Top 10 Preview
No. 1 Mount Union at Ohio Northern, 1:30 p.m. ET Saturday
Top-ranked Mount Union travels to Ada for an Ohio Athletic Conference matchup with Ohio Northern Saturday. It is the first game for a new artificial surface at Dial-Roberson Stadium on campus.
Mount Union (3-0, 2-0 OAC) quarterback Kevin Burke matched his career-high with five touchdown passes in the Purple Raiders' 84-14 win against Marietta last week. Burke threw for 336 yards as Brian Gainer and Jack Nicholls each caught two touchdown passes and had over 100 yards receiving while Germany Woods rushed for 76 yards and a touchdown. Marietta took the opening kickoff, drove 75 yards and scored to take a 7-0 lead but Mount Union scored on all seven of its first half possessions to lead 49-7 at the half. Tom Lally had 1.5 sacks to lead the defense.
Devon Price blocked a punt for a touchdown and caught an 80-yard TD pass to lead Ohio Northern (2-1, 1-1 OAC) to a 38-24 victory last week at Capital. Capital had a 7-0 lead and after the Polar Bears tied the game, Price's punt block that was recovered for a touchdown gave ONU the lead for good. Patrick Angle threw three touchdown passes and William Bodden had 130 yards rushing for the offense while Dillon Kwiat had 15 tackles to lead the defense.
This is the 56th meeting between the teams with Mount Union holding a 41-13-1 lead in the series that dates back to a 52-0 Mount Union win on Thanksgiving Day 1907. The Raiders have won seven-consecutive meetings after Ohio Northern's 21-14 win in 2005 in Alliance. Prior to that game, Mount Union had won 21 in a row dating back to a 14-9 Polar Bear win on Sept. 8, 1984.
Trinity (Texas) at No. 2 Mary Hardin-Baylor, 7 p.m. ET Saturday
Mary Hardin-Baylor will continue the longest home stand in school history with a return to non-conference play this Saturday. The Cru will welcome Trinity (Texas) to Crusader Stadium in the final non-conference game of the 2013 season.
UMHB is 4-0 overall and has a 1-0 mark in American Southwest Conference play following last Saturday's 40-18 victory against Sul Ross State in the first conference game played in Crusader Stadium.
The all-time series between the two teams is tied 4-4 with UMHB winning the last four meetings. The two teams will be playing in Belton for just the third time in series history. The Cru won last year's meeting 49-28 in San Antonio in the first regular season meeting between UMHB and the Tigers since the 1999 season opener. The Cru has faced Trinity in the Division III playoffs five times.
No. 15 Pacific Lutheran at No. 3 Linfield, 4:30 p.m. ET Saturday
No. 15 Pacific Lutheran will head down to McMinnville, Ore., for Saturday's rivalry game against third-ranked Linfield.
The undefeated Lutes (3-0) and Wildcats meet on the gridiron for the 64th time in a series that stretches back to 1933. The teams were the class of the NAIA Div. II in the 1980s, combining for five national titles in an eight-year stretch from 1980-87.
Saturday's game could be a playoff preview. The two teams have faced each other six times in the postseason, with each team claiming three victories. Recent history favors Linfield, though, as the Wildcats brought an end to PLU's first postseason appearance since 2001 last season with a 27-24 first-round win in McMinnville.
Linfield has won its first three games this season by an averaging scoring margin of 56-to-11.7. The Wildcats have averaged 165 more rushing yards per game than they have allowed (246.7-to-81.7), and they've nearly doubled their opponents' passing yardage (1,005-to-515). Josh Yoder has completed 67.4 percent of his passes (60-of-89) for 907 yards and eight touchdowns to go with four interceptions.
Three Linfield runners have gained more than 100 yards on the ground, led by Tavon Willis' 181 rushing yards, with Blake Martin just shy of making that a four-player club (96 yards). Brian Balsinger (22 catches for 292 yards) and Charlie Poppen (14/300) lead the receiving corps. Senior linebacker Dominique Forrest leads the defense with 35 tackles, including a team-best eight for-loss.
