Nov. 19, 2009

By Amy Farnum

Washington & Jefferson at Mount Union, 12 p.m. ET

Perennial national power Mount Union will begin its defense of its 10th national championship when the Purple Raiders host Washington & Jefferson for a first round game on Nov. 21.

The Purple Raiders enter the contest with a 10-0 mark after claiming their 18th consecutive Ohio Athletic Conference title and advancing to the NCAA playoffs for the 21st time.  The Presidents are also making their 21st NCAA playoff appearance, but have never won a national title, although they played in the Stagg Bowl in 1992 and 1994.  

This will be the fifth meeting in series history between the two squads.  W&J owns a 4-0 series advantage, but the two teams have not faced each other since 1941.   

W&J head coach Mike Sirianni was an All-OAC receiver for Mount Union’s first national championship team in 1993, and served as an assistant under Larry Kehres during Mount Union’s 1996 and 1997 NCAA title runs.

Maine Maritime at Montclair State, 12 p.m. ET
Montclair State earned a playoff berth for the third straight year as the Red Hawks claimed their first New Jersey Athletic Conference championship since 2003 and will host Maine Maritime, which is making its first appearance in the Division III playoffs, for a first round contest.

The Mariners won their first outright New England Football Conference title since 1993, giving them an automatic berth in the playoffs.  Maine Maritime leads Division III in rushing at almost 425 yards per game, and ranks fourth in scoring with 42.8 points per game.  Fullback Jim Bower the nation in rushing at 163.0 yards per game. The Red Hawks are giving up just 82.5 yards per game on the ground, and 15 points per game.

The meeting will be the first between the two schools and neither has played any common opponents.

Albright at Alfred, 12 p.m. ET
Alfred is making its first NCAA playoff appearance since 1981 after sharing the Empire 8 title with an 8-1 regular season mark.  

The Saxons will host Albright of the Middle Atlantic Conference, which received an at-large bid on the merits of their 9-1 record.  Albright is making its first NCAA appearance since 1996.

AU and Albright shared one common opponent this season — FDU-Florham. AU defeated Florham 33-28 on Sept. 12, while Albright knocked off the Devils 49-28, on Oct. 31.

Susquehanna at Delaware Valley College, 12 p.m. ET
Delaware Valley College advanced to the NCAA playoffs for the first time since 2005, and third time overall, after capturing the Middle Athletic Conference title with a flawless 7-0 mark in league play.

The Aggies will host Susquehanna, winners of the Liberty League and former member of the MAC.  Susquehanna is in the NCAA playoffs for the first time since 1991, but is no stranger to Delaware Valley as the two squads have met 43 times in series history.

North Carolina Wesleyan at Wesley College, 12 p.m. ET
Top-seeded Wesley College is making its fifth straight trip to the NCAA playoffs after posting a 10-0 mark, the school’s second undefeated regular season since moving to Division III.  The 2006 squad also went unbeaten in the regular season and advanced to the national semifinals before ending the year at 13-1.

The Wolverines will host North Carolina Wesleyan, winners of the USA South’s automatic bid.  The Bishops are making their second NCAA appearance after going unbeaten against league foes for the second time in three years.
The two teams’ only meeting was in the 2007 season opener for both squads, which the Wolverines won, 34-31.

Mississippi College at Huntingdon, 12 p.m. CT

For the first time since 1991, the Mississippi College has earned a postseason bid after winning a share of the American Southwest Conference title.  MC tied Mary Hardin-Baylor at 7-1 in the ASC standings, but received the conference’s automatic bid due to their 17-14 win over UMHB earlier this season.

Huntingdon College won six of its last seven games to claim one of nine at-large bids as a Division III Independent.  The Hawks boast an offense that leads Division III with 525.8 yards of total offense per game.  Huntingdon is making its first NCAA appearance, and will meet Mississippi College for the first time in school history.

Johns Hopkins at Hampden-Sydney, 12 p.m. ET
After earning its second outright Centennial Conference title this season, Johns Hopkins has advanced to the NCAA playoffs for the second time in program history.  The Blue Jays have won three straight games and eight of their last nine contests.

JHU will meet unbeaten Hampden-Sydney (10-0), the champions of the Old Dominion Athletic Conference.   The Tigers are making their third NCAA appearance, and second in the last three seasons.

Johns Hopkins and Hampden-Sydney had two common opponents this season in Gettysburg and Randolph Macon, each defeating both foes.  The two squads will meet for the 22nd time, and first time since 2007.

DePauw at Thomas More, 12 p.m. ET
DePauw secured its first-ever NCAA bid by winning the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference and will make its postseason debut at unbeaten Thomas More College on Saturday.

The Saints are the winners of the Presidents’ Athletic Conference, receiving a back-to-back NCAA bid for the first time since the football program’s inception in 1990.  It is their fourth overall appearance.  

Thomas More ranks second in the nation in rushing defense, allowing just 51.5 yards per game, while DePauw boasts the eighth-best passing offense in Division III, averaging over 320 yards per game.

