Oct. 30, 2009

By Amy Farnum

PRESIDENTIAL MATCH-UP:  The Presidents’ Athletic Conference title will be up for grabs when No. 6 Washington & Jefferson hosts No. 13 Thomas More (Ky.) on Oct. 31 in a battle of nationally-ranked unbeaten teams.  The two squads enter the game among a group of 18 Division III football teams that are still undefeated on the season.  It is the only game between nationally-ranked squads this weekend.

It is the second straight year that the contest between the two squads will decide the PAC champion.  Last year, Thomas More won its’ first-ever league title with a 35-29 defeat of the Presidents.

Both teams boast stout defenses as the Presidents rank fifth in the nation in total defense (220.7 ypg) and eighth in scoring defense (10.1 ppg), while the Saints are sixth in the nation in rushing defense (58.4 ypg) and 15th in scoring defense (13.3 ppg).

W&J will be looking for its 23rd PAC title.  The Presidents have not gone two years without at least a share of the conference title since 1982-83.

ON THE WARPATH:  Second-ranked UW-Whitewater seeks to avenge its last Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference loss as the Warhawks travel to UW-Stevens Point in a match-up of league unbeatens on Oct. 31.  The Pointers ended UW-Whitewater’s streak of 25 straight WIAC wins in a 17-16 victory on Oct. 25 of last year.

UW-Whitewater is among the Division III leaders in both offense and defense.  The Warhawks rank fifth in total offense (496.3 ypg) and sixth in scoring (41.0 ppg), while the defense is limiting foes to 6.29 points per game (2nd) and 209.4 yards per game (4th). 

The Pointers are averaging three sacks per game (23rd) led by defensive end Matt Lunder with five as they face a Warhawk offensive line that has given up just two on the season. UW-SP is 5-2 on the year, but the Pointers season-opening setback was by one point to Central (Iowa), a team that is now ranked No. 5 in the nation.

GREAT SCOTS: Monmouth College (8-0) has a chance to clinch the Midwest Conference title against Illinois College on Saturday, which would give the Scots an automatic berth into the NCAA Division III playoffs. The Blue Boys are vying for a top-three finish in the MWC standings as they look to avenge last season’s 78-17 loss to Monmouth.

The Scots are fresh off a 51-14 triumph over Lake Forest in which they compiled 613 yards of total offense and scored on five of their first six possessions.  Illinois College will be looking to snap a 12-game losing streak to Monmouth dating back to 1997.

MOUNTING CONCERN: After upsetting then-No. 22 Franklin College last weekend, and ending the Grizzlies’ 21-game winning streak against Heart Collegiate Athletic Conference foes, the College Mount St. Joseph cracked the AFCA Division III Top 25 at No. 23 this week.

The Mount will look to clinch a share of the HCAC title and the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA playoffs with a victory at Manchester on Oct. 31.  Manchester is also unbeaten in conference play (4-0), but the Spartans are 4-3 overall.

LOOMING FOR THE LIONS: No. 21 Albright College is looking to improve to 8-0 for the first time since 1997 as the Lions host FDU-Florham in a Middle Athletic Conference showdown on Oct. 31.

If the Lions get past the Devils, and Delaware Valley College downs King’s on Saturday, the two squads will both be undefeated in league play when they meet on Nov. 7.