D-III Spreadsheet: (Excel2003, 380kb)

D-III Game of the Week:
There was only going to be one real option for the game of the week this week, as #3 Wesley (DE) visited #6 Salisbury.  Salisbury opened with a drive into Wesley territory, but Brian Snell picked off a Dan Griffin pass at the 26.  Wesley then marched downfield, scoring on a Justin Sottilare pass to Ryan Gerlitz.  Salisbury responded with a long drive which died on a dropped pass on 4th and 6 at the Wesley 14 as the quarter ended.  After a trade of punts, Salisbury again threatened when Sottilare was picked off by Greg Stanton, but even starting at the Wolverines’ 32, Salisbury couldn’t manage a first down.  Wesley then burned eight minutes off the clock, reaching the Sea Gulls’ 14; Sottilare threw another interception, this one snagged by Matt McMurdo in the end zone for a touchback.  The half ended with Wesley up 7-0.

Wesley began the second half by chewing up half of the third quarter on a drive which culminated in a 23-yard Dan Tryon field goal after Salisbury held on first and goal from the three.  Salisbury responded quickly, picking up 45 yards on three plays; unfortunately, the end of the third play was a Ross Flanigan fumble at the Wesley 28, recovered by the Wolverines at their own 16.  Wesley had to punt, but forced yet another turnover near midfield when Griffin was picked off by Sean Hopkins just into the fourth quarter.  Wesley drive, but turned the ball over on downs at Salisbury’s 19.  The Sea Gulls finally got on the board three and a half minutes later when Griffin hit Juma Richards with a 19-yard strike with 6:10 left.  Four minutes later, however, Askia Jahad scored on his second of two fifteen-yard runs on the drive, putting the game out of reach.  With no time left, Griffin was picked for the third time, Hopkins’ second interception of the game, at the Wesley one-yard line.

It was somewhat ugly, obviously.  Despite the relative success of the Salisbury rushing attack, Griffin shouldn’t have been throwing as much as he was; last week he only attempted six passes in the Gulls’ win over Christopher Newport.  Salisbury’s strength is the option game, and they managed 232 yards on the ground against the Wolverines, 138 credited to Flanigan.  Griffin was 9/16 with three interceptions, and that just wasn’t going to cut it.  However, the fact that Griffin needed that many attempts was a testament to the Wesley defense, which continually forced
long-yardage passing downs.  The drive chart tells the story; four key drives ended on 3rd or 4th and long with two interceptions, a sack, and an incompletion.

Wesley wasn’t the only team showing strong defense, though.  Although the Wolverines managed 260 yards in the air, Salisbury was effective in making most of those yards meaningless, and Wesley’s usually potent ground game was limited to 105 yards, 98 of them on the legs of Askia Jahad.

Wesley, of course, is playing a schedule that would make an SEC fan blush in shame.  After knocking off the sixth-ranked team in the nation, they now get to host the fourth-ranked Mary Hardin-Baylor Crusaders.  The following week, it’s 2-0 Louisiana; the week after, it’s 18th-ranked Birmingham-Southern.  They’ve also got a date with unranked but potent Huntingdon down the line.  If there’s any team poised to break the Whitewater-Mount Union stranglehold, it’s right here.

Rising Up:
The Sul Ross State Lobos have never had a great deal of success.  Located way the hell out in Alpine, Texas — Alpine’s down near Big Bend National Park, 220 miles southeast of El Paso, almost 400 miles west of San Antonio, and an hour and a half south of the godforsaken middle-of-nowhere junction of I-10 and I-20 — it’s never been a particularly popular destination for athletes.  But last Saturday, after spotting their D-II hosts Eastern New Mexico 17 points before the second quarter was much more than half-done, they stood up.  Ripping off four straight touchdowns, including scoring passes of 24 and 73 yards from A.J. Springer to Cordrick Mobley, the Lobos found themselves entering the fourth quarter with a 28-17 lead over the Greyhounds.  Eastern New Mexico struck back, scoring twice in the next six minutes to go up 31-28… but the Lobos weren’t done yet.  Springer hit Mobley again on a one-yard touchdown pass less than 90 seconds later to go back up 35-31.  Unfortunately, with one minute remaining Derek Kendall-Campbell broke loose for a 17-yard run to put the Greyhounds back on top.  The Lobos desperately tried to get back downfield, but Mobley, after hauling in another pass from Springer at the Lobo 45 with two seconds remaining, was stripped of the ball while trying to break free.

