Oct. 23, 2009

By Amy Farnum

LITTLE BRASS BELL:  When No. 3 Wheaton (Ill.) travels to No. 13 North Central on Oct. 24, the two squads will not only be battling for first place in the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin standings, but also the “Little Brass Bell” trophy which has been awarded to the winner of the game annually since 1946. 

Both teams enter the contest with 3-0 records in CCIW play.  Wheaton has won nine of the last 11 meetings and holds a series record in 49-37-3. This year’s match-up looks to be an offensive affair as both teams are averaging over 450 yards per game of total offense.  North Central lost its season-opener to Ohio Northern, but has reeled off five straight victories entering the Wheaton game.

For the first time in North Central history, the school will have a regular season athletic even televised live as Naperville Community Television will carry the game at 2 p.m. CT.  The game can be watched live on Channel 17 in Naperville or online at nctv17.com through simultaneous video streaming.

"Not too many Division III teams have the opportunity to have their games televised live," said North Central head coach John Thorne. "We're very happy that the College and NCTV are making this happen."

BEAVER STATE BATTLE: First place in the Northwest Conference standings will also be on the line when No. 8 Linfield visits No. 14 Willamette in a contest between the long-standing rivals on Oct. 24.

The two squads are both 3-0 in league play as they look forward to the 81st meeting in series history.  Willamette won the NWC last season after winning its first league championship since 1997, finishing the year at 10-1.  After opening with a 24-17 loss at Concordia-Moorhead, the Bearcats have won six consecutive contests.  Linfield is seeking its first NWC title since 2005, and has won seven straight games dating back to 2008.   The Wildcats have won 30 of the last 38 contests in the series.

Linfield leads the NWC in both total offense (437.50 ypg) and total defense (261.67 ypg), while Willamette paces the league in scoring defense with just 16.14 points allowed per game.

TOUGH TEST: No. 11 Otterbein has cruised through the first six games of the season flawlessly, but No. 17 Capital is sure to pose a challenge on Oct. 24 at 2 p.m. 

Otterbein boasts the top rusher in the Ohio Athletic Conference in junior Colton Coy (117.17 ypg), and the league’s top rushing offense averaging 263 yards per game, however the Cardinals will be tested with the Crusaders rushing defense.  Capital is allowing just 64.33 yards rushing per game, which ranks 11th in the nation.

“Defensively, they have one of the best run-stopping defenses in the country,” said Otterbein head coach Joe Loth. “It will be an enormous challenge running against their defense.”

The Cardinals are currently tied with top-ranked Mount Union for first place in the OAC standings, but do not face the Purple Raiders until Nov. 7.  A 28-21 loss to Mount Union on Oct. 10 is the only blemish on the Crusaders’ schedule so far this season.