Sept. 8, 2010

COMEBACK ‘CATS: Willamette University overcame a 14-0 deficit in the first quarter to down then-No. 16 UW-Stevens Point in the lone battle between nationally-ranked foes in the opening weekend of Division III action.

Senior linebacker Ralph Pineda posted a game-high 11 tackles along with a forced and recovered fumble, and a 44-yard interception return, which led to a Williamette touchdown.   The native of Los Angeles, Calif., was named Northwest Conference Defensive Player of the Week for his efforts in shutting down the Pointers for the final three quarters of play.

The victory sent the Bearcats up five spots to No. 13 in the latest D3football.com Top 25.  Willamette will now face its second nationally-ranked opponent when it travels to No. 14 Hardin-Simmons on Sept. 11.

SPOILING THE MOOD:
Illinois Wesleyan cracked the D3football.com Top 25 following a 20-16 win over Hope on Sept. 4, joining fellow College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin (CCIW) member No. 16 North Central in the national rankings.

Senior defensive back Aaron Moody played a key role in the Titans’ victory as he picked off two passes in the fourth quarter, including one in the end zone that spoiled Hope’s final drive of the game.  Moody’s first interception set up the Titans’ go-ahead touchdown following a 22-yard return.  The native of Riverdale, Ill., also recorded a pair of tackles in the contest and was selected CCIW Defensive Player of the Week for his game-changing performance.

The Titans will test their new ranking when they host Alma College on Sept. 11.

TOMMIE BOYS:
  St. Thomas (Minn.) ended an eight-game losing streak against teams from the State of Wisconsin with an impressive 40-7 win over St. Norbert on Sept. 4 – the Tommies’ last win against a Wisconsin team was at UW-Whitewater in the 1990 NCAA playoffs.

All-America halfback Ben Wartman shined for the Tommies, racking up 136 yards, including 81 in the first quarterback, while reaching the end zone twice.  Wartman ranked third in the nation with 1,827 rushing yards last year, while scoring a school-record 24 touchdowns. 

No. 5 St. Thomas will look to continue its winning ways against Wisconsin teams when the Tommies host UW-River Falls on Sept. 11. 

ON THE RUN: 
Gettysburg junior quarterback Kyle Whitmoyer showcased his talents threw the air and on the run as he sparked the Bullets to a 42-28 win over Lebanon Valley College in their only non-conference game of the season.

The native of Arendtsville, Pa., rushed for 130 yards and three touchdowns on 12 carries, including a 77-yard run for the game’s first score.  He also connected on 11-of-16 passes for 114 yards, earning Centennial Conference Co-Offensive Player of the Week honors in his first collegiate start.  The Bullets, who averaged fourth in Division III with 493.1 yards per game last year, compiled 488 yards, including 374 yards rushing on the day.

QUICK HITS: 
McMurry quarterback Jake Mullin exploded for 420 yards passing and five touchdowns in three quarters of action as he led his team to a 41-6 win at Bacone.  He was named American Southwest Conference Offensive Player of the Week for his performance … Bluffton University ended a 17-game losing streak with a 30-28 victory over Kalamazoo.  The Beavers’ last win was also against Kalamazoo in 2008 … Howard Payne University sophomore placekicker Mitchell Bailey nailed four field goals, including two 50-yarders in a double-overtime loss to Trinity.  Bailey garnered ASC Special Teams Player of the Week for his outstanding achievements …


Brandon Wright – Wesley - Offense
The sophomore from Clayton, NJ accounted for three touchdowns in Wesley’s 34-6 win at Christopher Newport.  He ran for 70 yards on 14 carries and two touchdowns, while he caught two passes for 51 yards and one touchdown.