Nick Kukuc rushed for a career-high 250 yards in 20 carries, leading North Central Illinois to a 41-21 victory over Cal Lutheran in the first round of the NCAA Division III playoffs.
The Cardinals (9-2) won for the fifth consecutive time in the first round of the postseason, putting up 528 total yards and establishing control early with a 24-point first quarter. Kukuc went 79 yards for a touchdown on the Cardinals' second play from scrimmage.
North Central's defense held Cal Lutheran (8-2) to 324 total yards, roughly 200 below the Kingsmen's season average, and forced four turnovers while recording four sacks.
Zach Shultis completed 18 of 26 passes for 171 yards for Cal Lutheran. Eric Rogers caught nine passes for 111 yards and two scores.
North Central will face Linfield in the second round next week.