Tag Archives: St. John’s (MN)

St. Thomas Division I Move Still In Limbo

The University of St. Thomas is currently attempting to move from Division III to Division I, but a decision on whether that will be allowed won’t happen until June.

The NCAA has decided to postpone the decision on the double division leap originally scheduled for later this month. The NCAA is focusing on issues related to the current coronavirus pandemic.

The NCAA banned schools from making the double jump in 2011 due to the scholarship differences between the two division. Division I allows scholarships to be given to athletes while Division III does not.

Saint Thomas is now looking at joining the Summit League starting with the 2021-22 season after receiving an invitation from the conference. The Summit League does not sponsor football leaving the Tommies to find yet another home within Division I for their gridiron program. The Pioneer Football League and Missouri Valley Football Conference have been cited as possible destinations though nothing has been confirmed by UST.

The circumstances around St. Thomas’ attempted move are unique. The Tommies were removed by the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) citing “competitive advantages” for UST. The Tommies were champions or co-champions of the MIAC 7 times in the last decade under the direction of head coach Glenn Caruso.

It is worth noting that the MIAC is also has Saint John’s as a member. The Johnnies dominated the conference in the 1990s and 2000s; they were champions or co-champions 7 times in the 1990s and another 7 times in the 2000s. The hypocrisy has been explored elsewhere, though it has also been reported that Johnnies would have voted against kicking out UST.

While football is the top sport for the majority of colleges and universities, the Tommies rule over the MIAC extended to other sports as well.

The normal process for St. Thomas to move from Division III to Division I would include a 5 year stop at the Division II level. The entire process would take 12 years (3 years transitionining to Division II, a 5 year stay in Division II, and then a 4 year transition process to Division I). The Tommies could conceivably have to wait until the 2030s to be fully eligible to participate in Division I and be able to reach the postseason if their waiver fails, but they are still intent on moving to Division I.

St. Thomas also has options to stay Division III or consider moving up to Division II. The move to Division I would require a larger investment to facilities, scholarships, and travel costs as well as potential scholarship costs to meet division eligibility.

We’ll find out how the NCAA views the viability of the Division III to Division I path in June. Hopefully.

Photo courtesy of the University of St. Thomas Athletics.

2016 NCAA Division 3 Football Playoff Round 2 Predictions

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2016 NCAA Division 3 Football Playoff Round 2 Predictions

A wonderful opening round of the Division 3 Football playoff has been completed and the field is down to 16 teams. Those teams will play this weekend in the second round for the right to be in the Quarterfinals. An updated bracket can be found here.

Below are predictions for each of the 8 games and we will go by quadrant starting with Mary Hardin-Baylor. In the opening round, we correctly predicted 12 of the 16 games.

Mary Hardin-Baylor Region

Linfield (9-1) at Mary Hardin-Baylor (11-0)

Game Time: 1 PM Eastern

Linfield went to Texas in the opening round and defeated Hardin-Simmons 24-10. They shut down Hardin-Simmons’ run game allowing only 15 yards. Sam Riddle threw for 367 yards with 1 touchdown with 11 completions to Reed Peterson for 207 yards and 1 touchdown. Linfield now has to go back to Texas for the third time this season.

Mary Hardin-Baylor was given fits at home from Redlands, but a strong fourth quarter saw them pull away for a 50-28 win. MHB put up 595 yards of offense, but had three turnovers (one fumble returned for a touchdown) and also gave up a kickoff return to Redlands. The duo of Markeith Miller and Blake Jackson put on a running clinic with 186 yards and 153 yards, respectively.

This is also a rematch of a game earlier this season. MHB thrashed Linfield 66-27 with 552 yards of offense including Jackson passing for 217 yards and 3 touchdowns with 1 interception (98 yards rushing as well) and Miller rushing for 165 yards and a touchdown on only 6 carries. The Crusaders had 2 defensive touchdowns and a kickoff return for a touchdown that really crushed Linfield’s hope.

This game has a different feel to it than what we saw in September. Mary Hardin-Baylor rushed for 335 yards that day, but after seeing what they did last week to Hardin-Simmons does this seem like the same Linfield team? The Crusaders will certainly get their rushing yards, but how high will that total be?

One last thing to consider: Linfield has gone on the road to Mary Hardin-Baylor the last 2 seasons in the playoffs and won both times. Last year it was a 38-35 win and in 2014 they won 31-28. Looks like another thriller this year and we will go with Mary Hardin-Baylor to win 41-38.

Wheaton (IL) (10-1) at North Central (11-0)

Game Time: 1 PM Eastern

Another game, another rematch for this region. We will get to that in a second, but let’s start with the first round games. Wheaton handled Huntingdon 45-10 at home thanks to 2 non-offensive touchdowns and a passing touchdown in the span of 4 minutes in the second quarter. Andrew Bowers threw for 204 yards and 2 touchdowns on 10 of 18 passing. Stone Watson rushed for 111 yards and a touchdown on 9 carries.

North Central cruised in their opening round game at home 41-7 over Rose-Hulman. Broc Rutter threw for 299 yards and 4 touchdowns with no interceptions on 21 off 33 passing. The defense was stingy giving up 210 yards (103 passing, 107 rushing).

Now back to the rematch. In the pivotal game of the CCIW season, North Central defeated Wheaton 35-25 at home. The Cardinals built a 24-5 lead in the third quarter, but withstood a furious rally from Wheaton and to win the CCIW Title.

That game was dominated by the passing attacks. Wheaton’s Andrew Bowers went 15 of 31 for 241 yards with a touchdown and an interception. North Central’s Broc Rutter went 23 of 39 for 238 yards with 3 touchdowns and no picks. Wheaton had 108 yards rushing compared to 56 for North Central.

This looks like another even matchup between these two rivals. The rush defenses are stellar so it may be another game that is won by the better pass defense and pass offense. In the interest of full disclosure, yours truly is a graduate of North Central and going with them to win 28-21.

Alfred Region

Western New England (11-0) at Alfred (11-0)

Game Time: 12 PM Eastern

Western New England had a big fourth quarter to pull away from Husson for a 44-27 victory. They scored 20 points including two rushing touchdowns from Dante Aiken. Alfred needed a 2 yard overtime touchdown run from Tyler Johnson to defeat Bridgewater State 33-27.

Both teams will use the rushing attack to get their offense going. WNE averages 248 yards per game (had 211 versus Husson) while Alfred averages 244 yards per game (had 229 versus Bridgewater State). Will it be Nick Connell and Aiken for Western New England or Johnson and Casey Bright for Alfred? We are going with Western New England to take this game 34-31.

Mount Union (10-1) at Johns Hopkins (11-0)

Game Time: 12 PM Eastern

The unusual sight of Mount Union on the road to start the Playoffs was met with the unusual sight of seeing the Purple Raiders tied late in the third quarter. Mount Union responded with a 17 point burst to win 38-21. Dom Davis threw for 321 yards and a touchdown while Bradley Mitchell (90 yards) and Jawanza Evans-Morris (76 yard) both had 2 rushing touchdowns.

Johns Hopkins took a 21 point lead after 15 minutes and went on to win 42-21. Jonathan Germano went wild throwing for 418 yards with 4 touchdowns and 2 picks. Luke McFadden had 11 catches for 222 yards and 2 touchdowns.

JHU will want to get that passing attack going and they average 341 yards per game while UMU allows 195 yards per game. The one key will be limiting the interceptions as JHU has thrown 17 of them on the season. If you want to beat a team like Mount Union, you cannot turn the ball over. Both teams also lose fumbles quite often: 8 on the year for JHU and 11 for Mount Union.