Pacific Lutheran concludes the nonconference portion of its schedule with a 3-0 mark for the second time in three years. Dalton Ritchey has passed for 664 yards and six touchdowns, competing 57.6 percent of his passes (53-of-92) with five interceptions. The junior quarterback has added 152 rushing yards and a pair of scores on the ground. Kyle Warner has a team-high 324 receiving yards and four touchdowns on 18 catches, while Niko Madison has averaged 6.8 yards per carry while running for 253 yards and two touchdowns.
No. 4 North Central (Ill.) at Elmhurst, 2 p.m. ET Saturday
North Central (Ill.) is one of two College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin (CCIW) teams ranked in the top 25, joining 11th-ranked Wheaton (Ill.).
Now 3-0, the Cardinals open CCIW play on Saturday at Elmhurst. North Central boasts the seventh-best offense in the nation with 554.3 yards per game, including 338.0 yards per game through the air which is 10th best in the country. Spencer Stanek has thrown nine touchdowns with no interceptions to go along with 324 yards through the air per game. A.J. Thomas has made only eight catches but three have gone for touchdowns to lead the squad. On the defensive side, Nick Slezak leads the team with 32 total tackles.
NCC will face an Elmhurst team that has scored just seven total points in its last two games, including a shutout last week at Chicago. While the Bluejays have averaged 204 yards per game on the ground, they've only thrown for 119. Running back Josh Williams leads the offense with two touchdowns while averaging 77 yards per game.
WPI No. 5 Hobart, Noon ET Saturday
Hobart will return to Boswell Field to host WPI (2-2, 1-0) on Saturday. Kickoff is scheduled for noon.
The Statesmen will don special camouflage jerseys to honor our nation's active military and military veterans. Devin Worthington was named a Beyond Sports Network Defensive Player of the Week and earned a spot on the Liberty League Weekly Honor Roll. He led a swarming Hobart defense that bottled up the potent Merchant Marine running game. He recorded 11 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, and 2.0 sacks. Worthington leads one of the top defenses in the country, with the unit ranked No. 31 in the country allowing just 275 yards per game.
Hobart faces a WPI team which is 2-2 this season following a 27-14 win against RPI last week. WPI features a balanced offensive attack -- 160 on the ground and 156 through the air.
Wisconsin-Eau Claire at No. 6 Wisconsin-Platteville, 4 p.m. ET Saturday
The Blugolds and Pioneers are meeting for the 53rd time in history Saturday for Platteville's homecoming game. It's the conference opener for each team. The Pioneers lead the series 29-22-1. Platteville has won the last four meetings while the Blugolds won the previous five and 13 of 14 between 1996 and 2009. The first meeting was Oct. 8, 1960 -- a 7-7 tie.
The teams played twice last year, most recently on Oct. 27, 2012. The Pioneers, ranked No. 18 at the time, scored a TD with four seconds left in the first half to take a 14-10 lead at halftime. They went on to win 24-17. Earlier in the season, in a non-conference game, UWP won 49-19.
Running back Joel Sweeney is working his way up in the Blugolds' career rankings. He is currently fourth in most yards rushing (3,298), fifth in scoring (252 pts), fifth in touchdowns scored (42), T-5th in rushing TDs (39), sixth in rushing atteampts (717), T-11th in TDs responsible for (42) and 17th in total offensive yards (3,298).
John Kelly leads the Pioneers with nine touchdown passes.
No. 7 Wisconsin-Whitewater at Wisconsin-La Crosse, 2 p.m. ET Saturday
Wisconsin-Whitewater will open Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference play on the road in La Crosse Saturday. The 3-0 Warhawks will take on an 0-3 Eagles squad.
