2015 NCAA Division 3 Football Playoff Round 2 Predictions
The NCAA Division 3 Football Playoffs has been cut in half from 32 teams in Round 1 to 16 for Round 2. The First Round saw a 14-2 record in predicting the winners and we hope to make it 22-2 after Round 2. The full schedule for the second round can be found here and the updated bracket is here.
A prediction for each game, by region, is below.
St. Thomas (MN) Region
St. John’s (MN) (10-1) at St. Thomas (MN) (11-0)
Both of these teams easily dispatched their first round opponents at home with St. John’s winning by 44 and St. Thomas winning by 43. These two teams also met in the regular season with St. Thomas using a big second half to win 35-14 on the road. Jordan Roberts ran for 230 yards and 4 touchdowns in that game while the defense forced three turnovers. With this being a home game for St. Thomas, they are the pick to win again but in close contest. St. Thomas takes this one 34-24.
Thomas More (11-0) at Wabash (11-0)
Thomas More won their opening round game by 30 at home against Washington & Lee while Wabash overcame a slow start to win 35-14 over Albion at home. There are two contrasting styles at play here. Wabash has a very good defense giving up only 90 points the entire season to this point and Thomas More has a very good offense putting up 556 points this year (about 50 per game) and have not put up less than 36 points in a game. Thomas More will need to stop Mason Zurek who ran to the tune of 326 yards and 4 scores last week. We like Wabash to win this one at home 31-21.
Cortland State (9-2) at Linfield (10-0)
Cortland State won their first round game comfortably against Salisbury 45-21 thanks to 447 yards and 3 touchdowns by Steven Ferreira, who only threw 6 incompletions. Linfield took care of business against Whitworth at home 48-10 with another strong defensive performance. Linfield has yet to surrender more than 14 points in a game this season, but it will take more than reaching that threshold to even test them. Linfield should cruise again by a score of 49-10.
Huntingdon (10-1) at Mary Hardin-Baylor (10-1)
Huntingdon beat Hendrix at home last week 38-27 with a balanced attack of 230 yards passing and 239 yards rushing. Mary Hardin-Baylor avenged their only loss of the season on the road last week against Hardin-Simmons 37-19. It took until the second quarter for them to get on the board, but they scored 23 unanswered points to take command 23-7 and led 37-13 late into the fourth quarter. With this game being at Mary Hardin-Baylor and the crusaders being a superior team, they will move on to the Quarterfinals with a 44-20 win.
Mount Union Region
Albright (10-1) at Mount Union (11-0)
Albright was never in trouble at home against an overmatched Norwich team and destroyed them 49-0. Mount Union cruised to a 55-23 win and gave up their most points of the season. Those points, however, came in the fourth quarter when the game was no longer in doubt. This game will also not be in doubt at that point with Mount Union winning 63-13.
Wesley (10-1) at Johns Hopkins (11-0)
This is one of the more tantalizing matchups of the second round. Wesley won their first round game at home by a score of 42-22 over Framingham State. Meanwhile, Johns Hopkins won 52-20 at home against Western New England. The last time these two met was in 2013 in the opening round of the Playoffs. Wesley won that game on the road by a score of 29-24 and a close game like that is expected again. This time, we will take Johns Hopkins to breakthrough by a score of 49-45 in a game that could easily be won by Wesley as well.
Ohio Northern (9-2) at Wisconsin-Oshkosh (10-1)
Ohio Northern won last week on the road 27-22 with a thrilling comeback. They trailed 16-0 at half and scored the game winning touchdown with just over five minutes to play. UW-Oshkosh took care of St. Scholastica 48-0 for their fourth shutout of the year. Ohio Northern will find it hard to score on one of the top teams in Division 3 and that is why UW-Oshkosh is the pick here. Oshkosh takes this game by a score of 35-3.
Wisconsin-Whitewater (10-1) at Wheaton (IL) (11-0)
Along with the Wesley-Johns Hopkins game, this is one of the better games on the schedule for round 2. Whitewater had no problems with St. Norbert at home in a 48-0 win while Wheaton won 55-6 at home against Lakeland. Both teams like to put up points on offense and both play some good defense, which makes this such an intriguing game. It is incredibly rare to see Whitewater have a road game at all in the playoffs, but especially this early. Still, they can win this game. We will take Wheaton to win at home 20-17.