This does not feel like the same Mount Union team we have seen in year’s past. That is clear from them having to go on the road in the Playoffs. Still, it is hard to go against the Champs and we will take Mount Union to win a high-scoring thriller 45-41.

St. Thomas Region

Coe (11-0) at St. Thomas (MN) (11-0)

Game Time: 1 PM Eastern

Coe had a very interesting first round game against Monmouth. They won 21-14, but quite frankly it should have not been that close. They forced NINE turnovers. NINE!! Five interceptions and four fumble recoveries and yet they only won by a touchdown. Maybe that is more of a testament to Monmouth and their defense. It is worth noting that Trevor Heitland ran for 251 yards and a touchdown on 50 carries.

St. Thomas had a strong performance giving up only 162 yards of offense to Northwestern (MN) in their 43-0 win. The offense put up 455 yards with 206 yards and a touchdown from Alex Fenske along with multiple contributors in the rushing attack.

This game comes down to Heitland versus the Tommies defense. They allow 62.5 yards per game on the ground and Heitland could easily top 100 or 150 yards this game based on the volume of his carries. However, the defense will need to produce turnovers like last week to create short field and limit offensive possessions for St. Thomas. That is a tall task here and we will take the Tommies to win 41-17.

St. John’s (MN) (10-1) at Wisconsin-Oshkosh (10-1)

Game Time: 1 PM Eastern

What an incredible game the Johnnies played in last week against Wisconsin-Platteville. They needed a last second touchdown by Dusty Krueger to win 32-31, but did he get in? Or was he stopped? The refs said he was in and that is all the St. John’s fans care about.

Oshkosh was not involved in anything remotely close to that. They just obliterated Washington University 49-13 with 608 yards of offense with 410 coming on the ground. Mitch Gerhartz had 204 yards and a touchdown while quarterback Brett Kasper threw for 192 yards and 3 touchdowns with no picks.

Last week, St. John’s survived the Platteville passing attack (held Tom Kelly to 217 yards with 1 touchdown and 1 interception). This week it is the rushing attack of Oshkosh that averages 278.3 yards per game with many different options to lead the attack. The Johnnies defense gives up only 63.1 yards per game on the ground.

The Johnnies will try a balance attack against the Oshkosh defense that gives up 265.4 yards per game (95.4 rushing and 170 passing). It is hard to ignore Oshkosh against Playoff teams in 2016 as they are 3-1 with their lone loss to Whitewater 17-14 on the road. The Johnnies will play this game close, but we like Oshkosh to win 28-20.

John Carroll Region

Wesley (9-2) at John Carroll (10-1)

Game Time: 12 PM Eastern

Wesley took care of a stubborn Stevenson team in round one 38-17. Jamar Baynard had 265 yards and 3 touchdowns on 36 carries while the offense put up 540 yards of offense. John Carroll strolled past Olivet 37-12 with 4 touchdown passes from Anthony Moeglin (262 yards and 1 pick). The defense allowed only 188 yards to Olivet including 46 on the ground.

This game will come down to Wesley’s offense against John Carroll’s defense. Nick Falkenberg has thrown for 1,456 yards with 15 touchdowns, but also has 8 interceptions this year. Four of those picks came in two of the last four games: Montclair State and Stevenson. Baynard will need to get things going on the ground so the Carroll defense is not teeing off on his quarterback.

We like John Carroll to prevail here in a 31-21 win. Their defense will stop the Wesley attack and the offense will be able to move the ball.

Wittenberg (10-1) at Wisconsin-Whitewater (11-0)

Game Time: 1 PM Eastern

Wittenberg needed four overtimes to defeat Thomas More 33-30 in what was a battle of field goal kickers in the extra periods. Jake Kennedy had 293 yards of total offense while the defense withstood two 130+ yard rushers to win. Whitewater looked on their way to an easy victory after taking a 28-0 lead, but Lakeland was pesky and did not go quietly. Whitewater won 45-27, but looked mortal at times giving up 366 yards including 339 yards through the air.

What is interesting about this game is that Wittenberg can have success against Whitewater’s pass defense. Whitewater allows nearly 300 yards per game through the air, but Wittenberg prefers a more balanced attack (185.3 yards per game rushing and 225.3 yards per game passing). If Wittenberg puts more of a burden on Jake Kennedy’s shoulder, they could make this a good game.

We like Whitewater to come out on top here, but if they are getting burned in the pass game and have a lot of turnovers, it will be a lot closer. Whitewater takes this game 48-25.

Picks

Below are all the teams picked to win by region.

Mary Hardin-Baylor Region

Mary Hardin-Baylor and North Central

Alfred Region

Western New England and Mount Union

St. Thomas Region

St. Thomas and Wisconsin-Oshkosh

John Carroll Region

John Carroll and Wisconsin-Whitewater

Check back next week for the Quarterfinal predictions for the 2016 Division 3 Football playoff.

2016 NCAA Division 3 Football Playoff Round 1 Predictions

Wisconsin-Platteville is a surprise entrant in the 2016 Division 3 Football Playoffs. How will they fare? (Photo Courtesy of University of Wisconsin-Platteville Athletics)
Wisconsin-Platteville is a surprise entrant in the 2016 Division 3 Football Playoffs. How will they fare? (Photo Courtesy of University of Wisconsin-Platteville Athletics)

2016 NCAA Division 3 Football Playoff Round 1 Predictions

With teams now known for the 2016 Division 3 Football Playoff, it is time for predictions. A total of 16 games will be played in Round 1 and there are some great storylines to watch in both the opening round as well as throughout the entire Playoffs.

A prediction for all 16 games will be provided below and we will go game-by-game in each quadrant. We will start in the upper left quadrant (Mary Hardin-Baylor) and work around the bracket.

Mary Hardin-Baylor Region

Redlands (8-1) at Mary Hardin-Baylor (10-0)

Game Time: 1 PM Eastern

Redlands will make the trip to Texas for this game and they get a brutal draw. We will not spend much time focusing on this game because Hardin-Baylor will be too much. They have the better offense and better defense. The Crusaders should cruise in this game and we will call for them to win 49-17.

Linfield (8-1) at Hardin-Simmons (9-1)

Game Time: 1 PM Eastern

The NCAA Committee decided to split the Texas teams (Mary Hardin-Baylor and Hardin-Simmons) and that meant there would be some road trips. Linfield got the short end of the stick in that regard, but this will be one of the marquee matchups this week.

The quarterbacks will be the guys to watch in this game. Linfield’s Sam Riddle has thrown for 2,714 yards (66.1%) with 31 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. Hardin-Simmons is led by Ryan Breton who has thrown 2,470 yards (66.8%) with 22 touchdowns and 4 interceptions. It sounds obvious to say the quarterback that makes the fewer amount of mistakes will probably lead their team to victory, but that is especially important in the Playoffs.

Both teams have a common opponent this year that is within this region: Mary Hardin-Baylor. Linfield lost 66-27 while Hardin-Simmons lost in a close 20-15 battle. This will probably be a close game and we will go with Linfield to win this 34-31 on the road.

Huntingdon (9-1) at Wheaton (IL) (9-1)

Game Time: 1 PM Eastern

Huntingdon will be making the trip from Montgomery, Alabama all the way to Wheaton, Illinois. Huntingdon will bring a balanced offense with them as their passing (284.5 yards per game) and rushing (282.8 yards per game) are nearly identical.

