ALLIANCE, Ohio Junior quarterback Matt Piloto (Rotonda West Fla.Lemon Bay) completed 18 of 23 passes for 206 yards, and junior running back Jeremy Murray (Martins FerryMartins Ferry) rushed for 64 yards and three touchdowns to lead No. 2-ranked Mount Union (AFCA and D3football.com) to a 47-7 victory over Benedictine (Ill.) in a NCAA Division III first-round playoff game at Mount Union Stadium on Saturday.
Junior running back Blair Skilliter (CurticeGenoa) added 67 yards rushing and two scores for the Purple Raiders (11-0), who will play Centre (Ky.) (10-1) on Nov. 26. The site of the game will be announced on Sunday.
Senior linebacker Arthur Smith (Miami, Fla.Killian) returned an interception 44 yards for a touchdown.
Murray scored a pair of first-quarter touchdowns, from 2 and 3 yards, and senior kicker Tyler Almeida (ElyriaElyria) added the extra points as Mount Union took a 14-0 lead into the second period.
The Purple Raiders extended their advantage to 27-0 in the second quarter on a 2-yard touchdown run by Blair Skilliter and Smith's interception return. On his play Smith dropped back in coverage and stepped in front of the pass.
"That was kind of a decisive play in the game," said Mount Union coach Larry Kehres. "We were planning what to do if we got the ball back on offense, then suddenly we have seven points. When those plays go for you it's a big, big plus."
Benedictine got on the board with a 10-play, 51-yard drive, capped by Matt Brown's 3-yard scoring pass to Brandin Austin with 9:38 remaining in the third quarter.
But the Purple Raiders scored touchdowns on each of their next three possessions.
Murray finished an eight-play, 59-yard drive with a 2-yard TD run, his third of the game, to make it 33-7. Then Skilliter found the end zone from the 2 to culminate an 11-play, 88-yard drive, with 13:28 left in the fourth quarter to give Mount Union a 40-7 lead.
Jake Simon found the end zone on a 1-yard run with 9:20 to go to give the Purple Raiders a 47-7 lead.
Mount Union finished with 444 total yards, including 238 rushing.
"We really didn't have any big or flashy plays," said Piloto. "We were just really consistent."
The Purple Raiders held Benedictine to 203 total yards, including 112 on the ground.
John Borsellino led Benedictine with 79 yards on 15 carries, including a long run of 52 yards. Quarterback Matt Brown was 8 of 20 for 91 yards and a touchdown.
"We played a really good football team," said Benedictine coach Jon Cooper. "What we saw watching in film of Mount Union was that some opponents played scared. We emphasized to our team just to take it one play at a time. We wanted to compete, and I think we did that."
The victory was the 314th for Kehres in his career, tying him with Amos Alonzo Stagg and Roy Kidd for No. 7 all-time in college football.