Nov. 23, 2010

By Amy Farnum

Montclair State (10-1) at Wesley (10-0), 12 p.m. ET

After holding off Hampden-Sydney for a 16-14 first-round victory, the Red Hawks will move on to play top-seeded Wesley College for the first time since 2006. Montclair improved to 9-9 all-time in 10 NCAA playoff appearances. The Red Hawks have now posted double-digit victories for the second straight season, and fifth time in program history.

Wesley cruised to 53-14 first-round win over Muhlenberg, compiling 649 yards of total offense with the help of quarterback Justin Sottilare, who threw for 318 yards and four touchdown passes. The Wolverines held the Mules scoreless for the first three quarters of play. Wesley improved to 13-6 all-time in seven NCAA playoff trips and advanced to the second round for the sixth straight season.

The Red Hawks field a stellar defense that giving up just 10.09 points per game (fourth in nation), and ranks seventh in total defense, allowing just 228.64 yards per game. The Wolverines rank eighth in scoring in Division III with 43.90 points per game, however their defense is also stout and is allowing just 196.20 yards per game (2nd) and 12.0 points per game (11th).

Thomas More (11-0) at Mary Hardin-Baylor (11-0), 12 p.m. CT
A battle of unbeaten between the Presidents Athletic Conference and American Southwest Conference champions will most likely feature a strong ground game by both teams in the first-ever meeting between the two schools on Nov. 27. The Saints gained 423 yards rushing against Washington & Lee in a first-round victory, while the Crusaders rolled up 392 yards on the ground in a 59-7 defeat of Christopher Newport to advance to the second round for the seventh straight season.

UMHB and Mount Union are the only two Division III programs to post at least one NCAA playoff victory in the last seven years. The Crusaders are 11-0 for the first time in the 13-year history of the program, and improved to 15-8 all-time in nine NCAA appearances. Thomas More moved on to the second round for the second straight year.

The Saints are allowing just 11.08 points per game, which ranks eighth in Division III, while the Crusaders boast the nations second-best scoring offense with 47.08 points per game.

Ohio Northern (10-1) at North Central (11-0), 12 p.m. CT
The Polar Bears put on a defensive show in a 37-14 win over Wittenberg last weekend, picking off a school-record seven passes, while senior Brent Donley rushed for 179 yards as ONU improved its record to 3-0 in first-round NCAA games. North Central scored on each of its first nine possessions, and gained 612 yards for a school postseason record, to earn a 57-7 victory over St. Norbert last weekend.

Ohio Northern will field the nations sixth-best passing efficiency defense (89.37), and enters the contest giving up just 13.00 points per game, which ranks 14th in the nation. The Cardinals will also trot out one of the nations best defenses. North Central is giving up just 8.27 points per game (2nd) and 223.82 yards per game (4th).

The two squads opened the 2008 and 2009 regular seasons against each other with the home team winning each time. ONU is 4-2 all-time in three NCAA playoff appearances, while North Central is 4-4 in five trips to the postseason.

Trine (11-0) at Wisconsin-Whitewater (11-0), 12 p.m. CT
Trine rallied for a 45-35 victory over DePauw, outscoring the Tigers 19-7 in the final 17 minutes to remain unbeaten and earn a second-round match-up with defending NCAA champion and top-ranked Wisconsin-Whitewater. The Thunder improved to 2-2 all-time in their third straight NCAA appearance.

The Warhawks cruised to a 52-21 win over Franklin behind quarterback Lee Brekke, who was making his first collegiate start in place of an injured Matt Blanchard. Brekke went 23-for-30 for 292 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions. UW-W is now 24-6 all-time in nine NCAA appearances.

The Thunder enters the contest with the nations top scoring offense (47.55 ppg), and ranked third in total offense with 506.64 yards per game. UW-W will counter with a defense that is giving up just 9.82 points per game, which ranks third in the nation, and the top rushing defense in Division III (42.18 ypg). UW-W and Trine met once in the 2003 regular season, with the Warhawks defeating then-Tri-State University, 38-0.

Delaware Valley College (9-2) at Mount Union (11-0), 12 p.m. ET

The Aggies advanced to second round for the fourth time in the last eight years with a 23-12 win over Salisbury thanks to another stellar defensive effort. DVC has allowed just 20 or more points this season, both in losses, and are allowing just 230.5 yards per game and 80.2 rushing yards.

However, the Aggies will face a tough task as they travel to perennial power Mount Union for a second round contest on Nov. 27. The Purple Raiders opened the postseason with a 49-0 defeat of St. Lawrence to improve to 11-0 on the year. Mount Union features the nations top pass efficiency defense (77.64), total defense (191.0 ypg) and scoring defense, giving up just 7.18 points per game.

The Aggies are 6-3 all-time in four NCAA appearances, while the Purple Raiders boast a 66-11 mark in 22 postseason trips. The two teams have never met in the NCAA playoffs.

Alfred College (9-2) at Cortland State (10-1), 12 p.m. ET

The Saxons claimed their first-ever NCAA playoff win with a convincing 60-0 defeat over Maritime College to advance to face familiar foe Cortland State in the second round. Alfred allowed just 76 yards of total offense, while the Saxons collected 321 yards of their own in the win.

Cortland State quarterback Dan Pitcher completed 20-of-26 passes for 232 yards and three touchdowns and rushed for a score as the Red Dragons defeated visiting Endicott College, 49-35, to advance to the second round. The Red Dragon defense ranks fifth in both scoring defense (10.27 ppg) and total defense (226.27 ypg).

Alfred and Cortland have not met since 1986, but the Saxons hold a 27-10-1 lead in the series. AU head coach Dave Murray previously served as the Red Dragons head coach compiling a 44-30-1 mark at Cortland and leading them to the NCAA playoffs in his first year.

Linfield (9-1) at St. Thomas (Minn.) (11-0), 12 p.m. CT
The Wildcats avenged their only loss of the season with a 42-26 defeat of California Lutheran, sending the Kingsmen packing for the second straight season to advance to the second round of the NCAA playoffs. Senior Eric Hedin shined for the defense, registering three QB sacks, three more tackles for loss, and a blocked PAT against Cal Lutheran. The Wildcats are now 13-5 all-time in seven NCAA appearances.

The Tommies moved to 11-0 with a 57-10 win over Benedictine, setting five offensive records and pushing their home winning streak to 14 games, and improving to 4-2 all-time in three trips to the NCAA postseason.

Linfield and St. Thomas will meet in the NCAA playoffs for the second straight year. The Wildcats downed the Tommies, 31-20, in the NCAA quarterfinals last season. Linfield boasts the ninth-best scoring offense in the nation (43.70 ppg), while the Tommies are right behind the Wildcats with 42.09 ppg. St. Thomas also poses a challenge for the Wildcats with the nations sixth-best scoring defense, giving up just 10.91 points per game.

Bethel (10-1) at Wheaton (Ill.) (10-1), 12 p.m. CT
The Royals and Thunder will meet for the third straight year, but for the first time in the post season. The Wheaton won both match-ups in 2008 and 2009, each by three points.

The Royals downed Wartburg in first round action to improve to 4-5 in six NCAA appearances, while the Thunder rallied for 22 unanswered points in a 31-21 defeat of Coe. Wheaton is now 10-6 all-time in seven NCAA postseason trips.

Bethel boasts a defense that ranks in the top 10 in three categories, including scoring as the Royals are allowing just 11.73 ppg. Wheaton placekicker Scott Roche leads the nation with 1.55 field goals per game.