The Huntingdon offense will run into the stingy Wheaton defense that only allows 14.2 points per game and 255.1 yards per game. Their rushing defense gives up a paltry 46.5 yards per game and that might spell trouble for the Hawks.

We will take Wheaton to win this game at home 31-10 and they will have a chance at revenging their lone loss in 2016 to North Central in the second round.

Rose-Hulman (8-2) at North Central (10-0)

Game Time: 1 PM Eastern

This will be a challenging game for Rose-Hulman because of how complete North Central is. The Cardinals have the better offense and defense while quarterback Broc Rutter has thrown for 2,716 yards (66.8%)  with 34 touchdowns against 4 interceptions. We will take North Central to win 45-17 to move on to round 2.

Alfred Region

Bridgewater State (8-2) at Alfred (10-0)

Game Time: 12 PM Eastern

Bridgewater State started 0-2 with losses by a combined 5 points. They reeled off 8 straight wins while five of those games were decided by 8 points or less. Alfred started with a 35-28 win over fellow D3 Playoff participant Husson and ended the season with a victory over bubble team St. John Fisher 38-17 to win the Empire 8.

Both teams are pretty similar on defense giving up less than 300 yards a game, but the offenses are bit different. Bridgewater State is not as polished in the red zone scoring only 27.4 points per game compared to Alfred’s 37.6 points per game.

Alfred’s three-headed rushing monster of quarterback Tyler Johnson (789 yards and 19 touchdowns), Maleke Fuentes (793 yards and 5 touchdowns), and Casey Bright (767 yards and 3 touchdowns) will be tough to stop. We will take Alfred to win this game 38-20.

Husson (9-1) at Western New England (10-0)

Game Time: 12 PM Eastern

Husson’s lone blemish was to Alfred on the road as mentioned above and since then they have been dominant. Their closest margin of victory in their 9 game win streak was 14 points and their average margin of victory was 28.1 points.

Western New England had a really good season as well and they also blew out most of their opponents. Their season finale 36-29 win against Coast Guard was the lone game decided by less than double digits.

Husson’s run defense has been incredible this year giving up 28.7 yards per game. Their total defense has been just as incredible giving up 162.2 yards per game, but they will be challenged by Western New England’s offense that averages 251.7 rushing yards per game and 460.5 total yards per game. Western’s Nick Connell has 1,061 yards and 12 touchdowns on the ground so if he can get going, the Golden Bears have a good shot at winning.

We are going to go with the road team, Husson, to win 24-17 this game and advance to the second round.

Mount Union (9-1) at Hobart (9-1)

Game Time: 12 PM Eastern

Another surprise from the Committee was putting Mount Union on the road to start the Playoffs. Their lone blemish was the shocking season finale loss at home to John Carroll 31-28. Hobart lost 21-17 on the road to RPI on October 8, but bounced back to win their final 4 games.

Given how dominant Mount Union has been in the Playoffs it is difficult to pick against them. And we will not be doing that here. The Purple Raiders bounce back from their loss with a crushing 41-13 win over Hobart.

Randolph-Macon (9-1) at Johns Hopkins (10-0)

Game Time: 12 PM Eastern

Randolph-Macon has the better defense here giving up 11.5 points per game and 281.6 yards per game compared to Johns Hopkins’ 18.5 points per game and 358.8 yards per game allowed. However, the offensive advantage goes to Hopkins with 43.4 points and 521.1 yards per game compared to Macon’s 31.2 points and 402.2 yards per game.

Hopkins will be tested by Macon’s top running back Tre Frederick who has rushed for 1,345 yards and 11 touchdowns. Hopkins will want to stop him because that will force Macon to throw the ball and they are not particularly stellar at that. Macon averages just 178.6 yards per game and Joseph Vairo has 1,276 yards (61%) with 10 touchdowns against 8 interceptions on the season.

Hopkins will rely on quarterback Jonathan Germano who has thrown for 2,820 yards (65.7%) with 26 touchdowns, but has also thrown 12 interceptions. Germano can run the ball as well with 383 yards and 5 touchdowns rushing, but the top back is Ryan Cary with 904 yards and 14 touchdowns this year.

We will take Johns Hopkins to squeeze this win out at home 27-24. The run game and turnover battle will be key here. The downside to winning this game? You are likely to face Mount Union in the second round.

St. Thomas Region

Northwestern (MN) (9-1) at St. Thomas (10-0)

Game Time: 1 PM Eastern

Northwestern is making their first ever Division 3 Playoff appearance and they are treated to a road trip to the 2015 National Runners Up, St. Thomas. The good thing for Northwestern is they will not have to face workhorse Jordan Roberts who was so instrumental to the Tommies in 2015. He graduated, but the offense is still potent.

The Tommies average 48.3 points and 474.2 yards per game. Alex Fenske will lead the offense while the duo of Tucker Trettel (771 yards rushing and 12 touchdowns) and Josh Parks (673 yards rushing and 9 touchdowns) will lead the ground game. The defense will be tough to score on as well giving up 12 points per game, 213.5 yards per game, and only 65.1 yards rushing per game.

For Northwestern, the game will be an uphill battle. They do not have enough offense to get the points needed as they average 324.8 total yards per game. The defense was good this year giving up 11.8 points per game and 325 yards per game, but the Tommies offense is above and beyond anything they have seen this year.

We are going with St. Thomas to win this one 56-7 as they look to take their season to the final step and win the National Championship.

Monmouth (10-0) at Coe (10-0)

Game Time: 1 PM Eastern

This looks like a pretty evenly matched game. Both teams can put up points and play some good defense. The offenses have good running backs and quarterbacks who do not turn the ball over a lot.

Monmouth will be led by quarterback Tanner Matlick who has thrown for 2,322 yards (73.1%), 27 touchdowns, and only 3 picks this year. Running back DeAndre Wright has gained 1,117 yards and 14 touchdowns on the ground. Monmouth has only turned the ball over 9 times in 2016.

Coe has a pretty good duo of their own in quarterback Gavin Glenn (2,244 yards with 64.1% completions, 24 touchdowns, and 4 interceptions) and running back Trevor Heitland (1,619 yards and 13 touchdowns). Hietland is also a threat out of the backfield with 33 catches for 438 yards and 5 touchdowns. In Coe’s three closest games this year (Wartburg, Central, and Dubuque), he had at least 200 yards in each game and finished with 630 yards and 3 touchdowns over those contests.

This game may come down to defense and Monmouth holds the advantage here. They have allowed only 8.4 points and 199 yards per game compared to Coe’s 16.9 points and 302 yards per game. This will be a close game and we will take Monmouth on the road 27-24.

Wisconsin-Platteville (8-2) at St. John’s (MN) (9-1)

Game Time: 1 PM Eastern

This is another big first round matchup and the WIAC’s third tournament team is on the road. Platteville’s two losses were to Whitewater and Oshkosh by a combined 15 points. St. John’s lost to St. Thomas 33-21 in their only blemish.

Platteville will rely on their senior quarterback Tom Kelly who has thrown for 2,727 yards (59.1%) with 36 touchdowns and 4 interceptions. If he is on the same page with receivers Quinn Buschbacher (73 catches for 688 yards and 8 touchdowns) and Dan Arnold (58 catches for 1,108 yards and 15 touchdowns) the Pioneers will be tough to beat.

St. John’s will be reliant on their rush game, but there is not one player that will be the main focus. They will use a committee of players to get the run game going, but it is hard to argue with the results: the Johnnies average 231.8 yards per game on the ground.

