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Kingsmen Give Ground but Take 37-32 Victory

College football: Amin passes for Division III record 731 yards but Menlo winds up five short of end zone.


THOUSAND OAKS — When are 731 passing yards not enough to win a game?

When you need 736.

Zamir Amin of Menlo College passed for an NCAA record 731 yards, but Giovanni Toccagino was tackled on the five-yard line as time expired, allowing Cal Lutheran to escape with a 37-32 nonconference victory Saturday.

The previous record was 716 yards, set by David Klingler of Houston against Arizona State on Dec. 2, 1990.

Amin, a generously listed 5-foot-10 senior from Fremont, completed 39 of 66 passes and four touchdowns, but had three passes intercepted in the second half.

Menlo (2-3), coached by Doug Cosbie, former Dallas Cowboy tight end, has three receivers at least 6-3. Amin, continually threw the ball downfield, allowing his tall receivers to make big plays.

"I would much rather have the victory than the record," Amin said. "I don't care if I passed for 1,000 yards, I just want to win."

The Kingsmen avenged a 41-38 overtime loss to the Oaks at Menlo last season.

Cal Lutheran (2-2) took a 21-0 lead less than 12 minutes into the game, but Menlo scored 26 consecutive points to take a lead early in the third quarter.

"We need to be more careful after getting a big lead, but let me tell you, correcting that flaw is much easier after a win," said Coach Scott Squires of Cal Lutheran.

"We were going to play a bend-but-don't-break defense. Our safeties, Sean McGaughey and Pat Casteel, came to play."

With Cal Lutheran leading, 27-26, early in the fourth quarter, Casteel blocked Nathan Jackson's 38-yard field-goal attempt, and the Kingsmen took advantage, getting a 44-yard field goal from Ryan Geisler with 9:18 remaining.

After Menlo was stopped on downs, Chris Czernek completed a 34-yard pass to Chris Dingman on third and eight, and Czernek ran the option to perfection, racing 43 yards for a touchdown two plays later for a 37-26 lead with 3:33 left.

"We were hoping Chris would pop that play for six yards, not 43," Squires said. "But it was sure nice."

Amin's 24-yard touchdown pass to Eddie Miller made it 37-32 with 2:09 left. McGaughey, who had two second-half interceptions, recovered the onside kick, but Cal Lutheran was forced to punt with 1:32 left.

Starting from the Oaks' 35-yard line, Amin completed four passes to get to the Kingsmen 16-yard line with 10 seconds left. McGaughey knocked down a pass in the end zone intended for Miller with five seconds remaining, and Toccagino, who caught two 18-yard touchdowns, caught a pass at the five-yard line but was tackled immediately.

Czernek completed 21 of 38 passes for 303 yards and two touchdowns. Brian Woodworth had seven receptions for 174 yards and one touchdown.

Menlo out-gained the Kingsmen, 733-543.

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