Quarterback Nate Snead passed for four touchdowns and ran for another—and the Central College football team needed them all Saturday, turning back a fierce challenge from preseason Iowa Conference favorite Wartburg College for a 41-33 victory, clinching an outright championship.
The win completes a 10-0 season for the Dutch, their 17th perfect regular season. Central is also assured of its 20th NCAA Division III playoff. Central, which has a bye week next week, completes the conference schedule with an 8-0 mark. It’s a record 30th league title for the Dutch.
Central’s Snead completed 18 of 21 passes for 202 yards without an interception. He also rushed for 82 yards on 18 carries, picking up several crucial first downs.
Wartburg outgained Central 461 yards to 419. The Dutch passed for 202 yards and ran for 217.
Wartburg made a determined effort to stop running back David Zachary in the first half and he was limited to just 16 yards on eight carries, but he finished strong, gaining 147 yards and a touchdown on 20 attempts overall.
Meanwhile, Wartburg quarterback Nick Yordi kept the heat on, connecting on 28-of-38 for 334 yards and a touchdown. He threw no interceptions and was sacked just once, although he did lose the ball on an errant shotgun snap in the third quarter, stifling a Wartburg drive and setting up a Central score.
With the running game limited in the first half, the Dutch were forced to go to the air, and did so smoothly.
Central awaits word regarding its seed and opponent in the 32-team NCAA Division III playoff field which will be announced Sunday, Nov. 15. First-round games will be played Saturday, Nov. 21. Earlier in the week Central was ranked No. 4 in the West Region.