St. John’s would like to stop the run and they have the stronger defense, but they have not faced a passing attack like this. Platteville will give up yards, but this may go down to the last drive. We will take Platteville to win 30-27.

Washington U. (8-2) at Wisconsin-Oshkosh (9-1)

Game Time: 1 PM Eastern

Washington had double digit losses to Centre and Case Western at home Reserve during the regular season. Meanwhile, Oshkosh came up a field goal short in their 17-14 loss at Whitewater.

The defense for Washington is not particularly good giving up 30.9 points per game and 503.4 yards per game. The rushing game for Oshkosh should have a field day as they average 265.1 yards per game and Washington surrenders 242.6 per game. We are going with Oshkosh to win big 66-10 and easily make the second round.

John Carroll Region

Olivet (9-1) at John Carroll (9-1)

Game Time: 12 PM Eastern

Olivet was obliterated by St. John Fisher on the road 52-10 while John Carroll lost at Oshkosh 33-14 on the road. Both of those games were in the opening week and both teams went on 9 game winning streaks to end the season. John Carroll ended the season with the massive upset of Mount Union on the road 31-28 that set off a chain of events not seen in recent years (Mount Union on the road to start the playoffs and various streaks ended).

This game favors John Carroll mainly because they have the better defense giving up 12.4 points and 225.7 yards per game. Olivet has a mediocre defense that gives up 24.7 points per game and 324.7 yards per game. They have a good rush defense at 64.8 yards allowed per game, but remember their game against St. John Fisher. Olivet gave up 281 yards on the ground and 492 yards of total offense.

It may be the same thing this week and we will call for John Carroll to win this game 59-13.

Stevenson (9-1) at Wesley (8-2)

Game Time: 12 PM Eastern

 Stevenson’s lone blemish came at home to Wilkes 38-35 when they surrendered 536 yards of offense and their own offense went 4 of 15 on 3rd down. Wesley had a rough start to the season with losses to Delaware Valley (21-14) and Christopher Newport (42-28) in the first three weeks. They rebounded to win the final seven games and most of those were blowouts.

Stevenson does not have an overwhelming offense as they put up 360.7 yards per game, but do score 36.7 points per contest. Dan Williams has 2,146 yards (63.6%) with 24 touchdowns against 7 interceptions. If Devonte Williams (549 yards rushing with 4 touchdowns) is running the ball well, the Mustangs have a good chance in this game. The defense gives up 317.5 yards per game and 17.1 points per game. They will be tested by Wesley’s offense.

Nick Falkenberg has taken over the last three games at quarterback for Wesley and the offense has been spurred by it. He has thrown for 863 yards, 11 touchdowns, and 2 interceptions in the last three games. Receivers Bryce Shade (49 catches for 927 yards and 8 touchdowns) and Alex Kemp (46 catches for 770 and 10 touchdowns) will get the bulk of looks from Falkenberg. Jamar Baynard has run for 924 yards with 14 touchdowns and he will need to help the passing game out with some solid rushing yardage.

Wesley is favored here and we will take them to win in a close game 28-24. They will do enough on offense (and defense) to pull out the victory and reach the second round.

Wittenberg (9-1) at Thomas More (9-1)

Game Time: 12 PM Eastern

Wittenberg lost to Denison on the road 24-21 midway through the season, but their following four games were impressive as they won every game by 30+ points and had an average margin of victory of 39 points. Thomas More lost their opener at Franklin 43-39, but won the next 9 games.

Wittenberg has a bend, but do not break defense giving up 9.6 points per game and 310.6 yards per game. They will be fully stretched by Thomas More’s offense that puts up 517.9 yards per game and 42.8 points per game. Jake Kennedy has thrown for 2,059 yards (60.7%) with 18 touchdowns and 7 interceptions as well as running for 489 yards and 7 touchdowns on the ground, but he will need someone to step up on the offense to help out. It may take a combination effort of Deshawn Sarley (679 yards rushing and 7 touchdowns) and Nick Kendall (494 yards rushing and 3 touchdowns), but Kennedy needs help.

Thomas More has a potent offense that will rely on a four man rushing crew: CT Tarrant (1,064 yards and 16 touchdowns), Hjavier Pitts (740 yards and 6 touchdowns), Luke Zajac (481 yards and 6 touchdowns), and quarterback Brenan Kuntz (367 yards and 3 touchdowns). Kuntz can also sling the ball with 2,396 yards (56.9%) with 25 touchdowns and 4 interceptions. Wittenberg’s defense has allowed only 69.6 yards rushing per game this year while Thomas More’s worst rushing performance was a 186 yard effort in the season finale against Thiel. They won that game 63-16 with Kuntz throwing for 345 yards with 3 touchdowns and no picks.

We will take Thomas More to win this game thanks to their offense. They will do enough rushing to get past Wittenberg 31-27.

Lakeland (7-3) at Wisconsin-Whitewater (10-0)

Game Time: 1 PM Eastern

Lakeland has faced a UW system school this season in Platteville and it ended terribly as they lost 56-0. Lakeland finished with 160 yards of total offense, threw 3 interceptions, and had 5 fumbles (lost only 1).

Whitewater will cruise in this one and the only real question is will Lakeland put up points against a WIAC team in 2016? We think not as the Warhawks will have their way in a 63-0 win.

Picks

Below are all the teams picked to win by region.

Mary Hardin-Baylor Region

Mary Hardin-Baylor, Linfield, Wheaton (IL), North Central

Alfred Region

Alfred, Husson, Mount Union, Johns Hopkins

St. Thomas Region

St. Thomas, Monmouth (IL), Platteville, Oshkosh

John Carroll Region

John Carroll, Wesley, Thomas More, Whitewater

Check back next week for the Round 2 predictions for the 2016 Division 3 Football Playoffs

2016 Division 3 Football Playoff Bracket Announced

Mount Union, pictured above winning the 2015 Stagg Bowl, will have a new hurdle in 2016: Starting the playoffs on the road. (AP Photo).
Mount Union, pictured above winning the 2015 Stagg Bowl, will have a new hurdle in 2016: Starting the playoffs on the road. (AP Photo).

2016 Division 3 Football Playoff Bracket Announced

The 2016 Division 3 Football Playoff Bracket has been announced and there are some surprises. The field of 32 will begin playing on Saturday, November 19 with 16 games and it will conclude on Friday, December 16 with the Stagg Bowl. The entire bracket can be found here via D3Football.com.

We mentioned surprises and the biggest two are Mount Union going on the road right to Hobart as well as the two Texas teams (Mary Hardin-Baylor and Hardin-Simmons) NOT meeting in the first round. That means the NCAA will be paying for three flights (Huntingdon will also be going on the road) in the Mary Hardin-Baylor region because of the 500 mile rule. The latter is a very pleasant surprise.

There were also 3 Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference teams to make the field with Whitewater, Oshkosh, and Platteville. John Carroll, the upset winners over Mount Union, were awarded with one of the top seeds in the tournament and will face Olivet at home to start the playoffs.

The 32 teams are comprised of 25 conference winners and 7 at-large teams. The conference winners are listed below with the conference on the left and winner on the right.

Centennial

Johns Hopkins

CCIW

North Central

ECFC

Husson

E8

Alfred

HCAC

Rose-Hulman

IIAC

Coe

LL

Hobart

MASCAC

Bridgewater State

MIAA

Olivet

MAC

Stevenson

MWC

Monmouth

MIAC

St. Thomas

NEFC

Western New England

NJAC

Wesley

NCAC

Wittenberg

NACC

Lakeland

NWC

Linfield

OAC

John Carroll

ODAC

Randolph-Macon

PAC

Thomas More

SAA

Washington U.

