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Regents Fall at First-Place Spartans

LaVar Johnson Jr.
LaVar Johnson Jr.

AURORA, Ill. - The Rockford University football team (1-6, 0-4 NACC) fell 56-14 on the road Saturday afternoon to the first-place Aurora University Spartans (6-1, 4-0 NACC). The Regents and Spartans battled to a 7-7 tie at the end of the first quarter, before Aurora seized control of the game. The Spartans outscored Rockford 42-0 in the second quarter to put the game out of reach. Aurora quarterback Gavin Zimbelman threw seven touchdown passes for the fourth time this season, tying the NACC single game record and helping the Spartans remain unbeaten in conference play.

  • The first big play of the day came from the Regent defense on Aurora's opening possession. The Spartans methodically moved the ball down the field until they had a first and ten at the RU 20-yard line. After an eight yard run on first down, the Spartans had back-to-back incomplete passes, setting up a fourth and two. Zimbelman would complete the fourth down pass to Jewell; however, Rockford's Brendyn Ford stopped him short of the line to gain, forcing a turnover on downs. 
  • Following a Rockford punt, the Spartans scored the first points of the afternoon. Zimbelman went a perfect 4-for-4 on the drive, capped off by 19-yard touchdown pass to give Aurora a 7-0 lead.
  • The Regents responded right back with a touchdown of their own on the very next possession. Rockford used 10 plays to cover 71 yards, all of them on the ground, to tie the game at 7-7. LaVar Johnson Jr. carried the load on the drive, accounting 49 yards on just five carries, including a three-yard touchdown plunge. 
  • Things seemed to be swinging in Rockford's favor, as the Spartans fumbled the ensuing kickoff. Jamal Seymore Jr. was Johnny-on-the-spot, recovering the fumble at the Aurora 14-yard line. However, a penalty would push the ball back to AU 29-yard line, which is where the Regent offense would take over. 
  • Rockford moved the ball inside the Spartan 10-yard line and was ultimately faced with a fourth and goal from the eight. Unfortunately, the Regents missed the 25-yard field goal, giving the ball back to Aurora. 
  • The Rockford defense was again up to the task, forcing a three-and-out and giving the ball right back to its offense. 
  • Quarterback Christian Mazurkiewicz guided the RU offense into the red zone on the ensuing possession. Mazurkiewicz went 2-for-2 for 38 yards, including a 22-yard strike to tight end Adam Ambrogio. Unfortunately, the Regents would fumble the ball at the 14-yard line, giving it back to the AU offense. 
  • Aurora then scored 42 straight points in the second quarter to take a commanding 49-7 lead into the break. The Spartans took advantage of three Rockford fumbles, an interception run back for a touchdown and turnover on downs to score their 42 points. 
  • The second half got off to an excellent start for the Regents. Aurora fumbled on its second play of the third quarter, and Rockford's Takhari Bowens was right there to jump on the ball at the Spartan 24-yard line. Three plays later, LaVar Johnson Jr. scampered 18 yards into the end zone for his second touchdown of the day. Gerardo Zamudio converted the point after to make it a 49-14 game. 
  • Aurora answered right back with a touchdown of its own on its very next possession. The Spartans went 66 yards on eight plays, capped off by Zimbelman's seventh touchdown pass of the day, to make it a 56-14 Spartan lead. 
  • Neither team was able to score for the remainder of the game, as Aurora stayed unbeaten in NACC play. 

  • LaVar Johnson Jr. had 20 carries for a game-high 119 yards and 2 touchdowns. 
  • Jallen Bashford finished with a team-high 11 tackles and 1 fumble recovery. Bashford has been a tackling machine thus far this season. He currently leads all NCAA Division III football players in both total tackles (104) and tackles per game (14.9). Bashford also broke the Rockford University single-season tackles record on Saturday and is the only Regent to ever record more than 100 tackles in a single season.
  • Jamal Seymore Jr. intercepted a pass, recovered a fumble, had 2 tackles and a pass breakup. 
  • Takhari Bowens recovered a fumbled and made 2 tackles.

The RU football team returns to the field on Saturday, November 2 at Concordia University Wisconsin. Kickoff is set for 1 PM.