's 10th-ranked team, rolled out to a 21-0 first-quarter lead behind its powerful running game. Lakeland trailed 21-7 after a Brandon Erdman touchdown run, and drove to the Augustana 21, but sophomore quarterback Brad Wilk couldn't connect with sophomore receiver Macarthur White on a fourth-down pass into the endzone. Wilk started in place of senior QB Ryan Maiuri, who suffered a leg injury in the first half of Lakeland's regular-season finale at Greenville.
The Vikings scored on their next possession to take a 28-7 lead, then, after a Lakeland punt, the Vikings, who entered the game with just 24 pass attempts all season, took a 35-7 halftime lead after a four-play drive -- all passes -- culminated with QB Matt Roe hitting Tom Anthony with a 28-yard TD pass.
"We played 12 good minutes in the first half, unfortunately the other 18 meant 35 points," said Lakeland head coach Jim Zebrowski. "On offense we were moving the ball pretty well, we just couldn't finish that drive (to cut the lead to 21-14). Being down 28-7 is not a nightmare. But being down 35-7 is a little bit different beast to deal with."
Maiuri replaced Wilk on Lakeland's final drive of the second quarter, and he played the remainder of the game. Maiuri finished 9-of-19 passing for 181 yards and a pair of TDs, a 70-yard bomb to White late and a fourth-quarter score to senior Rodney Ellison. Wilk, who was starting his first game for Lakeland after playing in six games this season and attempting 14 passes, was 7 of 16 for 102 yards and two interceptions. White led Lakeland with 7 catches for 157 yards and he was the leading rusher with 4 carries for 50 yards.
"I talked to the guys (Friday) night and told them I wasn't sure if I was going to play at all," said Maiuri, who had not practiced during Lakeland's two-week break since the Greenville game. "I just told the guys I didn't want to end my season with the regular season. The whole team worked hard to get to the playoffs, and it was really difficult for me to be on the sideline."
Zebrowski said he didn't start Maiuri because of his limitations offensively.
"I didn't want to start (Maiuri) because all he could do is sit in the gun and throw," said Zebrowski. "But you saw a kid that has as much heart as anyone in the world, who played in the second half with a broken fibula. I wanted to get by with our backup guy Brad, who does a nice job, and just be able to run the ball and get some movement, which I thought we did.
"I was happy with the way we played the last 30 minutes. But we did something this season that no Lakeland football team had done. I am really proud of these kids for putting the program in the position that they are in now. We need to build off of this."
The Vikings had 438 total yards, 320 on the ground. Junior fullback Mike Guzman finished with 101 yards on 18 carries and three TDs. Lakeland had 419 total yards, 283 passing and 136 rushing. Junior Eric Royal caught three passes for 61 yards.
The Muskies finished the season 8-3. Augustana moves on to face Mount Union in Saturday's second round.
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