SCIAC

Redlands

UMAC

Northwestern (Minn.)

USAC

Huntingdon

WIAC

UW-Whitewater

The 7 at-large teams were Mary Hardin-Baylor (Pool B), Mount Union (Pool C), Wisconsin-Oshkosh (Pool C), Wisconsin-Platteville (Pool C), Wheaton (IL) (Pool C), St. John’s (MN) (Pool C), and Hardin-Simmons (Pool C).

Below are the matchups for the entire bracket and they are broken down by each region. The top team in each quadrant will be used for each region.

Mary Hardin-Baylor Region

Redlands (8-1) at Mary Hardin-Baylor (10-0)

Linfield (8-1) at Hardin-Simmons (9-1)

Huntingdon (9-1) at Wheaton (IL) (9-1)

Rose-Hulman (8-2) at North Central College (10-0)

Alfred Region

Bridgewater State (8-2) at Alfred (10-0)

Husson (9-1) at Western New England (10-0)

Mount Union (9-1) at Hobart (9-1)

Randolph-Macon (9-1) at Johns Hopkins (10-0)

St. Thomas (MN) Region

Northwestern (MN) (9-1) at St. Thomas (MN) (10-0)

Monmouth (IL) (10-0) at Coe (9-1)

Wisconsin-Platteville (8-2) at St. John’s (MN) (9-1)

Washington University (8-2) at Wisconsin-Oshkosh (9-1)

John Carroll Region

Olivet (9-1) at John Carroll (9-1)

Stevenson (9-1) at Wesley (8-2)

Wittenberg (9-1) at Thomas More (9-1)

Lakeland (7-3) at Wisconsin-Whitewater (10-0)

 Predictions for each of the Round 1 games can be found here. In 2015, we went 26-5 with our playoff predictions.

2015 NCAA Division 3 Football Playoff Round 2 Predictions

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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.

Linfield Region

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.

Wisconsin-Oshkosh Region

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.

2015 NCAA Division 3 Football Playoff Round 1 Predictions

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2015 NCAA Division 3 Football Playoff Round 1 Predictions

The 2015 NCAA Division 3 Playoffs begin on Saturday, November 20 with 16 games. 32 teams will battle it out this post season with the hope that they will be the final team standing in four weeks. The entire schedule can be found here while the bracket can be found here via the NCAA website.

Below is a prediction for each of the 16 games going in order of the region they are part of.

St. Thomas (MN) Region

La Verne (8-1) at St. Thomas (MN) (10-0)

La Verne has one loss this year, which came to Playoff team Whitworth. They lost 39-20 on the road before finishing the year off with 7 wins. They get a tough draw for their opening, and probably only, game. They will need everything to go their way as St. Thomas has crushed every opponent. The closes margin of victory for St. Thomas in 2015 is 21 points to St. John’s. St. Thomas rolls to the second round with a 59-7 win.

Dubuque (8-2) at St. John’s (MN) (9-1)

Dubuque started the year with a loss to this very St. John’s team on the road and they would like to avoid that same fate. Another loss to UW-Platteville gave way to an 8 game winning streak. They played three straight close games after the two losses, but proceeded to win comfortably the final five games.

St. John’s only loss came to St. Thomas (see above). They did well in their rest of their games including the opening win against Dubuque. It is hard to see a different result this time, as we take St. Thomas to win 42-10.

Washington & Lee (10-0) at Thomas More (10-0)

This is an interesting matchup of undefeated 10 win teams. Both teams like to score points, both have close victories, and both want to win the turnover battle. Washington & Lee has scored at least 34 points in their last four games, but can also give up some points (33 to Catholic, 35 to Averett). Thomas More won a close game against Case Western Reserve to clinch the PAC title last time out and is averaging 50 points per game and giving up 15 per contest. We will take Washington & Lee to win 38-35 in a close game.

Albion (9-1) at Wabash (10-0)

Albion has one objective in this game and it is in stark contrast to Wabash’s team. Albion wants to get their offense going and win a shootout, as they average over 50 points per game. Their defense has been porous with over 32 points per game surrendered. Wabash has only given up 7.6 points per game, have recorded three shutouts, and have 7 games in which they gave up 10 points or less. Albion will have their work cut out for them. Wabash will take this game by a score of 34-14.

Linfield Region

Whitworth (9-1) at Linfield (9-0)

This is a rematch of a game from October 24 when Linfield simply dominated Whitworth 52-10. Linfield gives up less than 7 points per game and put up 53 points per game. This is a brutal game for Whitworth in the opening round and it is hard to see Linfield not dominating again. Linfield takes this rematch by a score of 56-3.

Salisbury (7-2) at Cortland State (8-2)

Salisbury started the year with a 24-23 loss to Albright (in the Mount Union region below) and also lost a high scoring affair to Christopher Newport, 51-39. They tended to play high scoring, close games including defeating Wesley by a field goal on the road. Cortland State has losses to Buffalo State (29-21) and Morrisville State (42-28) with both of those coming on the road. They too can play high scoring and win close games. We will go with Salisbury to win 38-34 on the road.

Hendrix (8-2) at Huntingdon (9-1)

Hendrix makes their first appearance in the D3 Playoffs in just their third year of football. They lost road games to Austin and Berry, but showed the ability to score a lot of points. Their final game was a 19-0 win over Sewanee, which is a deviation from their normal high scoring output. Huntingdon’s lone blemish was a one point loss to Birmingham-Southern on the road. They too can score, which makes a shootout quite likely here. Huntingdon will take this game 52-46.

Mary Hardin-Baylor (9-1) at Hardin-Simmons (9-1)

This is another rematch of a game from the regular season. On that day, Hardin-Simmons won 29-26 at home in a contest that went from from 26 total points through 3 quarters to 29 points in the final frame. A touchdown in the final four minutes was enough for Hardin-Simmons and they will need another strong defensive performance to win again. MHB will try and make it a high scoring game and use defense to squeeze the life out of the game. We will take Mary Hardin-Baylor to win the rematch 41-30.

Mount Union Region

St. Lawrence (8-2) at Mount Union (10-0)

There is not much to say about this game. Mount Union is the number one team in the nation for good reason. They average over 53 points per game and yield less than 4 a game. Mount Union has pitched 6 (!!) shutouts this year including 9 games where they gave up 7 points or less. Good luck St. Lawrence, you are going to need it just to score any points.

Mount Union wins 66-0.

Norwich (6-4) at Albright (9-1)

Norwich had a rough start to the season with three straight double digit losses, but were able to win the next six. They most recently loss to Castleton by double digits to finish 6-1 in conference, but got the automatic qualifier. Albright lost one game to Delaware Valley by a score of 28-23 at home, but have dispatched a majority of their opponents easily. That is expected again and will take a 45-19 win to make the second round.

Framingham State (9-1) at Wesley (9-1)

Framingham State lost to Cortland State 61-49 in the second game of the year, but ran through conference play undefeated. They did have a few close games along the way, but also put up some points on offense. Wesley has one loss as well and that came to Salisbury by a field goal at home, but they also have a nice road win by a score of 50-49 over a very good North Central squad. Wesley will not have much issue scoring points on their way to a 56-34 win.

