DIII football: John Carroll ends Mount Union's 112-game winning streak
The ball was snapped, Anthony Moeglin took a knee and it was over.
For the first time since 1989, John Carroll University football stands alone atop the Ohio Athletic Conference.
The Blue Streaks defeated No. 1 Mount Union 31-28 to win the 2016 OAC Championship in Alliance, Ohio, on Saturday.
This marks the fourth title for John Carroll: 1938, 1989, 1994 and now 2016. It is the first JCU win against Mount Union since 1989. John Carroll snaps the 112-game regular-season winning streak for the Purple Raiders dating back to Oct. 22, 2005.
William Woods hauled in the go-ahead score, fighting over the goal-line for a 24-yard touchdown with 39 seconds remaining. The John Carroll defense held strong, stopping the Purple Raiders on four straight plays to set up the victory formation.
The fourth quarter featured three lead changes in the final 5:13, including a Dylan Hall fumble recovery and a Braeden Friss 37-yard pass from Dom Davis.
Moeglin tossed three touchdowns on the afternoon, completing 18 of 33 passes for 239 yards. Woods had four catches for 45 yards. Nico James and Marshall Howell had touchdown catches from 40 and three yards out, respectively.
The nation's fourth-ranked defense forced four Mount Union turnovers and sacked Davis seven times.
FB: It happened. It's over. Your Blue Streaks just defeated Mount Union, 31-28. OAC Champions. #StreakNation— John Carroll Sports (@JCUSports) November 12, 2016
It was a tale of two quarters in the first half, at least defensively. In the first 15 minutes, UMU was stymied by the JCU defensive attack. Davis was consistently harassed, and Mount Union was held to 14 total yards and no first downs.
Golphin sent the JCU faithful to their feet with an 80-yard touchdown run less than five minutes into the game. The extra point went wide right, and John Carroll had a 6-0 lead. Two plays later, Scott Eilerman intercepted Davis, but JCU would not convert. After three shots to the end zone, Matt Danko's kick was blocked and recovered by Austin White.
After a punt by UMU, Golphin set up another score with a 27-yard run. Moeglin cashed in with a three-yard touchdown pass to Marshall Howell with 5:47 left in the quarter.
Just as JCU controlled the pace in the first quarter, Mount Union took back that momentum in the second. The Blue Streaks were held to 17 yards, and UMU cut the halftime lead to 13-7 on a 25-yard TD run by Davis in the waning seconds.
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At the half, the Blue Streaks had 201 total yards, compared to 79 for the Purple Raiders. Golphin eclipsed 100 yards with 112 and the touchdown. Ray Brown had a sack and two tackles for loss.
Mount Union converted a fake punt on fourth-and-7 to start the half, and ended the 10-play march 65 yards down the field with a 16-yard touchdown pass to Tim Kennedy. John Carroll forced another turnover, as Brown stripped the ball carrier and Tommy Murtaugh smothered the loose ball. UMU held the Blue Streaks off the scoreboard once again on the next drive.
The Purple Raiders extended the lead to 21-13 on their next possession, as Davis found Hill on a 20-yard pass in the back of the endzone. The Blue Streaks fired back, as Nico James outran the secondary on a 40-yard score.
JCU took the lead with 5:13 to go, as Reese Armstrong strip-sacked Davis and Dylan Hall rumbled 45 yards into the Mount Union student section. The two-point conversion failed, and John Carroll held a slim 25-21 lead.
The Purple Raiders seemed to take the air out the Blue Streaks with 3:30 to go, as Friss made a lunging catch in the front corner of the end zone.
On third-and-12 from UMU 24, Woods slipped free and caught a pass near the numbers and fought forward for the score. The JCU sideline erupted, as the Blue Streaks took the lead for good.
After four stops, a victory formation set off the largest JCU football celebration in nearly three decades.
Next up for the Blue Streaks is an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. The site and opponent will be revealed in a web show on Sunday at 6 p.m. ET.