FROSTBURG -- Frostburg State took another step toward its first appearance in the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division III football playoffs by pounding Bethany College, 55-14, yesterday at Bobcat Stadium.
Frostburg (9-0), which will complete its regular season Saturday at Waynesburg and is ranked No. 3 in the South Region, gained a school-record 528 yards rushing and limited the Bison (1-7-1) to 85 yards on the ground. The old rushing record was 461, set this season against Catholic University.
Bethany scored the first time it got the ball, returning the opening kickoff 49 yards to the Frostburg 46 and scoring seven plays later when quarterback Jeff Mattis hit tailback Chaurice Smith with a 12-yard touchdown pass. Scott Wieland added the extra point, and Frostburg trailed for the first time in a game this season, 7-0.
But the Bobcats, who almost made the Bison an endangered species, scored six touchdowns before Bethany scored again -- against second-stringers.
Warren Tweedy returned the ensuing kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown, breaking the FSU record of 96 yards, set by Jim Centofoli in 1972. Tweedy later had an 81-yard touchdown return that was nullified because of a clipping penalty.
"Tweedy's kickoff return was a very big play for us," said Frostburg coach Dennis Riccio. "It took the momentum and emotion away from Bethany and gave it back to us."
Frostburg went on to score 34 points in the first half.
Quarterback Mike Jones directed the fired-up offense, scoring a pair of touchdowns. Rory McTigue also scored twice for the Bobcats and rushed for 83 yards on 10 carries.
"I was very pleased with the play of our special teams and our offense," said Riccio. "They did a great job. We have so many backs that can perform that we don't lose anything when we get down to our third line. We have great speed, perhaps the best in Division III at the skill positions and in team speed."
Fourteen backs carried the ball for the Bobcats, and all gained yardage.
"McTigue has been a big offensive factor for us all year," said Riccio.