Western New England (10-0) at Johns Hopkins (10-0)

Western New England enters this game undefeated with most wins on their schedule in a comfortable manner. They survived Endicott by 6 points and their latest game was a 7 point win over Salve Regina, as both of those games were at home. Johns Hopkins is quietly putting together a good team in 2015. They have cruised to easy wins in all 10 games (no margin was less than 21 points and have scored at least 34 points in every game) and have a solid defense to help put most games out of reach. Johns Hopkins wins this game 41-17.

Wisconsin-Oshkosh Region

St. Scholastica (9-1) at Wisconsin-Oshkosh (9-1)

Both of these teams opened with losses in a close fashion. St. Scholastica lost 17-16 to Ripon on the road and has used solid defenses performances since that game to win the final 9 games. St. Scholastica has not allowed more than 19 points in a game all season. UW-Oshkosh lost 23-21 to Robert Morris-Chicago on the road and then proceeded to go undefeated in the strong WIAC in 2015. They too have a stingy defense and defeated UW-Whitewater by a score of 10-7. This game will probably be a low scoring affair and Oshkosh will come out with the win 28-6.

Ohio Northern (8-2) at Franklin (8-2)

Ohio Northern has two losses with one coming at the hands of the top team, Mount Union (51-7). The other was a 28-27 loss against Baldwin Wallace. Ohio Northern has a solid offense (when they are not facing Mount Union, of course) and could be able to put points up. Franklin lost their first two games of the year to Illinois Wesleyan (34-24) and FCS Butler (41-14), but won the final 8 contests. They too can put up points, but this game does not feel like it will be extremely high scoring. In one of the tougher games to predict, Ohio Northern will come out with a 31-28 victory.

St. Norbert (10-0) at Wisconsin-Whitewater (9-1)

St. Norbert is unblemished this year thanks in large part to their defense. Outside of a 31 point game by North Park, no opponent has been able to score more than 16 points and St. Norbert has 6 games where they surrendered 7 points or less. UW-Whitewater also has a strong defense and this game could see points at a premium. The edge in this game goes to UW-Whitewater’s offense which is better than St. Norbert. Whitewater wins this game 21-7.

Lakeland (8-2) at Wheaton (IL) (10-0)

Lakeland’s two losses came in back-to-back weeks against Albion (47-21) and Carthage (29-28). Their offense was able to put up points in the final 7 games while the defense was better, but still gave up points at times. Wheaton is another team with a stingy defense as noted by their 17-9 win against North Central in conference play. Wheaton gave up more than 17 points once (to Illinois Wesleyan) and have a very good offense. Wheaton should handle Lakeland by a score of 38-10.

2014 NCAA Division 3 Playoffs Second Round Wrap Up

With 8 games played on Saturday, the 2014 NCAA Division 3 Playoffs is now down to the final eight teams. It was another exciting day of action and a recap of each game is below. Be sure to compare the results of each game to the predictions made in this posting on Friday. A schedule for the quarterfinals matchups can be found at the bottom of the page.

 

Wisconsin-Whitewater Bracket

Wabash (10-1) at Wisconsin-Whitewater (11-0)

It was 10-7 at halftime, but Wisconsin-Whitewater got their offense going in the second half to win 38-14 over Wabash. Quarterback Matt Behrendt threw four touchdown passes, including three to wide receiver Justin Howard, to advance to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Division 3 Playoffs.

The Warhawks began with Behrendt’s first touchdown pass to Howard from 18 yards out. The Warhawks next drive ended with a lost fumble at the Wabash 28 yard line, but the Little Giants were unable to take advantage of the turnover. The first quarter ended with Behrendt’s first interception at the Wabash 10 with Delon Pettiford returning it 30 yards.

The Warhawks would escape any punishment by forcing a Wabash fumble and returning it back to the 46 yard line. The Warhawks would attempt a 31 yard field goal, but it was blocked by Tyler McCullen with Ethan Buresh returning it 79 yards for a touchdown. Will Meyer hit a 27 yard field goal to make it 10-7 at the break.

The second half began with Behrendt’s second interception at his own 17 yard line. Wabash would end up missing a 47 yard field goal to the left. Wabash’s next drive ended with a lost fumble and Behrendt hit Jake Kumerow for an 18 yard touchdown. The Warhawks made it 24-7 when Behrendt and Howard connected for a 46 yard touchdown. That 24-7 score line would hold up until the end of the quarter.

An early fourth quarter touchdown pass from Behrendt to Howard made it 31-7 and an interception returned for a touchdown on Wabash’s ensuing drive made it 38-7. Brady Grayvold was the man who made the interception and brought it back 34 yards for the score. Wabash got a small consolation touchdown from Mason Zurek from a yard out late in the game to make the final score 38-14.

Connor Rice went 7 of 17 for 88 yards and an interception for Wabash. Mason Zurek had 77 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries. Houston Hodges had 6 catches for 60 yards. Wabash was only able to get 234 yards on offense for the entire game.

Matt Behrend went 19 of 30 for 299 yards with 4 touchdowns and 2 picks. Dennis Moore had 22 rushes for 107 yards while Jordan Ratliffe had 15 carries for 68 yards. Justin Howard had 6 catches for 126 yards with 3 touchdowns. Jake Kumerow had 3 catches for 75 yards and a touchdown while Joe Worth had 6 catches for 73 yards.

 

St. John’s (MN) (10-1) at Wartburg (11-0)

Wartburg scored 14 fourth quarter points to put away St. John’s 21-10 in a close battle. The Knights ran for 255 yards to pave their path to the 2014 NCAA Division 3 Playoffs quarterfinals.

The first half was quite boring with a lot of punts and not a lot of action. The first big swing of the game came when St. John’s Josh Bungum lost a fumble at his own 33. Wartburg drove down to the Johnnies 17 yard line, but missed a 39 yard field goal. The first half would end scoreless, but the action would pick up in the final 30 minutes.

Wartburg’s second drive produced the first points of the game with Logan Schrader connecting with Taylor Jacobsme for a 4 yard touchdown. The Johnnies responded in kind with a 15 yard touchdown pass from Nick Martin to J.T. Ford to tie the game at 7. The Johnnies ended the third quarter driving deep into Wartburg’s red zone to take a potential lead.

The Johnnies would take a 10-7 lead with Alexi Johnson’s 25 yard field goal. Wartburg responded immediately to take a 14-10 lead with Brandon Domeyer getting in from a yard out. The Johnnies had every chance to close the 4 point deficit. On third and 10 from the Wartburg 12 yard line, Martin fumbled the ball and it was recovered by Wartburg at the 16. The Knights made them pay with an 84 yard, 7 play drive to take a 21-10 lead. Schrader’s 56 yard touchdown run put the game on ice as the Johnnies failed to threaten score for the remainder of the game.

Nick Martin went 11 of 26 for 154 yards and a touchdown. He ran 13 times for 22 yards and lost a fumble. Josh Bungum had 24 carries for 81 yards and also lost a fumble. Bungum was also the leading receiver with 3 catches for 65 yards while J.T. Ford had 4 catches for 59 yards and a touchdown.

Logan Schrader did not have a great game passing going 13 of 26 for only 87 yards and a touchdown pass. However, he got it done with his legs on 12 carries for 119 yards and a touchdown. Brandon Domeyer had 21 carries for 109 yards and a touchdown. The top receiver for the Knights was Donald Miller with 3 catches for 23 yards.

 

Mary Hardin-Baylor Bracket

Christopher Newport (8-3) at Widener (11-0)

Widener opened up a 24 point lead and held on for the victory with a 37-27 win over Christopher Newport.