Dominique Carson ran for 146 yards and a touchdown for the Lobos, while Springer added 117.  Mobley hauled in eight catches for 136 yards and three trips to the end zone.  Wesley Wood had 117 yards and two scores on the ground for Eastern New Mexico, and was 13-15 in the air for 128 yards and a touchdown.

It was a day to remember for the Lobos, although there’s a bitter pill to swallow; instead of being 1-1 with a win over a D-II program in their pocket, they’re now 0-2 and staring at a rough American Southwest Conference schedule.  But they almost got ‘em, and that’s not too common when a D-III program plays up… so hats off to the boys from Alpine.

Still Tracking the ECFC:
Our pet project for the early part of the year continues.  Last year’s most godawful conference — remember, they only won two non-conference games all year, both by New York Maritime — continued to impress last Saturday, scoring five non-conference wins in eight games, and Becker only lost by a touchdown to MIT. (We’ll pretend we didn’t see Castleton State’s 66-14 loss to Endicott, if that’s okay.)  Maritime, amusingly, had the most difficult time of all five winners.  That brings the total to nine wins already after only two weeks, and in fact the conference’s overall record stands at 9-6, and only Husson remains winless.  Seven more non-conference games remain for the league, five this week; even a 2-3 showing on Saturday would guarantee a .500 non-conference record.  I think they’re going to manage it.

Has to Be Mentioned:
Kenyon defeated Earlham at home, 31-14, and it wasn’t even that close; Kenyon led 31-0 heading into the fourth quarter.  It was the Lords’ first win in 24 games, the last being in October 2009 against Oberlin.

The New Top 25:
#1 Wisconsin-Whitewater idle
– The Warhawks will host Buffalo State on Saturday, and won’t need any of the magic their Warhawk counterparts in FBS needed to get past Arkansas.
#2 Mount Union idle
– This week, they’ll host Muskingum, and of course they’re going to win.
#3 Wesley (DE) 17, at #7 Salisbury 7
– As important as that game was, on Saturday we’re going to get what may be the most important regular-season game of the entire season as Wesley hosts #4 Mary Hardin-Baylor.  By all rights, the winner really ought to jump to #2 in the polls, but I don’t think anyone’s ever going to dislodge Mount Union or Whitewater again until one of them loses to someone else.  Salisbury slips a spot, and will take on North Carolina Wesleyan at home.
at #4 Mary Hardin-Baylor 34, Kean 7
– Obviously, this is just not the same Kean team that went to the playoffs last year.  The Crusaders rolled and stuffed them, and pretty much ended their season barring the Cougars winning the NJAC title.
at #5 Linfield 49, Hardin-Simmons 35
– I think we’ve got a read on Willamette now, and they’re underrated.  I bring this up because Willamette beat Hardin-Simmons by about the same margin, and did so on the road.  Still, that takes nothing away from Linfield, who hang on to the #5 spot heading into a road collision Saturday at #10 Cal Lutheran.  Their games tend to be close, and it’s likely to turn up as a second Game of the Week.
at #6 Saint Thomas (MN) 43, Wisconsin-River Falls 9
– No sweat.  The Tommies move up one place, jumping Salisbury; this week they’ll visit arch-rival Saint John’s (MN), and should probably handle that task though with an arch-rival, you never know…
#8 Wabash 33, at Hanover 12
– The Little Giants won comfortably, and stayed put at #8.  They’re on the road again this week, visiting Denison.
#9 Saint John Fisher 28, Washington & Jefferson 24
– For the second week in a row, the Cardinals had one hell of a time against a Presidents’ Athletic Conference opponent, but escaped with a win.  They hold steady at #9, and on Saturday they’ll host Rochester in a game which I would expect to be a little less fraught with peril.
#10 Cal Lutheran 37, at Pacific Lutheran 23
– CLU posted a workmanlike win in this non-conference rivalry.  As noted, they’ll host #5 Linfield this week.
#11 Trinity (TX) 31, at Texas Lutheran 7
– Solid win against a decent squad.  Trinity stays on the road Saturday, visiting Sul Ross State.
#12 Bethel (MN) 21, at Wartburg 0
– Wartburg won 77-0 last week, so you get the picture here. Bethel jumps three spots, and they’ll host 0-2 Buena Vista this week.  They’ll win.
at #13 North Central (IL) 42, #25 Redlands 16
– North Central got their revenge for last year’s upset, and may have saved their entire season in the process.  They hold steady at #13 despite the huge win, and will visit Wisconsin-Stout on Saturday.  Redlands slides 11 spots; they host Pacific Lutheran.
at #14 Hobart 28, Geneva 7
– A nice four-place jump for Hobart after an expected win.  They visit 2-0 Utica this week, and it’s a dangerous task; Utica has stomped Saint Lawrence 40-7 and Union (NY) 45-17.
at #15 Baldwin-Wallace 45, Bluffton 13
– About what we expected here.  B-W gains two spots, and will visit John Carroll Saturday; historically the winner of this game has posed the biggest threat to Mount Union, and it should be a good one.
at #16 Illinois Wesleyan 53, Alma 7
– Yeah, nothing shocking here.  The Titans jump three spots and will take this week off before visiting Hope on the 22nd.
at #17 Wisconsin-Platteville 52, Dubuque 35
– A seventeen-point win in a shootout against a playoff team from last year was good for a four-place jump in the poll.  Platteville’s idle Saturday; on Thursday, September 20, they’ll host Wisconsin-Eau Claire.
#18 Birmingham-Southern 45, Huntingdon 38
– It was a tough win against a good team, but I can’t imagine how it justified a six-place jump in the polls.  Regardless, next week BSC will host NAIA school Ave Maria, and it’s going to be a slaughter.
at Albion 22, #19 Wheaton (IL) 21
– Albion’s now on the radar, checking in at #28.  Wheaton slides nine spots, and will visit 0-2 Luther on Saturday, so they should rebound.
at Butler [FCS] 42, #20 Franklin 13
– Franklin fell four places after losing to what’s effectively a D-III team playing in D-I.  They should have fallen out entirely.  They’ll travel to Manchester this weekend.
#21 Thomas More idle
– Apparently, last week’s overtime loss to Saint John Fisher looks a little better now, as Thomas More moves up two places without doing anything at all.  They’ll host Westminster (PA) on Saturday, and they’re probably safe.
#22 Widener 41, at King’s (PA) 6
– The Pride rolled easily and moved up three spots, and Lebanon Valley may be their only competition in conference play.  This week, they have a trip to Misericordia, who have been outscored 117-7 so far.  Questions?  Thought not.
at #23 Centre 49, Rose-Hulman 21
– Defense may be an issue, but the Colonels can still score on anyone.  They enter the poll for the first time this season, and will visit Washington & Lee Saturday; should win.
at #24 Hampden-Sydney 42, Christopher Newport 20
– Basically, the Tigers beat the Captains about as badly as Salisbury did, which got the voters’ attention as Hampden-Sydney moves into the top 25.  They’re off this week ahead of a home game against dangerous Huntingdon on the 22nd.
at Merrimack [D-II] 30, XX Rowan 7
– Rowan was ranked #20 coming in, but fell out of the poll after this loss despite it being a play-up.  Rather odd, but I guess the margin of victory was a turnoff.  That leave exactly zero teams ranked in the NJAC, which is unheard of.  Rowan will host William Paterson this weekend.
Lycoming 24, at XX Delaware Valley 14
– The Aggies, who began the season ranked #9, fall to 0-2 and out of the top 25 with the loss.  A road game at Stevenson Saturday will not help their cause, even if they post a massive win (which is probable).

