NEW ULM, Minn. — Junior running back LeAnthony Reasnover ran for 252 yards and scored a school-record seven rushing touchdowns Saturday, leading Eureka College's football team past Martin Luther 63-26 to secure at least a share of the Red Devils' first-ever Upper Midwest Athletic Conference championship.
Eureka College (8-2, 8-1) earned its first trip to the NCAA Division III playoffs. The Red Devils are league champions for the first time since winning the Illini-Badger Football Conference crown in 1995.
Reasnover scored on runs of 4, 58, 56, 1, 13, 4 and 31 yards while amassing his yardage on 25 carries. The big game came a week after Reasnover broke Eureka College's career, season and single-game rushing records.
He narrowly missed equaling the single-game Division III record of eight rushing touchdowns set by Coe's Carey Bender against Beloit on Nov. 12, 1994.
Reasnover led the Red Devils to 502 yards of total offense. Eureka led 36-26 at halftime and the defense kept the Knights (5-5, 4-5) off the scoreboard in the second half.
Eureka raced to an 8-0 lead eight plays into the game when Reasnover scored on a 4-yard run. The Knights answered when Ian Paulsen threw a 73-yard touchdown pass to Josh Arndt on their first play from scrimmage.
Martin Luther used another quick scoring drive later in the quarter to earn its only lead of the afternoon. Paulsen broke free on a 73-yard run for a 12-8 lead. Reasnover answered on Eureka's next play from scrimmage, a 58-yard touchdown run, and the Red Devils reclaimed a 15-12 advantage.
They did not relinquish the lead again.
Chris Friend led the Eureka defense with nine tackles and also intercepted a pass. Trevor Zeibert added eight tackles, while Ross Royal and Macae Skaggs had six each for a defense that combined for eight tackles for loss.
Eureka quarterback Nick Holman completed seven passes to seven different receivers for 115 yards. Josh Kuse of Heyworth led the receiving corps with 38 yards.
The victory was Eureka's eighth in a row, its longest in-season win streak since 1991. The Red Devils will receive the UMAC's automatic bid to the NCAA Division III playoffs. It is their first national postseason appearance since going to the NAIA playoffs in 1994.
Eureka will learn its first-round playoff opponent on Nov. 12. The Red Devils will begin play in the Division III playoffs first round on Nov. 18, their first postseason game since dropping a 41-14 NAIA playoffs game at Tiffin (Ohio) on Nov. 19, 1994.