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Azusa Pacific loses final NAIA game, falling to Carroll in playoffs

Defending NAIA national champion Carroll College of Montana rallies for a 17-14 quarterfinal victory over Azusa Pacific, which is moving up to NCAA Division II level next season.

November 26, 2011|Staff and wire reports

Before, it only seemed like Azusa Pacific might never beat Montana's Carroll College in football.

Now it's official.

In its last NAIA game before moving to the NCAA Division II level, Azusa Pacific dropped a 17-14 decision to Carroll in a playoff quarterfinal Saturday in Helena, Mont.

The Cougars led the defending national champions until late in the game, but Carroll produced a clock-eating, game-winning 18-play, 78-yard drive that chewed up 8 minutes 25 seconds and ended in a one-yard touchdown run by Chance Demarais with 1:51 left in the game.

Joe Dunning intercepted a John van den Raadt pass to seal the win.

Second-ranked Carroll (12-1) improved to 7-0 in its series against Azusa Pacific. The Saints also ended the Cougars' 2010 season in the first round of the playoffs.

Eighth-ranked Azusa Pacific finished 9-3.

Demarais, who entered the game leading the NAIA in rushing with 1,502 yards, ran for 128 yards in 30 carries.

Azusa Pacific outgained Carroll, 336-276, running for 233 of those yards.

The Cougars rushed for 125 yards in the first quarter alone, and touchdown runs of five yards by Johnell Murphy and three yards by Terrel Watson gave them the early lead.

But three turnovers and two missed field goals assured that the Cougars wouldn't score. Murphy finished with 128 yards rushing and Watson ran for 71 yards.

Staff writer Mike Hiserman wrote this story from Los Angeles.

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