UW-Whitewater faced UW-La Crosse for the 62nd time in school history on Nov. 10, 2012. The Warhawks topped the Eagles 24-0 at Perkins Stadium in their final game of 2012. The last time UW-L beat UW-Whitewater was Nov. 13, 2004. The Eagles scored at least seven points in every quarter en route to a 35-10 victory. The Warhawks have won the ten games since.
UW-W leads the league in scoring defense, allowing just seven points per game. Conversely UW-L is last, giving up 34.3 points per contest. The Warhawks are far away the best in the WIAC at taking the ball away from their opponents. They boast a plus-12 turnover margin while UW-L is minus-5 .
Augsburg at No. 8 Bethel, 2 p.m. ET Saturday
Saturday's matchup will be the 41st between Augsburg and Bethel. The Royals own a 22-13 record against the Auggies and have won 15 in a row in the series. BU held on in last year's meeting 21-20.
With 10 tackles last week against Carleton, Seth Mathis became Bethel's all-time leading tackler. Mathis leads a BU defense which has allowed just 15 points per game, but it will face an Augsburg offense which has put up 41.7 points per game. BU's offense has rolled early this season as well, averaging 45 points per game -- good for 17th in the nation. QB Erik Peterson has yet to throw an interception while tossing four touchdown passes.
Ayrton Scott leads the Augsburg offense with nine touchdown passes this season and leads the nation in total offense with 390 per game.
No. 9 Wisconsin-Oshkosh at Wisconsin-Stout, 3 p.m. ET Saturday
UW-Stout (2-1, 0-0 WIAC) will open the WIAC portion of the schedule when they host defending WIAC champion, ninth-ranked UW-Oshkosh, (3-0, 0-0 WIAC) Saturday. Stout and Oshkosh have played each other every year since 1962, with UW-Oshkosh leading the series 33-23-1. Oshkosh has won the last three meetings, outscoring the Blue Devils 56-10, 35-3, and 27-18.
Nick Olla completed 17-of-26 passes for 265 yards and three touchdowns as Oshkosh dominated Alma 56-3. Caleb Voss caught two TD receptions and Cole Myrha ran for two more as Oshkosh piled up 555 yards of total offense, while holding Alma to 75 total yards. Oshkosh racked up 30 first downs and scored 21 points in each of the second and third periods. Oshkosh forced Alma to punt 11 times and scored six of the seven times they were in the red zone. The week earlier, the Titans were able to come away with a 34-13 win over Marian ranked No. 2 in the NAIA last week.
The Blue Devils were handed their first loss of the season, falling 41-14 to 6th-ranked North Central (Ill.) last Saturday. Stout fell behind early as the Cardinals scored 41 points before two late drives got the Blue Devils on the board. The defense was unable to find an answer for the high-powered offensive attack of North Central, as they racked up 584 yards of total offense.
No. 10 Heidelberg at Marietta, 7 p.m. ET Saturday
Saturday marks the third week of Ohio Athletic Conference play for both teams. Marietta is still looking for its first win of the season after falling at top-ranked Mount Union last week by the score of 84-14. The Pioneers are 0-3
overall and 0-2 in the OAC. Nationally-ranked Heidelberg defeated Wilmington in Tiffin last week by the score of 66-12. The Student Princes enter tonight’s game 3-0 overall and 2-0 in the OAC.
Saturday marks the 51st time that the two teams will meet on the gridiron. Heidelberg holds a 30-20 lead in the series. The series began in 1917 with Marietta winning 3-0. The Student Princes have won the last five meetings against the Pioneers. Marietta’s last victory against Heidelberg was a 31-23 decision in 2007.
The Pioneers are currently ranked 8th in the OAC in total offense (275.3 ypg) and 10th in total defense (538.0 ypg). Senior quarterback Tom Fulton got the start last week. For the season he has completed 44-of-84 passes for 451 yards and three touchdowns.
The Student Princes are ranked 1st in the OAC in total offense (542.3 ypg) and tied-6th in total defense (348.0 ypg). Junior quarterback Michael Mees has completed 33-of-49 passes for 786 yards and a league-leading nine touchdowns.