Missouri Valley College scored twice off Benedictine turnovers on Saturday as the Vikings held off a second-half offensive surge by the Ravens to take the battle of NAIA Top 15 programs 29-22.
Benedictine (2-2, 1-1 Heart) scored 22 points in the second half to pull within a touchdown of Missouri Valley (2-1, 2-0 Heart) before the Vikings were able to capitalize on a fourth-quarter turnover to pull out the win.
Defensively, Missouri Valley limited Benedictine to just 146 yards of total offense at the half. Meanwhile, the Vikings took a balanced offensive approach to gain 182 yards en route to the 19-0 advantage at the half.
Missouri Valley extended their lead on a 25-yard field goal midway through the third quarter before Benedictine scored 15-unanswered points to pull within a touchdown early in the fourth quarter.
Benedictine got on the scoreboard with just over two minutes left in the third quarter on a two-yard rush from fullback Tony Albomonte.
Minutes into the fourth quarter, Kenny Barrow scored on a one-yard rush. A penalty prior to the point after attempt by Missouri Valley gave Benedictine a chance to pull within a touchdown as they accepted the penalty and converted the two-point conversion on a rush by Tyler Henness.
Missouri Valley scored their lone touchdown of the second half with five minutes left in the game to pull back ahead by 14 points.
The two teams finished with almost identical offensive numbers each passing for 182 yards while the Vikings held a slight edge in rushing, 172-170.
Henness led the Raven rushing attack with 113 yards off 22 carries, pushing him over the 100-yard mark for the fourth straight game.
Harmyk threw for all 182 yards off 18 completitions while throwing three interceptions.
Rzucidlo led the Raven receivers with 98 yards off 10 receptions. Rzucidlo finished with 169 yards of all-purpose yardage as he finished returned two kickoffs for 53 yards and three punts for 18 yards.
Josh Montgomery led the Ravens defense with 14 tackles and was in on a tackle for a loss while forcing a fumble. Josh Rhodes also forced a fumble with Jordan Colonius and Burl Brisbane picking up the fumble recoveries. Colonius and Alex Hibler tallied a sack each for a total loss of eight yards.
The Ravens remain at home next week for a 1 p.m. game against Evangel University back on O'Malley Field. Evangel needed overtime on Saturday to earn a 24-21 win on the road over Peru State College. The Crusaders are 3-1 overall and 1-1 in the Heart.