MCMINNVILLE Linfield rallied from an early 14-0 deficit to win its NCAA Division III second-round game at home Saturday 31-21 over Hamden-Sydney of Virginia.
The Wildcats, ranked No. 2 and 3 in the two national polls, trailed the unranked Tigers 21-10 at halftime, but came on strong to earn a spot in next week's quarterfinals. Linfield's next opponent will be No. 5 Wisconsin-Whitewater, which won 33-3 at home Saturday over Franklin.
Linfield improved to 11-0, while Hampden-Sydney, which had won its first playoff game ever last week, finished at 9-3.
The Tigers outgained Linfield 415-375 thanks to their aerial show, which produced 388 yards. Hampden-Sydney ran for only 27 yards (1.4 per carry), but the visitors held Linfield to 130 on the ground (2.9 average). The 'Cats threw for 245 yards.
Linfield quarterback Josh Yoder compelted 17 of 35 but had three interceptions, two at the end zone in the first half.
Tigers QB Nash Nance was 29 of 49, with one pick, and ace receiver Holton Walker grabbed eight balls for 164 yards and one TD.
A Hampden-Sydney fumble at its 32-yard line led to a Linfield TD late in the third quarter that cut the Wildcats' deficit to 21-17.
Linfield took the lead for good on the second play of the fourth quarter, when running back Josh Hill tossed a 2-yard pass to tight end Westly Meng on second-and-goal.
The score stayed 24-21 for Linfield until the 6:18 mark of the fourth quarter, when Nash was fumbled on a sack at third-and-10 from the Tigers' 1, and Dom Forrest for a touchdown.