Lakeland at Wisconsin-Whitewater, 12 p.m. CT
Lakeland (6-4) earned its second NCAA playoff appearance by winning the Northern Athletics Conference, and begins its postseason journey with a tough opponent in UW-Whitewater, the defending NCAA runner-up. Two of the Muskies’ four losses were to NCAA postseason participants.

The Warhawks are 10-0 and will be making their seventh NCAA playoff trip.  UW-Whitewater has advanced to the Stagg Bowl in each of the last four years, winning the national title in 2007.

UW-Whitewater owns a 6-0 series advantage against the Muskies.  The two squads’ last meeting was in 2007.  Whitewater's offensive coordinator is Jim Zebrowski, who was head coach at Lakeland for four seasons prior to joining the Warhawks’ staff. Several of the seniors on Lakeland's team played for Zebrowski.

Wabash at Illinois Wesleyan, 12 p.m. CT
Wabash advanced to the NCAA playoffs for the third consecutive year after compiling a 9-1 record and second-place in the North Coast Athletic Conference to claim an at-large bid.  The Little Giants will travel to Illinois Wesleyan, which earned the College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin’s automatic berth to the playoffs.

The Little Giants are giving up just 12.1 points per game, which ranks 11th in Division III, but will face a Titan offense averaging over 30 points and 424 yards per contest.

The Titans are in the NCAA playoffs for the first time since 1996.  The two squads have met six times with Wabash holding a 5-1 advantage, although the last time was in 1983.

Trine at Case Western, 12 p.m.  ET
Case Western Reserve University will compete in the NCAA playoffs for the third straight season after completing its third consecutive perfect regular season.  The Spartans won the University Athletic Association title, but earned an at-large berth because the conference does not have an automatic bid.  Case Western has reeled off 31 straight regular season wins dating back to November of 2006.

Trine went 6-0 in the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association to claim its second straight postseason bid.  The Thunder’s only loss was a 30-29 non-conference setback against Franklin College in September.

Mount St. Joseph at Wittenberg, 12 p.m. ET
Mount St. Joseph posted a perfect 7-0 in against league competition to win the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA playoffs.  The Mount will be making their fourth NCAA postseason appearance when it travels to one of the nation’s top defensive teams – Wittenberg – on Saturday.

Wittenberg leads the nation in scoring defense (5.3 ppg), allowing just 53 total points in 10 games.  No team has scored more than 10 points against the Tigers.  The North Coast Athletic Conference champions have given up just one first-half touchdown all season.  The Tigers are making their 13th NCAA playoff appearance, and first since 2006.  It is their first time hosting a playoff game since the 2000 season.

Coe at Saint John’s (Minn.), 12 p.m. CT
Coe College and Saint John’s (Minn.) will tangle for the fourth time in the NCAA playoffs as the Kohawks travel to Collegeville looking for their first win against the Johnnies.

The Kohawks earned an NCAA playoff bid for the first time since 2005 after finishing second in the Iowa Conference.  Coe is 1-5 all-time in the playoffs.  

Saint John’s, the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference champion, is in the NCAA playoffs for the 24th time and 11th time in the last 12 years.  The Johnnies have posted a 39-18 playoff record, including NCAA Division III titles in 2003 and 1976.

All three meetings between the two squads have been NCAA playoff contests with the last time coming in 2002.

St. Thomas (Minn.) at Monmouth (Ill.), 12 p.m. CT

St. Thomas earned its first trip to the NCAA playoffs since 1990, and second appearance in school history after posting a 9-1 record and second-place finish in the MIAC standings.  The Tommies will travel to Monmouth College, the unbeaten champions of the Midwest Conference.

The Fighting Scots have won 23 straight regular season games, and rank second in the nation in scoring with 47.7 points per game.  The Tommies also boast a productive offense that averages 40.9 points per game.

Just two years ago, St. Thomas went 2-8, but second-year head coach has turned the program around into a playoff team.  The Toms’ only loss of the season was to Saint John’s in overtime.  This will be the first meeting between the two schools.

Mary Hardin-Baylor at Central (Iowa), 12 p.m. CT
Mary Hardin-Baylor makes its sixth consecutive NCAA playoff appearance, and eighth in the last nine years, after receiving an at-large bid out of the American Southwest Conference.  The Cru will travel to unbeaten Central College, winner of the Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, on Saturday.

UMHB has compiled a 13-7 NCAA playoff record since starting football in 1998, and advanced to the national semifinals last season.

Central will be making its 20th NCAA playoff appearance and fourth trip in the last five seasons.  The Dutch won the 1974 title and are 21-18 all-time in the NCAA postseason.  Central has posted 17th undefeated regular seasons, and three in the past four years.

Cal Lutheran at Linfield, 12 p.m. PT
Cal Lutheran is making its first NCAA playoff appearance since moving from the NAIA in 1991 after claiming its first outright Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference title with a 6-0 league mark.

The Kingsmen will take an eight-game winning to undefeated Linfield College, winner of the Northwest Conference, on Saturday.  Linfield boasts an all-divisions record of 54 consecutive winning seasons after turning in a perfect 9-0 record in the regular season.

Linfield is making its fifth NCAA playoff appearance, which includes the Wildcats 2004 national title season.