23 and counting…Mount Union back in semifinals

The Mount Union football team punched their ticket to the NCAA Division III Semifinals after their win over Frostburg State on Saturday.

ALLIANCE, OH (WYTV)-No. 2 ranked Mount Union advanced to the national semifinals for the 23rd straight season after a 70-37 win over No. 17 Frostburg State in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Division III Football Playoffs Saturday at Mount Union Stadium.

The Raiders (13-0) will play either Wisconsin-Oshkosh or Wartburg (Iowa) next Saturday, Dec. 9 at a time and location to be announced Sunday by the NCAA.

Mount Union quarterback Luke Poorman (Orlando/University School) accounted for seven touchdowns — six in the first half — as he finished the game throwing for six and running for another going 12-of-16 for 355 yards while also running for 39 yards.

Justin Hill (Circleville/Circleville) caught three of those touchdown passes while and finished with 196 yards on six catches. Braeden Friss (Avon/Avon) also caught two scores.

The Mount Union defense held Frostburg State to 253 yards of offense with four sacks and forced three fumbles. Linebacker Charlie Dear (Massillon/Jackson) had 7.0 tackles, a sack and forced a fumble and lineman Adam Mihoci (Murrysville, Pa./Franklin Regional) had two fumble recoveries.

Connor Cox threw four touchdowns on 15-of-36 passing for 236 yards to lead Frostburg (11-2) on offense.

Mount Union got off to a quick start in the first quarter with 21 points on offense while the defense held Frostburg State to minus-six yards with 3.0 quarterback sacks.

The Raiders 21 points came from two Poorman touchdown passes – a 37-yarder to Braeden Friss and a 45-yarder to Hill along with Poorman scrambling for a 25-yard scoring run.

Frostburg got its first first-down of the game with just under 12 minutes to go in the second quarter but the drive stalled on the Raider 20-yard-line and the Bobcats got on the board with a 37-field goal from Hassan Mostafa.

On the ensuing kickoff, Darian Littlejohn (Fulton, Md./Reservoir) ran the kick-off back 90 yards for a touchdown to give the Raiders a 28-3 lead.

Cox then put together a nine-play, 70-yard drive and the Bobcats found the end zone with a two-yard touchdown pass to Christian DiPaola and the score was 28-10.

The final 2:25 featured five touchdowns – three by Mount Union and the Raiders led 49-24 at break.

Poorman threw his third touchdown pass of the game with a 62-yarder to Justin Hill at the 2:25 mark. The defense then got a forced fumble from Dear that was recovered by Mihoci and on the Raiders next play Poorman found Jared Ruth (Indianapolis, Ind./Pike) for his fourth touchdown pass and Mount Union led 42-10.

Frostburg then scored less than a minute later when Cox found Malik Morris from 20 yards out for a score. Poorman led Mount Union 83 yards on five plays and hit Friss on a 16-yard touchdown pass with 20 seconds left but a long Frostburg kickoff return set up Cox to throw an 18-yard touchdown pass on the final play of the half and the Raiders led 49-24 at the break.

Frostburg fumbled each of its first two possessions of second half and the Raiders turned one of them into aJawanza Evans-Morris five-yard TD run to take a 56-24 lead. On the ensuing kickoff, the Raiders recovered the football but missed a 36-yard field goal attempt.

Mount Union pushed the score to 63-24 at the end of the third quarter on a Josh Petruccelli (Perry/Perry) 27-yard scoring run.

The Raiders tacked on another score early in the fourth quarter with a 57-yard bomb – Poorman’s sixth of the day – to Hill to push the score to 70-24.

Frostburg finished the scoring with a pair of Cox touchdown passes.

COURTESY: MOUNT UNION ATHLETICS