The Pride started with a quick touchdown drive to begin the game. Couve LaFate ran for an 11 yard touchdown and a 7-0 lead in a drive that took only 1:25 off the clock. The Captains responded with a 29 yard field goal with a 9 minute drive.

The next drive for Christopher Newport saw them take a 10-7 lead on Marcus Morrast’s 39 yard touchdown pass to Rudy Rudolph. Widener responded to losing the lead with a touchdown drive to reclaim it for good. Seth Klein threw a 4 yard touchdown pass to Montrell Hicks-Taylor. After several series of punting the ball, Widener took a late first half lead of 21-10 with Klein running in from a yard out.

The Captains hit a 35 yard field goal to cut the deficit to 8 points at 21-13, but Widener answered yet again. Terrant Morrison ran for a 1 yard touchdown to make it 27-13 after a failed two point attempt. The Pride made it 34-13 on the following drive Klein connecting with Brian DiGiovanni for a 14 yard touchdown.

An early fourth quarter field goal made it 37-13 in favor of Widener. CNU came back with a 31 yard touchdown run from Daquan Davis to make it 37-20. The Captains forced a fumble and turned it into a 3 yard touchdown pass from Morrast to Rudolph to close it to a 37-27 game. CNU recovered the ensuing onside kick, but failed to move the ball. The Pride would run the clock out two drives later to move on in the NCAA Division 3 Playoffs.

Marcus Morrast went 25 of 45 for 269 yards and 2 touchdowns through the air for Christopher Newport. He also ran for 53 yards on 18 carries. Daquan Davis finished with 36 yards and a touchdown on 9 carries. Rudy Rudolph had 8 catches for 106 yards and 2 touchdowns.

Seth Klein went 21 of 29 for 268 yards and 2 touchdowns. Couve LaFate had 12 carries for 62 yards and a touchdown. Anthony Davis caught 13 passes for 146 yards to lead the Pride.

 

Linfield (9-1) at Mary Hardin-Baylor (11-0)

An entertaining back and forth game between Linfield and Mary Hardin-Baylor saw Linfield squeak out a 31-28 win on the road.

The game began inauspiciously with three turnovers. UMHB forced a punt from Linfield, but fumbled the ball on the return to give the Wildcats the ball back at the 23 yard line. Sam Riddle threw an interception for Linfield to give the ball over to UMHB. Blake Jackson turned around an threw an interception for UMHB to give Linfield the ball back. However, Linfield would punt it back to UMHB at their two yard line.

On first and 10 from their own 2, UMHB gave the ball to Zach Anderson who was hit in his end zone and fumbled. Linfield’s Mikey Arkans jumped on the ball for a Linfield touchdown and a 7-0 lead. The Crusaders came right back with a 74 yard touchdown run from Malcolm Miller to tie the game at 7. The Wildcats answered right back with a one yard touchdown run from Sam Riddle to take a 14-7 lead.

The Crusaders needed a few drives to have an answer, but they did with a 15 play, 81 yard drive capped off by Anderson’s 5 yard touchdown run. Linfield’s 46 yard field goal as time expired made it 17-14 at halftime.

The Crusaders started off with the ball to start the second half and took their first lead of the game. Anderson threw a 26 yard touchdown pass to Kamray Runnels to make it 21-17. Riddle’s 57 yard touchdown pass to Erick Douglas midway through the third quarter gave Linfield a 24-21 lead. It became 31-21 on the next Linfield drive with Riddle hitting Charlie Poppen for a 23 yard touchdown pass. With just a few seconds remaining in the third quarter, Runnels returned a punt 56 yards for a touchdown. At the end of three quarters, Linfield clung to a 31-28 lead.

The fourth quarter saw Linfield keep the Crusaders in the game. First, they missed a 34 yard field goal wide right with 10:31 to go in the game. Their second drive ended with a lost fumble from Spencer Payne at their own 30 to give UMHB a great opportunity. However, the Wildcats defense stood tall and forced an interception with Jordan Giza returning it 47 yards. The offense did the rest to run out the clock and complete the upset of the Crusaders.

Sam Riddle went 19 of 31 for 280 yards with 2 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. He also ran 15 times for 57 yards and a touchdown. Spencer Payne had 28 carries for 59 yards to lead the Wildcats. Levi Altringer had 6 catches for 92 yards and Erick Douglas had 4 catches for 89 yards with a touchdown.

Zach Anderson had a rough game for UMHB. He went 9 of 24 for 106 yards with one touchdown and an interception. He also ran 17 times for 45 yards with a touchdown also lost a fumble. Malcolm Miller had 8 carries for 97 yards and a touchdown. Eric Nelson’s 5 catches for 61 yards was enough to lead the team in receiving.

 

Wesley Bracket

MIT (10-0) at Wesley (10-1)

For the second straight week, Wesley used a massive first quarter to overwhelm their opponent. Last week Wesley scored 42 points and this week it was 35. Wesley went on to 59-0 over MIT and end the Engineers’ dream season in the NCAA Division 3 Playoffs.

It took over 5 minutes of game time for a score to be made, but it was Bryce Shade who broke the deadlock with a 16 yard touchdown run. The next play from scrimmage would put Wesley up 14-0 when Leroy Cheatham picked off MIT quarterback Peter Williams and returned it 42 yards for the score. After stopping MIT at the Wesley 47, the Engineers were punting, but Roderick Caine blocked the punt and Andre Connally returned it 35 yards for the score.

The onslaught continued with MIT’s next drive ending in an interception. The next play was Joe Callahan hitting Steve Koudossou for a 41 yard touchdown and a 28-0 lead. The lead became 35-0 with 19 seconds left in the first quarter when Callahan hit Shade for a 16 yard touchdown.

Another Peter Williams pick led to a third Callahan touchdown pass in the second quarter. This one went to Andrew Monaghan from 12 yards out. MIT drove back down the field looking for their first points of the game, but lost a fumble at the Wesley 15. Wesley did not capitalize on that turnover, but they did on the next one, which occurred on a punt return. Callahan connected with Shade for a 32 yard touchdown and a 49-0 lead.

The second half consisted of Wesley continuing their shut out. The Wolverines scored 10 points in the third quarter with a 69 yard touchdown run by Ben Martin and a 24 yard field goal from Eric Speidel. The Wesley defense recovered a fumble and forced a fourth interception from Peter Williams to keep their shutout intact.

Peter Williams went 13 of 30 for 138 yards with no touchdowns and 4 interceptions for MIT. Brad Goldsberry ran for only 61 yards while Seve Esparrago had 5 catches for 35 yards. MIT could only muster 206 yards of total offense.

Joe Callahan went 21 of 26 for 268 yards and 4 touchdowns through the air. He completed 6 passes to Bryce Shade for 104 yards and 2 touchdowns. Steve Koudossou had 6 catches for 70 yards and a score as well. The top rusher was Ben Martin with 9 rushes for 160 yards and a touchdown.

 

Johns Hopkins (11-0) at Hobart (11-0)

Hobart rallied for a second straight week to move on to the quarter finals. A touchdown with 1:26 left in the game proved to be the difference in their 24-21 win over Johns Hopkins.

Unlike last week, Hobart got off to a much better start. They got a 42 yard field goal on their first drive and then went 80 yards in 10 plays on their next drive. Bradley Burns punched the ball in from a yard out to take a 10-0 lead at the end of the first quarter.

