Melikke Van Alstyne did everything he could but it still wasn’t enough to give Framingham State a win in the Rams’ first NCAA Division 3 playoff appearance.
Van Alstyne rushed for 227 yards and two touchdowns on 31 carries but Cortland State escaped with a 20-19 win when Phil Clain’s tying extra-point try hit the left upright with 3:38 to go Saturday in Cortland, N.Y.
The Rams closed the most successful season in school history at 10-2, which included their first New England Football Conference title.
The Red Dragons improved to 9-1 and advance to face Wesley next weekend in the second round. Wesley blasted Mount Ida, 73-14, in their NCAA opener in Dover, Del.
Cortland State appeared to take command when Chris Rose hit Kordel McInnis with a 10-yard TD pass that put the Red Dragons ahead, 17-6, with 2:10 left in the third quarter.
But Van Alstyne, who finished his junior season with 1,790 rushing yards to break the school mark (1,579) he set last season, wasn’t done.
After John O’Connell returned a punt 42 yards to the Cortland State 4, Van Alstyne scored on the first play. Framingham State went for 2 and Van Alstyne again ran it in, but a holding penalty negated the play and the Rams kicked the extra point to cut it to 17-13 a minute into the fourth quarter.
Cortland State increased its lead to 7 on Mike DeBole’s 23-yard field goal with 5:24 left, but again the Rams answered, driving 79 yards in five plays, with Van Alstyne going the final 3 yards for his second TD. But Clain’s PAT hit the left upright and the Rams never got the ball back.
Widener 44, Bridgewater St. 14 — The host Pride (10-0) broke away from a 7-7 halftime tie to dominate the Bears (9-2), who were limited to 195 total yards in an NCAA Division 3 opening-round playoff game.
Wesley 73, Mount Ida 14 — Justin Sottilare passed for 267 yards and six touchdowns and the host Wolverines (9-1) crushed the Mustangs (8-3), who were outgained, 514 yards to 111, in an NCAA Division 3 opening-round playoff game.
Holy Cross 24, Georgetown 0 — Wide receiver Gerald Mistretta caught two TD passes and also ran for a score and the visiting Crusaders (2-9, 2-3 Patriot) closed out a disappointing season with a solid win over the Hoyas (5-6, 2-3).
Towson 64, New Hampshire 35 — Terrance West rushed for 236 yards and two touchdowns and the visiting Tigers (7-4, 6-2 Colonial Athletic) exploded for 34 second-half points to rout the Wildcats. Andy Vailas rushed for 110 yards to lead UNH (8-3, 6-2), including a 77-yard touchdown run on the game’s first play from scrimmage.
Maine 55, Rhode Island 6 — Marcus Wasilewski threw four touchdown passes, Nigel Jones scored twice on the ground, and the visiting Black Bears (5-6, 4-4 Colonial Athletic) blasted to a 34-6 halftime lead and never looked back in dismantling the winless Rams (0-11, 0-8).
Brown 22, Columbia 6 — Patrick Donnelly threw for 225 yards and three touchdowns and the Bears (7-3, 4-3 Ivy) halted the Lions (3-7, 2-5) in Providence.
Dartmouth 35, Princeton 21 — Dalyn Williams tossed three touchdown passes and ran for another score as the visiting Big Green (6-4, 4-3 Ivy) erased an early 14-0 deficit and cruised past the Tigers (5-5, 4-3).
Bucknell 24, Bryant 21 — Jordan Harris caught eight passes for 179 yards and two touchdowns, his fifth consecutive game over 100 yards, but it wasn’t enough to get the visiting Bulldogs (4-7) past the Bison (3-8).
St. Francis (Pa.) 44, Sacred Heart 24 — John Kelly threw three touchdown passes and ran for another to lead the host Red Flash (5-6, 4-4 Northeast) to the easy win over the Pioneers (2-9, 1-7).
Albany 63, Central Conn. St. 34 — Drew Smith ran for three touchdowns and the host Great Danes (9-2, 7-1) trounced the Blue Devils (2-8, 2-5) to win a share of their sixth straight Northeast Conference title.
Endicott 34, Norwich 14 — Drew Frenette passed for 248 yards and two TDs and the host Gulls (9-2) beat the Cadets to win the Division 3 ECAC North Atlantic Bowl for the second straight year.
Springfield 31, Alfred 8 — Freshman quarterback Jonathan Marrero rushed for 160 yards and two TDs and the host Pride (8-3) routed the Saxons (6-4) in the ECAC Division 3 Northeast Bowl.