(Story courtesy of Trinity University)
SAN ANTONIO, Texas - With its 20-14 win over Centre College on Saturday afternoon, the Trinity football team clinched a share of the SCAC Championship, and a bid to the NCAA Playoffs for the first time since 2007.
Trinity (9-0, 5-0 SCAC) fell behind by 14 points in the second quarter, but scored 20 unanswered to pull out the win. The Tigers came into the game ranked 13th in the latest AFCA Division III poll, and 18th in D3football.com's national poll. Centre was 25th in the D3football.com ranking.
After Centre scored on consecutive drives in the second quarter - the last of which ended with under two minutes before halftime - Trinity finally got on the board with an 80-yard scoring drive that made it 14-7.
The Tigers punted on their first drive of the second half, but then scored on back-to-back third quarter drives to go ahead 20-14 with just over 20 minutes left in the game (the extra point was blocked).
Centre turned the ball over on downs three of its final four possessions - including the last drive of the game. Trinity punted into the end zone with 1:10 to play, leaving Centre 80 yards from a potential tying score.
The second play of the drive was a 40-yard catch-and run to set up the Colonels at Trinity's 40 with just under a minute left. Centre got another first down at the Trinity 19 yard line, before four straight incompletions ended the game.
Nykolas McKissic completed 11-21 passes for 121 yards and a touchdown, while Mason Blaschke completed his only pass for a 23-yard touchdown. Blaschke took a lateral pass from McKissic, then threw into the end zone to Riley Walker for the game-tying score early in the third quarter.
Jonathan Osei-Kuffour had three catches for 59 yards and a touchdown to lead the Trinity receivers. He caught a 15-yard pass from McKissic just before halftime to put the Tigers on the board. In the second half, Osei-Kuffour broke free for a 33-yard reception to set up Trinity's game-winning score from a yard out.
Patrick Granchelli enjoyed another 100-yard rushing performance, carrying 22 times for 101 yards and the game-winning touchdown. It was the second straight 100-yard game for Granchelli, and the fourth of the season.
Jonathan Pinque led Centre with 83 yards rushing, while Tyler Osterman completed 15-30 for 122 yards through the air.
Kyle Trella punted eight times for 367 yards (45.9 yards/punt) for the Tigers - including two punts over 60 yards. His first long punt was a career-long 70-yard, followed later by a 65-yard punt to pin Centre inside the 20.
Trinity will travel to Sherman, Texas, next weekend to take on Austin College in the regular season finale. The NCAA Playoffs will begin the following weekend (Nov. 19), against an opponent to be determined.