Published: Sunday, November 26, 2006
Kmic's yardage carries Raiders
The sophomore running back had 293 yards in Mount Union's 35-3 win.
By ERIC HAMILTON
ALLIANCE No matter how many times he gets hit by players outweighing him by 100 pounds or how many long runs he breaks off, Mount Union running back Nate Kmic doesn't get fatigued.
At least that's what he tells himself.
"You can't let yourself get tired," said Kmic. "Sometimes you get a little winded if you have to drive from the 5 all the way down, but you just have to keep running hard. I kind of took it easy this week and I had fresh legs today. But now I'm ready for a nice meal and a nap."
Kmic might not have worn himself out, but the Wheaton defense sure looked whipped as the sophomore pounded out a season-high 293 yards on the ground and scored three touchdowns to spur Mount Union to another blowout playoff victory, 35-3 Saturday at Mount Union Stadium.
"We knew they relied on their defensive line, but our offensive line took control in the second half. They started bringing guys up from the secondary, so once I hit the hole, there was really no one left in the second level. I felt pretty good with fresh legs today."
Mount Union finished with 397 yards rushing and outgained Wheaton 492-287, despite running 15 fewer plays and owning the ball for nearly five minutes less than the Thunder.
The Purple Raiders' defense took care of Wheaton's offense by notching five interceptions. Four of those came with the Thunder threatening to score inside the Mount Union 25.
"Our defense has played well all year and did again today," said Mount Union coach Larry Kehres. "Wheaton is a good, solid and balanced team. We were just bouncing around a little bit in the second quarter, but started to find ourselves in the second half.
"Some teams can get in a rhythm by passing the ball, but when you can give the ball to a running back who can get you 10 yards a carry, it helps you control the game. Nate and the offensive line allowed us to do that today."
Wheaton (10-2) had some success moving the football on Mount Union's vaunted defense in the first half, but a pair of interceptions inside the Purple Raiders' 25 foiled two potential scoring opportunities.
With Mount Union ahead 7-0, Wheaton produced its first threat after taking over via an interception by Kirk McKenny at the Thunder's 33.
Wheaton drove to the Mount Union 9, using a big 33-yard pass from Jeremy Chupp to his brother Joe. Chaz Black broke off an 8-yard run down to the Purple Raiders' 9.
But on third-and-goal, Mount Union's Jonah Wilson intercepted a pass in the end zone to thwart the drive and preserve a 7-0 advantage.
On Mount Union's next drive, Kmic finished things off with a 28-yard scoring run to give the Purple Raiders a 14-0 lead after one quarter.
The Wheaton defense held Mount Union scoreless in the second quarter, but the offense couldn't close the gap. A delay of game penalty ruined one drive and prompted a punt.
Two possessions later, the Thunder engineered a 12-play drive, aided by a Mount Union pass interference call. Wheaton failed to capitalize again, throwing an interception at the Mount Union 14.
After a 25-yard field goal by Tim Ellingsen cut the Purple Raiders' lead to 14-3 with 8:44 left in the third period, Mount Union's high-powered offense scored the next 21 points to start the rout.
Mount Union grabbed three more interceptions in the second half. Wilson had two picks, while Tony Deriggi, Chas Yoder and Daryl Ely each intercepted a pass.