North Greenville runs into quarters
Crusaders force four turnovers to hold off Mars Hill
MARS HILL, N.C. -- Senior quarterback Willy Korn rushed for three touchdowns and North Greenville scored 35 unanswered points in the third quarter to pummel Mars Hill College 58-32 in the second round of the NCAA Division II national championship playoffs on Saturday.
North Greenville (11-2) established new school records for wins and consecutive wins (9) and will advance to the NCAA Division II national quarterfinals next week against Delta State.
Korn rushed for a season-best 92 yards and completed 11 of 13 passes for 172 yards and a touchdown to Sean Wright. Teryan Rucker added 78 yards and a touchdown, Idris Anderson rushed for a touchdown.
The difference in the game was the NGU defense, which forced four Mars Hill turnovers. Jamarius Robinson intercepted passes on back-to-back series in the third quarter and took one back for a 45-yard touchdown. Nick Rosamonda added another touchdown off an interception in the fourth quarter on a 55-yard run.
In the wide open contest that saw 919 yards of total offense, NGU’s defense blew the game open in the third quarter. Mars Hill’s Jonas Randolph rushed for 200 yards and a touchdown and freshman receiver Dimitri Holmes caught two touchdown passes to lead the Lions.
With the game tied 16-16 with 3:32 left in the first half, Korn marched NGU to the Mars Hill three-yard line with five seconds left.
The key in the drive was when Korn hit Freddie Martino on a fourth-down play with 22 seconds left in which Korn hit Taylor Malphrus for a 10-yard gain. After spiking the ball, Korn threaded the ball through two defenders and hit Wright with a touchdown with five seconds left that propelled the Crusaders into the end zone with a 23-16 lead.
The victory against Mars Hill insured that North Greenville had beaten every team in the South Atlantic Conference for the first time.