Arkansas-Pine Pluff wins SWAC championship in OT

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — A 95-yard touchdown pass from Arkansas-Pine Bluff quarterback Benjamin Anderson to Willie Young with 2 minutes left in regulation forced overtime, and the Lions emerged with a 24-21 victory over Jackson State in the Southwestern Athletic Conference championship game at Legion Field.

Arkansas-Pine Bluff QB Benjamin Anderson gets in for a touchdown as Cameron Loeffler tries to drag him down Saturday.  DAVE MARTIN/ASSOCIATED PRESS
DAVE MARTIN/ASSOCIATED PRESS
Arkansas-Pine Bluff QB Benjamin Anderson gets in for a touchdown as Cameron Loeffler tries to drag him down Saturday.

The winning points for the Lions (10-2) came on Tyler Strickland’s 26-yard field goal. Jackson State (7-5) had the ball first in overtime but Ryan Deising’s 43-yard field goal attempt was blocked.

Jackson State dominated the first half, outgaining the Lions 270-78, but led only 21-14 at halftime.

DIVISION II SEMIFINALS

VALDOSTA STATE 35, MINNESOTA-MANKATO 19

In Mankato, Minn., Cayden Cochran passed for 278 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for two second-half scores as Valdosta State (11-2) defeated Minnesota State-Mankato (13-1) to advance to the NCAA Division II championship game.

Austin Scott added 159 yards rushing and a touchdown for the Blazers (11-2), who will face Winston-Salem State in the championship game Dec. 15 in Florence, Ala.

Cochran threw second-quarter touchdowns of 8 yards to Gerald Ford and 9 yards to Seantavious Jones, helping Valdosta State overcome a 10-0 deficit. Cochran added scoring runs of 5 yards and 1 yard in the second half, the latter giving the Blazers a 28-13 lead early in the fourth quarter.

WINSTON-SALEM STATE 41, WEST TEXAS A&M 18

In Winston-Salem, N.C., Kameron Smith accounted for three touchdowns and Maurice Lewis ran for two scores as Winston-Salem State (14-0) beat West Texas A&M (12-3) in the Division II national semifinals.

Smith threw for 233 yards and two touchdowns and added a 23-yard TD run in the fourth quarter for the Rams, who led 20-7 at halftime and advanced to the national championship game for the first time.

DIVISION III SEMIFINALS

MOUNT UNION 48, MARY HARDIN-BAYLOR 35

In Alliance, Ohio, Jake Simon scored a touchdown from 12 yards out with five seconds left to play as Mount Union (14-0) rallied past Mary Hardin-Baylor (13-1), earning an eighth consecutive trip to the NCAA Division III championship game.

The Purple Raiders (14-0), who overcame five turnovers, will play St. Thomas (Minn.) in the championship on Friday in the Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl in Salem, Va. They are seeking an 11th national title, first since 2008.

ST. THOMAS (MINN.) 28, WISCONSIN-OSHKOSH 14

In St. Paul, Minn., Matt O’Connell ran for two touchdowns and threw for another and St. Thomas (14-0) beat Wisconsin-Oshkosh (13-1) to advance to the Division III championship game.

Brandon Braddock added 117 rushing yards for the fourth-ranked Tommies (14-0), who will be making their first appearance in the championship game.

On the game’s first play from scrimmage, Tommies defensive lineman Ayo Idowu picked up a fumble after an errant Titans pitch and rumbled 25 yards for a 7-0 lead.

Later in the first quarter, the Tommies scored on a 6-yard pass from O’Connell to Logan Marks and a 1-yard keeper by O’Connell for a 21-0 lead.

Nate Wara was 20 of 34 for 266 yards and had a rushing and passing score for the fifth-ranked Titans (13-1), who turned the ball over four times.


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