Marian falls 40-38 to Morningside in NAIA national title game

Published:
Updated:

GRAMBLING, La. (AP) - Joe Dolincheck threw six touchdown passes, Arnijae Ponder had 30 carries for 130 yards, and Morningside beat Marian 40-38 to claim its second consecutive NAIA national championship.

Dolincheck was 30-of-44 passing for 304 yards with an interception. Reid Jurgensmeier had seven receptions for 102 yards and two scores and Bo Els caught 11 passes for 98 yards and two TDs for No. 1 seed Morningside.

Marian quarterback Ethan Darter finished 19-for-43 for 291 yards, five touchdowns and one interception. His passing yards were a season-high and his five touchdowns were a career-high.

The Knights last scored with 1:04 to go to cut their deficit to two, but Morningside recovered Marian's onside kick and ran out the clock.

The Mustangs have won 29 consecutive games since losing 43-36 to Saint Francis in the 2017 semifinals and haven't lost a regular-season game since a 35-21 loss to Wisconsin-Whitewater on Sept. 24, 2016.