Wartburg Takes “Hope” Out Of NCAA Playoffs, 41-3
Wartburg opened the NCAA Division III football playoffs with a dominating win, 456 miles away from the Waverly campus.
The Knights traveled to Holland, Mich., for their first-round game Saturday afternoon. They left Hope College with a convincing 41-3 first-round victory.
Noah Dodd threw four touchdowns passes and ran for another score, after Wartburg fell behind 3-0 early in the first quarter. Wartburg's senior quarterback finished the day, completing 11 of 18 passes for 185 yards. Three of his TD throws went to Brandon Childs, his only catches of the day.
The Knights (10-1) finished the game with a 438 to 243 edge in total offensive yards, which included 244 on the ground.
On its initial possession, Hope put together a seven-play, 61-yard drive that ended with a 28-yard field goal. The Flying Dutchman (9-2) couldn't get much going offensive the rest of the game.
The Knights scored their first touchdown at the end of a four-play, 43-yard drive late in the first quarter. The possession ended with a 21-yard toss from Dodd to Kolin Schulte at the 2:45 mark, which put Wartburg ahead 7-3.
"I don't know if a whole lot changed, it might have been a feeling out process when you haven't played a team before," head coach Rick Willis commented on the start of the game. "Guys had a next-play mentality, kept pushing, and things started to flow."
Willis' team took control of the game with a 20-point second quarter. Dodd threw touchdown passes of 33- and 15-yards to Childs, before scoring on a two-yard run with a 1:18 remaining before intermission.
The Knights extended their 20-3 halftime lead with a pair of touchdowns in the fourth quarter. Dodd's third TD pass to Childs, a 14-yarder, happened with 13:12 remaining in the game. The scoring ended 3:15 later when Sam Yoerger returned a blocked punt 25 yards to the end zone.
Bennett Goettsch led Wartburg's rushing attacking with 124 yards on 10 carries.
The win stood as the 11th NCAA playoff victory for the Knights, who earned their 14th postseason appearance with an at-large bid into the 32-team playoff field. Next up for Wartburg is a second-round game at Wisconsin-Whitewater on Saturday, Nov. 30. The Warhawks (9-1) advanced with a 35-10 victory over Monmouth (Ill.).