The Blue Jays tried to respond, but their drive ended at the Hobart 43 yard line with a lost fumble. Hobart was unable to make them pay but Johns Hopkins finally got on the board on their next drive. Braden Anderson’s 48 yard pass to Bradley Munday set up Stuart Walters‘ 5 yard touchdown run. After both teams punted, Hobart would add to their lead with a 4 yard touchdown run from Alex Furtado to take a 16-7 lead with the extra point blocked by Matthew Connery. With 2:31 left in the first half, the Blue Jays used up nearly all the time to score a touchdown. Anderson hit Quinn Donaldson for a 3 yard strike and Hobart led 16-14 at halftime.

The third quarter lacked the amount of offense that the second quarter showed, but there was a big opportunity for Hobart to extend their lead. On fourth and one from the Johns Hopkins 13 yard line, Hobart went for it with Patrick Conlan, but he was stopped for a one yard loss. The third quarter ended scoreless with Hobart clinging to a 16-14 lead with the Blue Jays mounting a drive to take the lead to start the final quarter.

On first and 10 from the Hobart 28, Anderson hit Donaldson for the second time in the game to take a 21-16 lead. The Blue Jays appeared to be in command with under 6 minutes to go. On second and goal from the 8 yard line, Anderson was hit and lost the ball with Hobart’s Jake Russell recovering the ball. Hobart would mount a game winning drive, but not without some obstacles. They faced a second and 23 from the JHU 49 yard line, but Conlan’s 22 yard pass to Troy Robinson made it a manageable third and one. Two plays after that, Conlan found John Fasano for a 14 yard touchdown pass. The two point conversion was good and Hobart took a 24-21 lead with 1:26 left in the game.

The Blue Jays did have a great final chance to win or tie the game. They got down to the Hobart 8 yard line, but were called for a pass interference. The next play from the 22 yard line was intercepted by at the two to seal the victory for Hobart.

Braden Anderson went 17 of 29 for 194 yards with 2 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. He also lost one fumble and ran for 71 yards on 14 carries. Stuart Walters ran 13 times for 58 yards and a touchdown. Bradley Munday caught 6 passes for 79 yards while Quinn Donaldson had 5 catches for 63 yards and 2 scores.

Patrick Conlan led Hobart with 237 yards and 1 touchdown on 19 of 30 passing. Conner Hartigan ran 18 times for 60 yards. John Fasano caught 6 passes for 79 yards and a score with Troy Robinson having 4 catches for 68 yards.

 

Mount Union Bracket

John Carroll (10-1) at Wheaton (IL) (11-0)

An ugly, defensive, and mistake filled game took place between John Carroll and Wheaton , but JCU was able to hold on for a 14-12 win after a missed field goal from Wheaton with just over a minute remaining.

Wheaton had a brilliant opportunity for an early advantage, but Johnny Peltz was stopped for no gain on fourth and one from the John Carroll 18 yard line to keep the game scoreless. JCU would take that stop and turn it into a touchdown with Tommy Michals pounding the ball in from a yard out to take a 7-0 lead.

In the second quarter, both quarterbacks made mistakes in the opponent’s territory. First Mark Myers threw an interception at the Wheaton 28 yard line to end a scoring opportunity. That would be outdone by Peltz’s interception at the John Carroll 5 yard line to keep it 7-0 in favor of JCU. Late in the second quarter, Wheaton finally got on the board, but it took four downs. On fourth and goal from the one yard line, Danny Puknaitis punched the ball in to make it 7-6. However, the extra point was blocked by Michael Hollins to keep it 7-6 at the break.

John Carroll opened the second half taking a 14-6 lead after Myers hit Zach Strippy for a 22 yard touchdown pass. On the next John Carroll drive, Myers was picked off by Brendan Carozzoni at the 18 yard line. Wheaton turned that into a touchdown with Peltz completing a 3 yard touchdown pass to Zach Lindquist. The Thunder opted to go for two, but it failed and JCU held a narrow 14-12 lead at the end of three quarters.

Early in the fourth quarter, JCU attempted a 25 yard field goal after a false start penalty on the play earlier. Wes Keller’s attempt was blocked by Mikey Swider. The Thunder marched down the field to the John Carroll 14 yard line. On fourth and one, Keegan Kemp was stuffed and the ball was turned over to JCU. JCU ended up punting back to Wheaton, who had 2:18 to go down the field and win the game with a field goal or touchdown. The drive stalled out at the John Carroll 29 yard line where the Thunder attempted a 46 yard field goal. The attempt was blocked by Jimmy King, but JCU was called offside and the Thunder got a second chance to win the game. The 41 yard attempt would be wide left and JCU held on for the 14-12 win.

Mark Myers went 19 of 29 for 229 yards with 1 touchdown and an interception for John Carroll. Tommy Michals ran 22 times for 81 yards and a score while also catching 6 passes for 34 yards. The top receiver was Marshall Howell with 5 catches for 85 yards. Brendan Carozzoni had 5 catches for 67 yards.

Johnny Peltz went 18 of 33 for 243 yards with a touchdown pass and an interception. He was held in check on the ground with only 28 yards on 20 carries. Those 28 yards were enough to be tops on the team. The top receiver was Zach Lindquist with 5 catches for 80 yards and a score.

 

Washington & Jefferson (10-1) at Mount Union (11-0)

Mount Union put 45 first half point to breeze into the Quarterfinals of the NCAA Division 3 Playoffs. Washington & Jefferson failed to register any points in the crushing 67-0 defeat. Kevin Burke threw for 402 yards and 6 touchdowns in another typical Mount Union playoff performance.

Mount Union wasted little time taking the advantage with Burke completing a 4 yard touchdown pass to Roman Namdar. The Presidents had a chance to get precious points, but a 38 yard field goal from Blake Davis was wide left. At the end of the first quarter, Mount Union had a 7-0 lead.

Early in the second quarter, Mount Union took a 10-0 lead after a 28 yard field goal. On their next drive, it took only play to make it 17-0 with Burke and Namdar connecting for a 46 yard touchdown. Burke’s 5 yard touchdown pass to Luc Meacham made it 24-0 before a lost fumble by the Presidents was turned into a 4 yard touchdown pass from Burke to Namdar. Burke had two more touchdown passes in the final 2:02 to make it 45-0 at the break. First, he hit Taurice Scott for a 4 yard touchdown and then hit Sherman Wilkinson for a 35 yard touchdown.

The Purple Raiders scored 13 points in the third quarter with two field goals from kicker Edward Ruhnke and a 78 yard touchdown run from Jamal Johnson. The fourth quarter produced a safety on a blocked punt while Dwayne Aaron ran for a 71 yard touchdown to cap the scoring at 67 for Mount Union.

Pete Coughlin found it difficult to pass going 15 of 37 for 98 yards and an interception. Ryan Ruffing had 62 yards rushing on 16 carries. The top receiver for the Presidents was Max Creighan with 55 yards on 8 catches.

Mount Union’s Kevin Burke went 30 of 41 for 402 yards and 6 touchdowns. Jamal Johnson ran for 118 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries. Dwayne Aaron had 84 yards and a score on only 5 rushing attempts. Luc Meacham had 9 catches for 151 yards and a touchdown while Roman Namdar had 8 catches for 112 yards and 3 touchdown catches.

 

Quarterfinals Schedule (All games to be played on Saturday, December 6)

Wartburg (12-0) at Wisconsin-Whitewater (12-0) – 1 PM ET

Linfield (10-1) at Widener (12-0) – 12 PM ET

Hobart (12-0) at Wesley (11-1) – 12 PM ET

John Carroll (11-1) at Mount Union (12-0) – 12 PM ET