DANVILLE, Ky. (Nov. 17, 2018) – The Centre football team thoroughly defeated No. 14 Washington & Jefferson Saturday at Farris Stadium, winning by a 54-13 margin in the opening round of the NCAA Division III Playoffs.
All cylinders were firing for the No. 24 Colonels (10-1), who scored on their first five possessions and never looked back. Despite the loss of starting quarterback Tanner Young, the Colonels offense amassed a season-high 593 total yards.
Defensively, Centre held the Presidents (9-2) without a point the entire second half.
- The Colonel defense set the tone on W&J's opening drive, which ended with a sack from Zach Berger that forced a punt.
- Centre's first offensive possession was kept alive by a 31-yard run on 3rd-and-9 from Colin Burnam, and capped by a touchdown pass of the same length from Tanner Young to Cody Estep.
- Tommy Kaczocha ended W&J's next possession with an interception on the first play, but the Colonels were held to a Ben Logsdon field goal to make it 10-0.
- Centre forced another W&J punt, and Burnam plunged in after big pass plays to Jaylon Hibbs and Jordan Gunter.
- The Presidents finally got on the scoreboard after multiple tries at the goal line, making it 17-7 early in the second quarter.
- Centre quickly responded, however, as Young found Estep for a 34-yard score to increase the lead back to 21.
- Berger and Ryan Smith combined for a sack to halt W&J's next drive, but things took a dim turn when Young was injured on the ensuing possession.
- Reserve QB John Walton filled in admirably, beginning with a drive that ended in a career-long 41-yard field goal from Logsdon.
- He was picked off on Centre's next possession, though, and the Presidents seemed to carry momentum into the half with a late touchdown, making it 27-13.
- Burnam erased all hope for the Presidents on the Colonels' opening drive in the third quarter, ripping off a 39-yard touchdown run.
- After forcing a turnover on downs, the Colonels scored again as Walton hit Gunter on a 14-yard touchdown pass, making it 40-13 following the point after.
- Centre's defense was simply phenomenal in the third and fourth quarters, as W&J managed just 61 yards on 27 plays while never reaching Centre territory in the entire half.
- Burnam matched a career-high with his third rushing score early in the fourth quarter, and Hagen Ellis capped the blowout with a two-yard touchdown catch from Walton.
INSIDE THE BOX SCORE
- Centre's defense held W&J to a season-low in total points, while allowing only 250 yards on 80 plays (3.1 ypp). Andrew Busby had a career day with 13 total tackles, and Berger finished with 2.5 sacks and eight stops.
- Burnam averaged over eight yards per carry, racking up 164 yards and three touchdowns on 20 attempts. Backfield mate Trevor Carnell totaled 80 yards on 14 carries.
- Walton, who attempted 10 passes all season, went 12-for-17 in Young's place, throwing for 189 and two touchdowns.
- Estep led the Centre receiving corps with 111 yards on four catches with two touchdowns.
- Centre punted just once, on its final possession of the game. The Colonels scored points on nine of 12 total drives.
- W&J's Andrew Wolf, who entered the game leading Division III in receiving yards (1,337) and touchdowns (21), was shut down against the Colonels. Cal Lewellyn and the rest of Centre's defensive backfield held Wolf to one catch for two yards.
- Saturday's was the program's second-ever victory in the NCAA postseason.
- Centre travels to Alliance, Ohio, next Saturday for the second round of the NCAA Division III Playoffs, taking on perennial powerhouse and top-ranked Mount Union.