The Nassau Community College Lions dealt Northland Community & Technical College a 46-6 setback at the Red Grange Bowl game on Saturday, December 1 at Bjarne Ullsvik Stadium on the campus of the College of DuPage.
In a contest played in intermittent rainstorms, the Lions put the Pioneers on their heels from the first possession en route to their bowl victory. Nassau scored on three of their first four possessions and went on to ride a balanced offense and stingy defense to move past Northland in the third annual game designed to celebrate non-scholarship junior college football.
The Lions were able to set the tone early, as on their first possession, driving 65 yards on seven plays in just under three minutes, finished off by NCC quarterback Steven Genova three-yard TD run.
An onside kick recovered by Nassau immediately after the first score denied Northland the chance to respond to the Lions's game opening touchdown and later in the first quarter a Pioneers' fumble allowed for Nassau's Billy Rousakis to connect on his first field goal of the season, hitting from 32 yards for a 10-0 Lion's lead with 7:55 left in the opening quarter. Shortly thereafter, Northland's deficit increased to 17-0 when Jeremiah Nelson completed a 10-play, 53-yard drive for Nassau on a one-yard touchdown plunge.
Northland (8-3) and NCC (8-3) both connected on touchdowns in the second quarter, as the Pioneers' were able to avoid the shutout on the day thanks to quarterback Craig Wells' one-yard touchdown run.
Nassau outscored Northland 22-0 in the second half with touchdowns from Joshua Okechukwu, a 55-yard touchdown throw from Rashad Tucker, a 29-yard rushing TD from Nelson and a one-yard run from Jude Innocent.
Northland's appearance in the Red Grange Bowl mark the third time Minnesota College Athletic Conference has sent a team to the Glen Ellyn campus; Central Lakes College fell to the College of DuPage in 2016, 25-22 in OT and Mesabi Range College lost to COD last season, 35-0.
As noted by the College of DuPage, the third annual game recognizes one of the all-time greats in Red Grange, who spent most of his childhood in Wheaton and attended Wheaton High School, where he played football, baseball, basketball and ran track. He earned 16 varsity letters during his tenure and, as a high school junior, scored 36 touchdowns and led the school to an undefeated season. The two-time NFL champion football halfback played for the University of Illinois, the Chicago Bears and, for a short-time, the New York Yankees.
The Red Grange Bowl is made possible in part with support from the Illinois National Guard, Evviva Restaurant, Hilton Hotel Lisle, Packey Webb Ford, Ellyn's Tap & Grill, Glen Ellyn Walmart Supercenter, Riddell, Sportsdecals, Field Turf and BSN Sports.
College of DuPage is a member of the National Junior College Athletic Association, National Junior College Athletic Association Region IV and North Central Community College Conference (N4C). The College's Athletics program offers nine men's and eight women's sports teams each year, including outdoor track and field, indoor track and field, cross country, football, volleyball, golf, basketball, tennis, baseball, softball and soccer.
The 2018 Red Grange Bowl Scoring Plays:
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For MCAC statistical leaders, go to: http://www.mcacsports.org/sports/fball/2018-19/leaders
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About the Minnesota College Athletic Conference
The Minnesota College Athletic Conference is the organizational body for NJCAA-affiliated two-year technical and community college athletic programs in the Minnesota State system. The mission of the Minnesota College Athletic Conference is to advance intercollegiate athletics by providing an engaging and supportive environment for success of our student athletes and competition among member institutions. The MCAC is committed to the guiding principles of encouraging the development and success of student athletes, promoting the integrity, honesty and loyalty to member schools as well as upholding the sustainability of conference athletic programs.