Oct. 9, 2009

By Amy Farnum
NCAA.com

ON A CRUSADE:  Every weekend in the Ohio Athletic Conference seems to feature a match-up between nationally-ranked teams, and this Saturday is no different as No. 1 Mount Union travels to No. 21 Capital in a battle of unbeatens.

Both squads boast spotless 4-0 marks, including 3-0 records in OAC play as Capital will be looking to knock off the Purple Raiders for the first time since 1987.  Mount Union and Capital are the top two rushing defenses in the league, and also have the best two teams in total offense, averaging 469.5 and 469.0 yards per game, respectively.  

Mount Union is coming off its first shutout of the season, a 30-0 victory versus Baldwin-Wallace, while the Crusaders defense also had an outstanding game last week, forcing five turnovers in a 37-13 win over Marietta.

No. 13 Otterbein also owns a 3-0 mark against OAC opponents as it looks to remain perfect at Baldwin-Wallace on Oct. 10.

CALIFORNIA DREAMIN’: In the only other match-up between nationally-ranked foes this week, No. 24 Redlands will travel to No. 22 Occidental in a contest of Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference opponents.  It will be the 101st meeting in series history with Oxy winning the last five games.

Redlands is the SCIAC leader in both total offense (455.33 ypg) and total defense (223.33 ypg).  The Bulldogs are fresh off a 51-24 drubbing of La Verne in which senior quarterback Dan Selway tossed for 323 yards passing and five touchdowns.

Occidental also won its league opener, defeating Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, 42-14, behind a 20-for-29 passing effort by senior quarterback Scott Saunders, who threw for four touchdowns and 252 yards.

SEEING RED: No. 19 Cortland State looks to make up some ground in the New Jersey Athletic Conference standings as the Red Dragons travel to Montclair State on Oct. 10.  Montclair State is tied for first place in the league standings with Kean at 3-0. Cortland has five straight wins against the Red Hawks and leads the series 15-9-1.

The Red Dragons rank first in the NJAC in total defense (253.2 ypg) and sacks (13), but will matched up with a Montclair State offense that has surrendered just two sacks in four games, and is scoring 31.8 points per game, second-most in the conference.

A DEFENSIVE TEST:
No. 2 UW-Whitewater leads the nation in scoring defense as the Warhawks have given up just 13 points in four games, but will square off with a feisty UW-Eau Claire squad that has not tallied less than 27 points in a game this season in a Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference match-up on Oct. 10.

Eau Claire quarterback Kyle Paulson is second in the league in total offense (280.2), while running back Cory Sartorelli leads the WIAC in scoring, and ranks second in the nation, with ten touchdowns.

A DELICATE BALANCE: 
Wabash is the highest scoring team in the nation at 50.75 points per game, but defensively the Little Giants are also solid, giving up just 11.0 points per game, which ranks ninth in Division III.  

The Little Giants are coming off their 600th win in program history as they host Washington (Mo.) in a non-conference tilt on Oct. 10.  Wabash joins Notre Dame as the only Indiana college, any division, with 600 or more wins.

“I told our guys they’re in good company,” said head coach Erik Raeburn. “If you have 600 wins as a football program, that’s a lot of good football players for a long time. I think our guys are proud to be part of the 600th win and be part of a program with that kind of tradition.”