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Wisconsin-Whitewater will be aiming for its fourth consecutive national title in 2012 and Mount Union hopes to climb back on top for the 11th time overall. Those two squads won't be the only ones eyeing a chance to play in the Stagg Bowl in December. Check out some of the top teams in the country heading into the fall.   


2011 Team and Individual Statistics
Sixth-year head coach Ben McEnroe has Cal Lutheran among the top teams in the country entering 2012 as 12 starters return including preseason All-American Eric Rogers, who had 42 catches for 948 yards and nine touchdowns a year ago. Rogers, who needs just three touchdowns to go with his 23 career scores to rewrite the school mark, will try to help the Kingsmen again rank in the national offensive leaders, after placing sixth last fall with 484.0 yards per contest. Rian Younker will anchor the defensive line opposite Rogers and Co. after being named a second-team preseason All-American in early August. 
Cal Lutheran Athletics


2011 Team and Individual Statistics
Delaware Valley will be looking to go one step farther in 2012 after falling in the second round of the DIII playoffs last fall. That loss, a 27-14 setback against St. John Fisher, was the Aggies' only loss of the year (11-1) after gaining their second double-figure win total in three seasons. All-American tackle John Lavelle will hold down an offensive line that returns four starters while protecting a 2,500-yard passer and blocking for a 1,000-yard rusher. The Kingsmen's defense will need some help as it lost two linebackers and two defensive backs to graduation after ranking sixth in total defense in 2011, allowing just 238.7 ypg.
Delaware Valley Athletics


2011 Team and Individual Statistics
Linfield has key players returning in each of the three phases of the game, making it the favorite for its fourth consecutive league crown and once again a team to watch in the playoff picture. Tyler Steele returns to the defensive line after an All-America season last fall when he ranked eighth nationally with 11.0 sacks. The backfield of QB Mickey Inns (2,855 yards, 31 TDs) and RB Josh Hill (942 yards, 9 TD) will provide much of the offensive burst while PK Josh Kay, who was 16 of 19 on field-goal attempts and 55 of 56 on PATs, will be the leader of the special teams.
Linfield Athletics


2011 Team and Individual Statistics
QB LiDarral Bailey returns as the preseason offensive player of the year in the American Southwest Conference after recording more than 2,500 yards through the air and on the ground last year. His 30 combined passing (17) and rushing (13) touchdowns helped UMHB average 43.4 points per game, sixth nationally a year ago. The Cru also boasts the top player in the league on the other side of the ball as LB Javicz Jones, who set conference single-season records last fall with 141 tackles while adding 12.5 tackles for loss, is the pick for defensive player of the year for the second consecutive season.  
 
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Mary Hardin-Baylor Athletics


2011 Team and Individual Statistics
Mount Union knows what it takes to earn a trip to the Stagg Bowl and a chance to play for the national title. The Purple Raiders have done it seven consecutive years and with key players back -- like DB Nick Driskill and LB Charles Dieuseul -- they have a chance to match last year's defensive totals that finished No. 2 in scoring (8.7 points per game) and total defense (203.3 yards per game). All-American offensive lineman Antonio Tate will help pave the way for a new running back taking over for the departed Jeremy Murray, who rushed for 1,730 yards and 20 TDs last fall.  
NCAA Photos


2011 Team and Individual Statistics
A pair of preseason All-Americans highlight the North Central (Ill.) roster as defensive back Josh Mitchell and offensive lineman Jace Werkheiser look to lead on their respective sides of the ball. Under coach John Thorne, the Cardinals have won 59 games in the past six seasons and won 16 consecutive league games, including a conference-record 15 consecutive by 20 or more points. Werkheiser helped NCC put up 451.0 total offense yards per game last fall while Mitchell had seven PBUs and three INTs -- returning two for touchdowns -- while the defense allowed just 271.4 yards per contest. 
North Central (Ill.) Athleitcs


2011 Team and Individual Statistics
With two defensive players (Phillip Hiner-Leamon and Thomas Puskarich) and a punter (Kyle Trella) earning preseason All-America honors from at least one publication, there's a good chance Trinity (Texas) will have the upperhand in field position in most of its games. Last season, the unit ranked 11th nationally in total defense (244.7 ypg). The key to how far the Tigers can go in 2012 will be on offense where Yustino Hong also picked up preseason accolades. Trinity ranked just 159th in total offense a year ago, but QB Nyk McKissic, who passed for 1,703 yards and 14 TDs as a junior, returns with experience on his side.
Trinity (Texas) Athletics

2011 Team and Individual Statistics
Wesley was ranked No. 3 by one preseason poll for the third consecutive year behind the strength of seven starters return on each side of the ball. It also has PK Dan Tryon returning after being named to the Fred Mitchell Award watch list as one of the nation's top kickers. QB Justin Sottilare returns to preseason All-America accolades after setting the school single-season record with 38 passing touchdowns last fall while finishing with four games passing for at least 300 yards. CB Leon Jones also earned All-America honors in August and leads a defense that allowed less than 16 points and 290 yards per game to rank among the national leaders.      
Wesley Athletics


2011 Team and Individual Statistics
There's something to be said for depth, and Wheaton (Ill.) will have just that in the backfield with quarterbacks Garrett Meador and Jordan Roberts both being proven winners fighting for the same spot. Roberts led the Thunder to a 10-2 mark in 2010 before an injury sidelined him a year ago. Meador stepped in and went 8-2 while throwing for 2,852 yards and 28 scores. They'll miss the top two receivers from 2011, but hope that the defense can improve from 59th in total defense last year (309.7 yards per game) to ease the load. 
Wheaton (Ill.) Athletics


2011 Team and Individual Statistics
If Titletown, USA, wasn't in Wisconsin before, UW-Whitewater coach Lance Leipold (72-3 record in six years) is trying to make sure it is now. The Warhawks enter 2012 as the favorite again after three consecutive national titles and a 45-game winning streak in tact, the fourth-longest string all-time in any division of college football. Heading the way will be preseason All-Americans DB Noah Timm, DE Loussaint Minett and WR Tyler Huber. In 2011, Timm tied the school record with eight interceptions while Minett's 32 tackles and seven TFLs also helped UW-W rank fifth in the country by allowing just 10.8 points per game. Huber posted 79 receptions as a junior, taking in 10 touchdowns and adding 1,244 yards. Despite being ranked No. 1 in the preseason, the Warhawks still have big shoes to fill early in the year as they will miss RB Levell Coppage's dominance on the ground (2,120 yards, 28 TD last year) and QB Matt Blanchard's 2,852 passing yards and 23 TDs (against just four INTs). Lee Brekke had 25 passing attempts at quarterback and Desmin Ward's 361 rushing yards are the most returning from last season.
NCAA Photos