|Top Division III Matchups|
Who: No. 1 Wisconsin-Whitewater Warhawks at No. 24 Wisconsin-Oshkosh Titans
Who: No. 3 St. Thomas (Minn.) Tommies at No. 15 Bethel (Minn.) Royals
Who: No. 7 Montclair State Red Hawks at The College of New Jersey Lions
Who: No. 8 North Central (Ill.) Cardinals at No. 13 Illinois Wesleyan Titans
Who: Pacific Lutheran Lutes at No. 5 Linfield Wildcats
Who: No. 16 Wheaton (Ill.) Thunder at Carthage Red Men
|Watch Them Now|
3 Luke Collis
Key Notes: Collis led Occidental to two wins in the last three weeks, including a 42-35 victory against Pomona-Pitzer last week as he threw for 343 yards and four touchdowns. On the year, Collis ranks 12th nationally in total offense (308.6) and eighth in passing yards per game (305.0). In conference games, the senior signal-caller is completing 64.3 percent of his pass attempts for 333.3 yards per game with nine touchdowns against four interceptions. His effort has led the offense as the Tigers average just 98.0 rushing yards per game while starting off with a 3-2 entering this weekend’s matchup against No. 19 Redlands.
Other Players to Watch this Week: Lee Carothers, Sul Ross State (Jr., WR); Tyre Coleman, Hobart (Fr., DL); Chris D’Andrea, Montclair State (Sr., RB); Ty Dooley, Mary Hardin-Baylor (So., LB); Mike Hendrick, Knox (Jr., LB); Mike Jaskowski, Delaware Valley (Sr., DL); Scott Roche, Wheaton (Ill.) (Sr., PK);
|Keep Your Eyes on This|
• There was little movement in the AFCA Coaches’ Poll this week, especially in the top 20. Among the first 18 from a week ago, only one significant move was seen after Kean, previously No. 8, fell to No. 21 following its 28-20 loss on the road against Brockport State. The top seven remained the same while Nos. 9-18 last week each moved up one spot.
• New to the poll this week is Wisconsin-Oshkosh, as the Titans checked in at No. 24 with a 5-1 record. It’s good timing for UW-O as the Titans will take the confidence of playing well into this week’s matchup — a significant one in the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletics Conference standings — as No. 1 Wisconsin-Whitewater comes to town. Both the Titans and Warhawks are 3-0 in league action with UW-O’s only loss this year coming in non-conference play against UW-W’s newest rival, No. 2 Mount Union. The Purple Raiders tossed the Titans aside 41-17 on Sept. 10. Since then, Wisconsin-Oshkosh has reeled off four consecutive wins while allowing just four touchdowns in that stretch. Last year, UW-Whitewater trounced the Titans 48-21 in Oshkosh.
• The WIAC will not be the only league with conference title hopes that could surge or expire this weekend. In the College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin, a pair of games may highlight Saturday’s top-25 action. First up, No. 8 North Central (Ill.) hits the road to face No. 13 Illinois Wesleyan at 2:30 p.m. ET. It will be a battle of league unbeatens as the Cardinals and Titans bring in 3-0 league marks. The teams they have one combined loss as IWU is 6-0 while NCC’s lone setback came in the season opener on the road at current No. 19 Redlands. Following the showdown between the league’s top two ranked teams, No. 16 Wheaton (Ill.) takes its 5-1 record on the road to face Carthage, which owns a 4-2 overall mark but is sitting in fourth, only one game behind Wheaton (Ill.) in the CCIW standings.
• Also key to league title hopes, Pacific Lutheran hits the road to face No. 5 Linfield, which has quietly put together a strong opening stretch. It broke into the top five in the AFCA Poll behind its defense, which is giving up just 8.0 points per game and is second nationally in third-down conversion defense, allowing opponents to convert at a 17.4-percent clip. Pacific Lutheran is just a game behind Linfield in the Northwest Conference standings and owns a 4-1 overall record. The teams will be meeting for the 47th consecutive year and Linfield holds a 35-21-4 advantage in the series that dates back to 1933. Pacific Lutheran will counter the Wildcats with another stout defense that is 14th in scoring (11.6 ppg).
• Along with the WIAC and CCIW matchups, No. 3 St. Thomas (Minn.) will head to No. 15 Bethel (Minn.) for the third ranked matchup of the weekend. The Tommies hope to find the same success that Salisbury had last weekend against Alfred. The No. 12 Sea Gulls rolled to a 69-0 win against the Saxons on the road. It won’t likely be as easy for the Tommies as Bethel will pit a rushing offense that ranks 10th nationally (291.3 ypg) against St. Thomas’s 10th-ranked defnese (235.0 ypg). The Royals are no slouches on defense either, ranking 15th in total defense (244.8 ypg) while allowing just 14.8 points per game.
• Speaking of defense, six of the top 10 defenses in the country have helped their teams into the AFCA Poll, including Mount Union (No. 1 defense, 174.7 ypg), Johns Hopkins (3, 184.7), Wisconsin-Whitewater (6, 225.7), Trinity (Texas) (7, 226.0), Delaware Valley (8, 229.7) and St. Thomas.
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