N. MANCHESTER, IN - The College of Mount St. Joseph (8-0, 6-0 HCAC) locked up the HCAC's automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Playoffs and at least a share of the conference title with an impressive 31-7 win at Manchester College (4-4, 4-1 HCAC).
The Lions defense was impressive, allowing only a special teams touchdown in the clinching victory. MSJ jumped out to a 17-7 first half lead and put the game away with 14 third quarter points. The Mount offense tallied 436 yards against the Manchester defense, and held the Spartan offense to 250 yards and three turnovers.
Jake Davis (Cincinnati, Ohio/Anderson) paced the rushing attack with 113 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries. Quarterback Craig Mustard (Mason, Ohio/H.S.) completed 12 of his 20 passes for 277 yards and three touchdowns. Two of his touchdown passes came in the third quarter, putting the game out of Manchester's reach. Derick Tabar (Cincinnati, Ohio/Colerain) hauled in four passes for 130 yards and two scores, grabbing the Lions' first and last touchdowns of the contest.
Manchester's offense struggled with its rushing attack, managing only 106 yards against the stout Lions defense. Quarterback Justin Minnich (Ft. Wayne, Ind./Carroll) completed 11 of his 22 passes for 144 yards and two interceptions in the loss. The lone Spartan touchdown came via an 88 yard punt return by Chris Cecil (Indianapolis, Ind./Franklin Central) early in the second quarter.
Mount can secure an outright conference championship with a win at home over Defiance Saturday. Manchester travels to Franklin and will hope for a MSJ loss and a pair of wins to close the season to share the conference title.
For a complete recap of Week 9 in HCAC Football, click here