St. John’s scored two touchdowns in the final six minutes to rally for a 51-47 victory over Aurora (Ill.) University in the first round of the NCAA Division III playoffs on Saturday in Collegeville, Minn.
The Johnnies (10-1) will play at Chapman in the second round at 2 p.m. next Saturday. Chapman, which is in Orange, Calif., advanced with a 68-65 victory over Linfield in three overtimes.
Aurora, which led by as many as 14 points, scored with 8 minutes, 26 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter to take a 47-38 lead.
The Johnnies responded with a 10-play, 69-yard drive — capped by Kai Barber’s 2-yard touchdown run. With the PAT, the Johnnies pulled within 47-45 with 5:47 left.
After forcing the Spartans (9-2) to punt, the Johnnies got the ball back near midfield with 5:17 to play. The Johnnies went 56 yards in seven plays with Barber scoring on a 1-yard run to take the lead — their two-point conversion attempt failed — with 1:49 remaining.
The Spartans were able to drive to the Johnnies’ 22-yard line before time ran out.
Aurora led 28-14 late in the first half before the Johnnies went 77 yards in six plays to pull within 28-21 at halftime on Jackson Erdmann’s 1-yard touchdown pass to Kenneth Udoibok.
Erdmann passed for 481 yards and four touchdowns. Ravi Alston caught 12 passes for 216 yards and one touchdown. Barber rushed for 88 yards and three touchdowns.
Gavin Zimbelman threw six touchdown passes and ran for a touchdown to lead the Spartans.
Zimbelman completed 39 of 58 passes for 432 yards.
Wheaton 51, Martin Luther 7: Luke Anthony passed for 239 yards and four TDs to lead the Thunder (11-0), ranked No. 3, to an NCAA Division III first-round victory in Wheaton, Ill.
Anthony threw three TDs in the first half as Wheaton opened a 31-0 halftime lead. Joshuah Kren rushed for 67 yards and a touchdown for the Knights (9-2).