Notebook: Quarterfinals Preview
Dec. 3, 2010
By Amy Farnum
Mary Hardin-Baylor (12-0) at Wesley (11-0), 12 p.m. ET The Crusaders are 12-0 for the first time in their 13-year history after cruising to a 69-7 win over Thomas More, advancing to their fifth NCAA quarterfinal appearance in the last seven seasons. UMHB is coming off a school-record performance as it posted 769 yards of total offense against the Saints. The Cru also held the Saints to a season-low 75 rushing yards, just one week after they rolled up 432 yards against Washington & Lee.
Wesley held Montclair State to the Red Hawks lowest point total in 49 games in last weekend's 44-7 second round victory. The Wolverines have advanced to the quarterfinals for the fifth time in the last six years, and are looking to move on to the semifinals for the fourth time since 2005.
The Cru tops the nation with a scoring average of 48.92 points per game, and paces Division III in kickoff return yards per game (29.86) and ranks second in net punting (37.90). UMHB's seventh-ranked rushing offense is led by Quincy Daniels (102.67 ypg). Wesley will counter with the nation's top total defense (188.64 ypg), along with a scoring offense that is putting up 43.81 ppg -- good for eighth in the nation. Wolverines' quarterback Justin Sottilare is ranked third in Division III in passing efficiency (177.30).
The two squads will meet for the fifth time since 2005. Wesley won the first two meetings, but UMHB has come out on top in the last two, including an NCAA playoff first round win in 2008. All four previous meetings have been in the NCAA Division III playoffs. Wesley is 14-6 all-time in seven NCAA appearances, while UMHB is 16-8 in nine playoff trips.
Wisconsin-Whitewater (12-0) at North Central (12-0), 12 p.m. CT Defending NCAA Division III champion UW-Whitewater remained in contention to repeat as the Warhawks downed Trine University, 45-31, behind Levell Coppage's 300 yards rushing and three touchdowns. It was the second-highest rushing total in school history. The Warhawks advanced to the NCAA quarterfinals for the sixth straight season.
North Central will be making its' first-ever NCAA quarterfinal appearance after topping Ohio Northern, 28-9, last weekend. Jordan Tassio and Nate Kukuc both ran for over 100 yards as the Cardinals' offense churned out 325 yards on the ground.
The Warhawks are stellar in both rushing offense (287.58 ypg) and defense (46.83 ypg), and outscoring foes by a margin of over 32 points per game. UWW is registering 505 yards of total offense per game for third in the nation, and is also third in Division III with a 1.67 turnover margin. North Central looks to be cut from the same cloth as the Cardinals are racking up 232.50 ypg on the ground (21th), while allowing just 62.08 per game (5th). North Central has held foes to just 8.33 points per game, which ranks second in the nation.
The two programs will meet for the second time in series history. UWW won the first meeting, 59-28, in the second round of the 2007 NCAA playoffs.
Alfred (10-2) at Mount Union (12-0), 12 p.m. ET The Saxons are headed to the NCAA quarterfinals for the first time in program history after fending off Cortland State, 34-20, last weekend. Alfred picked up its first-ever playoff win in first-round action with a 60-0 defeat of Maritime, and continued the momentum in the Saxons' third trip to the NCAA playoffs. AU freshman Austin Dwyer grounded out 186 yards in the contest, and needs just 16 more to set a new school single-season record.
Mount Union is no stranger to December football games as the Purple Raiders have advanced to the Stagg Bowl 13 times, winning 10 NCAA championships with their last coming in 2008. The Purple Raiders cruised to a 31-3 win over Delaware Valley College in the second round to advance to the NCAA quarterfinals for the 19th straight season.
The Saxons field a solid defense and are allowing, just 264 yards per game, which ranks 23rd in the nation. Mount Union, however, will challenge with an offense that is putting up over 40 points per game, and one of the top defenses in the nation. The Purple Raiders top the nation in scoring defense (6.83 ppg), and rank second in Division III in both pass efficiency defense (80.30) and total defense (198.17 ypg).
This will be the first meeting between the two programs, although Mount Union is 5-0 in the NCAA playoffs against current members of the Empire 8 Conference.
Bethel (11-1) at St. Thomas (12-0), 12 p.m. CT For the first time in championship history, two Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference teams have reached the NCAA quarterfinals in the same season. Bethel claimed its second straight road victory by upending Wheaton (Ill.), 15-10, last weekend behind senior Logan Flannery's 141 rushing yards and 27-yard TD reception. The Royals are looking to advance to the semifinals for the second time in program history, and first time since 2007, by avenging their only loss of the season to St. Thomas.
The Tommies are 12-0 for the first time in program history after surviving a double-overtime contest against Linfield, 24-17, as they moved on to the NCAA quarterfinals for the third time in three all-time appearances.
Bethel boasts a stellar rushing offense which ranks 12th in the nation with 254.67 ypg, while the Royals also feature a stifling defense that is allowing just 228.0 ypg (5th) and 11.58 ppg (6th) this season. The Tommies will counter with the fourth-ranked scoring defense in the nation (11.82 ppg), and 14th-ranked scoring offense (40.58 ppg), featuring running back Ben Wartman, who is a Gagliardi Trophy finalist. St. Thomas has scored in 20 of its last 22 trips inside the red zone, including 17 TDs.
The two programs have never met in the NCAA playoffs, but the conference foes have played annually since 1978. St. Thomas won this year's regular season match-up, 10-6, on Oct. 23, although the Royals did rack up more yards of total offense in the meeting. The Tommies enter the contest on a 15-game winning streak.