FORT WAYNE, Ind. - Four Daniel Carter touchdowns in the third quarter put the game out of reach as No. 3 University of Saint Francis (Ind.) posted a 58-3 victory over visiting No. 11 Union College in the opening round of the 2008 NAIA Football Championship Series Saturday.
With the win, Saint Francis improved to 11-0 and advanced to the quarterfinal round, while Union finished the season 9-3 overall.
The Bulldogs entered the game having dominated the third quarter, outscoring their opponents 107-21. However, the Cougars reeled off 27 points in the third quarter to break up open a 51-3 advantage as Carter scored four touchdowns. The first was an 85-yard kickoff return to begin the half. The 5-foot-7, 164-pound running back then scored on runs of 10, 2 and 40 yards.
Kyle Miller added 1-yard touchdown plunge with 2:22 remaining to make it 58-3.
A bright spot for Union was Terence Pollock (Orange Park, Fla.), who just missed recording his fourth 100-yard game in a row as he finished with 96 yards on 20 carries. He ends the season with a school-record 1,331 yards.
Defensively, Marekus Smith (Lithonia, Ga.) led the way with 12 total stops to give him 100 on the season, marking the first time since 1992 Union has had two players to post 100 or more tackles in the same year.
A big reason for Saint Francis' dominance was due to the great field position it got. In the first half alone, the Cougars' average field position was the Union 39 and finished the game with a average position on the Bulldogs' 48.
Meanwhile, Union averaged starting its drives on its own 26-yard line.
The Cougar defense maintained steady pressure on Bulldog quarterback Mike Brinkley (Anthony, Fla.) as he was sacked eight times. Stephen Whited recorded three sacks, while Mark Drobac had two.
Taking the opening possession, Union moved the ball out of the gate, but the drive stalled forcing the Bulldogs to punt. However, the punt was blocked and Saint Francis recovered the bouncing ball at the Union 4-yard line.
The Bulldog defense held strong, pushing the Cougars back seven yards as Saint Francis had to settle for a Rhys Barnhart 29-yard field goal with 9:21 left in the first quarter.
On their next two possessions, the Cougars took advantage of good field position, starting on the Union 32 and 41, respectively. Jeff Wedding capped both drive with a scoring pass, the first was an eight-yarder to Brian Schultz with the second going for nine yards to Kyle Peabody to put Saint Francis up 17-0 with 14:09 remaining in the half.
Ross Bauman then intercepted Mike Brinkley (Anthony, Fla.) and returning it 33 yards for a touchdown, making it 24-0 at the 13:19 mark.
The Bulldogs closed out the half with an 11-play, 69-yard drive. However, the march stalled at the Cougar 12 as Union settled for a Jacob Appleby (Harvest, Ala.) 29-yard field goal to make it 24-3 at the half.
Wedding finished the game completing 21-of-31 passes for 212 yards and two scores. Carter led the way on the ground with 65 yards on 14 carries.