ALBION, Mich. – Albion College dominated the second half to send Head Coach Craig Rundle out with a 35-19 victory over Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association rival Olivet College.
Rundle completes his 22-year run as Albion's head coach with a record of 127-95 overall, seven MIAA championships and five trips to the NCAA Division III Championship Tournament.
Albion's big plays in the second half included:
- Albion converted a 3rd and 9 on its first possession, as quarterback Kyle Thomas hooked up with Marlon Martin for a 31-yard gain to the Olivet 17. Two plays later, Thomas threw a swing pass to Collin Poore for an 11-yard score.
- Thomas found tight end Brian Blanzy for a 12-yard gain as Albion picked up a 4th and 6 on its next possession. Three plays later, running back Markell McCoy scored from 7 yards out and the Britons led, 28-13, midway through the third quarter.
- Olivet quarterback Lane Porter had not thrown an interception all season. However, Kole Hollenbeck picked off a pass in the end zone as Olivet came away empty with 4 ½ minutes left in the third quarter.
- Thomas capped the scoring when he hooked up with Blanzy for a 93-yard score. Blanzy hauled in the pass at midfield, shed a would-be tackle, and went in for the touchdown. According to NCAA statistics, it is tied for the eighth longest reception in Division III this season. It also matched the Albion record for longest reception (Chris Barnett hauled in a pass from Kyle Klein against DePauw University in 1996).
- Late in the fourth quarter, punter Sam Blanzy picked up a 4th and 4 by running for 11 yards. The Britons were able to run out the clock from there.
"The guys stepped up and rose to the challenge all year," Rundle said. "The interceptions were big momentum swings by taking away their opportunities to score points. We dominated up front on both sides. I'm proud of the guys for fighting hard and being ready to play all day."
Albion never trailed in the game, scoring on its first possession. Thomas found Brian Blanzy for a 13-yard score on third down.
Olivet responded by moving the ball to the red zone, however the Comets came away empty as Darrell McEntire intercepted a pass in the end zone.
The Comets scored on a 15-yard run by Matthew Ellis early in the second quarter, but they missed the extra point as Albion hung on to a 7-6 lead.
Albion boosted the lead to 14-6 on Thomas' 7-yard swing pass to Poore with 9 1/1 minutes left in the second quarter.
Albion ended the day with a 532-399 advantage in total yards.
- Thomas rolled up 338 yards of total offense, with 293 passing and 45 rushing. He finished the season with 2,994 total yards (2,435 passing and 559 rushing).
- Brian Blanzy averaged 39 yards per reception, finishing with 118 yards on three catches.
- Poore was Albion's outlet on the hot routes, hauling in eight receptions for 73 yards.
- Martin averaged 33 yards per reception with two catches for 33 yards.
- McCoy finished with 81 rushing yards on 19 carries.
- Doug Freeman added 72 rushing yards on 15 carries.
- Defensively, Sean Kubit-Miller wrapped up two sacks. Mitchell Arendsen and Quinten Jackson also recorded a sack.
Follow the Britons on Twitter: @AlbionFootball