St. X grad an NCAA-record holder for Division III's Hanover

Daniel Passafiume was feeling the effects Sunday of the greatest football game he's ever played. His body ached and the pinkie on his left hand was swollen to about three times its normal size.

Passing Jerry Rice in the NCAA record book is hard work. Passafiume, a receiver for Division III Hanover College in Indiana, caught 25 passes Saturday to break a record that was shared by Rice, the former San Francisco 49ers star.

"I'm really beat up," Passafiume, who played in high school at St. Xavier, said in a phone interview from his dorm room.

And really thrilled.

"Jerry Rice, that's just crazy," he said. "I'm still shocked."

Rice, the NFL's career leader in touchdowns, receptions and yards receiving, set the previous NCAA all-division record for catches in a game with 24 in 1983 for Mississippi Valley State against Southern University. Chas Gessner tied it in 2002 for Brown against Rhode Island.

Passafiume knew he had set the school record with his 19th catch in the third quarter because it was announced in the stadium. But not until after the game did Hanover Coach Joe Austin let the sophomore know he had passed an even more momentous mark.

"After the game Coach came up to me and said that it might have been an NCAA record. I said, 'No way,'" he said.

Passafiume grabbed his 25th reception with about a minute and a half left in Hanover's 42-28 loss to Franklin College in the season finale.

Passafiume, who checks in at 5-foot-10 and 170 pounds, is the slot receiver in Hanover's no-huddle attack.

"He's not a big kid, but he's really tough. He's pretty shifty so he doesn't take a ton of big licks," Austin said.

Passafiume said he was invited to walk-on by a few Division I programs, including West Virginia. But he wasn't sure he wanted to put in the work football required, so he instead decided to attend the University of Louisville and give up the game.

A year away made him realize how much he missed it, and that led him to Hanover, which has won 21 conference titles since 1948.

"He's a little better than what you usually find at Division III," Austin said. "The thing that held him back was his size. He definitely would be a standout at the Division II level. For us, he's a really good player."

Cumberlands to open NAIA playoffs on road

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Cumberlands, the Mid-South Conference East Division champions, was 9-1 overall and 5-1 in the conference.

Southern Cal takes major drop in poll

After another humiliating loss, Southern California tumbled to its worst ranking since Pete Carroll's Trojans began their run as one of college football's best programs in 2002. USC is No. 22 in The Associated Press Top 25 released Sunday, dropping 11 spots after losing 55-21 to Stanford. The Trojans have been ranked in 128 consecutive media polls dating to the start of the 2002 season, but not this low.