Oct. 25, 2010

By Amy Farnum

Mercyhurst Colleges upset of then-No. 3 California (Pa.) propelled the Lakers into the AFCA Division II Top 25 for the first time in program history, while ending the Vulcans 24-game Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference West winning streak with a 31-21 defeat last weekend. California (Pa.) is the highest-ranked team the Lakers have beaten in program history.

Junior quarterback Travis Rearick threw for 299 yards and four touchdowns without an interception against the Vulcans, including two scores in the second half against a defense that had not given up a second-half TD in the last six games. The native of Elton, Pa., garnered PSAC West Offensive Player of the Week honors for his performance.

The Lakers share first place in the PSAC West standings with Cal and control their own destiny to the league championship game on Nov. 13, which will be against PSAC East winner. Should the Lakers and the Vulcans finish tied for first, Mercyhurst would win the head-to-head tiebreaker and host the championship game instead of previously scheduled opponent Shippensburg.

FANTASTIC FOURTH QUARTER: Central Missouri senior quarterback Eric Czerniewski directed a game-winning drive to conclude the No. 9 Mules best fourth-quarter comeback in school history as they downed Nebraska-Omaha, 34-31, in Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletic Association play on Saturday.

Czerniewski tossed three TD passes, including a game-winning nine-yard touchdown pass to Jamorris Warren with four seconds left regulation. Czerniewski compiled 421 passing yards in the contest, surpassing his own single-season mark and raising the school mark to 3,405. He also tied the UCM single-season mark for TD passes at 29.

It was also the first time in school history that the Mules have started 7-0 in the MIAA. UCM moved up two spots No. 7 in the latest AFCA Division II Top 25.

PICKED OFF: St. Cloud State senior free safety Tyler Niedfeldt claimed Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference Defensive Player of the Week honors after intercepting four passes and returning one for a touchdown as the Huskies topped Minnesota-Crookston, 49-6, in league play last weekend.

The native of Plymouth, Wis., compiled 55 yards in returns, including a 32-yard return for a TD. Only two players in St. Cloud State history have picked off four or more passes in a single game. Niedfeldt now leads the team with six interceptions on the year.

The Huskies moved up to No. 20 in the latest AFCA Division II Top 25 after improving to 7-0 against NSIC opponents. St. Cloud State will meet No. 2 Minnesota-Duluth - also unbeaten in NSIC play - on Oct. 30 for a pivotal league match-up.

POINT AFTERS: Wayne State (Mich.) junior safety Jeremy Jones tied an NCAA record with a 100-yard interception return for a touchdown for the Warriors eventual game-winning score in a 14-9 upset of then-No. 6 Hilldale last weekend. Jones also contributed nine tackles and three pass break-ups, earning Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Week for his performance … West Texas A&M quarterback Taylor Harris passed for 410 yards and four TDs in a 42-29 victory over nationally-ranked Midwestern State. It was the third time this season Harris has passed for four or more touchdowns. The native of Whitesboro, Texas, helped the Buffalos remain in contention in the Lone Star Conference South Division race with the victory, and was selected the divisions Offensive Player of the Week for his efforts … Saint Augustines College senior tailback Walter Sanders became the first 1,000-yard rusher in the programs modern era after tallying 208 yards and three TDs in a 34-24 win over Johnson City State University. It was his seventh straight 100-yard rushing performance. The Falcons sit on top of the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association standings at 5-0 and are ranked No. 23 in the latest national poll.