Some more scores of note:

at Kalamazoo 18, Manchester 16 (4OT)
at Rhodes 20, Washington (MO) 17 (OT)
Wooster 27, at Saint Vincent 21 (OT)
at Albright 29, Stevenson 22 (OT)
Saint John’s (MN) 31, at Wisconsin-Eau Claire 28
Ohio Wesleyan 32, at Denison 29
Lewis & Clark 27, at Claremont-Mudd-Scripps 24
at Lake Forest 20, Lawrence 16
at Macalester 17, Concordia (WI) 13
at Carroll (WI) 30, Ripon 24
New York Maritime 20, Massachusetts Maritime 14
at Mississippi College 31, Webber International [NAIA] 24
Dickinson 24, at Juniata 17
Central (IA) 17, Augustana (IL) 10
Worcester State 28, at Worcester Tech 21

Lesser Blowouts:
Gettysburg 48, at Ursinus 7
at Endicott 66, Castleton State 14
at Lebanon Valley 47, Misericordia 7
Millsaps 54, at LaGrange 7
Northwestern (MN) 49, Westminster (MO) 7

Defense is an Optional Package:
Merchant Marine 43, at Coast Guard 37
College of New Jersey 45, at Fairleigh Dickinson-Florham 28
at Chapman 55, Puget Sound 35
Whitworth 47, at Whittier 42
Illinois College 53, at Grinnell 20
Waldorf [NAIA] 47, Presentation 29

No Offense, But… No Offense:
East Texas Baptist 17, at Austin 7
at Fitchburg State 17, Curry 7
at Salve Regina 16, Montclair State 7
Ferrum 14, at Shenandoah 7
at Rochester 17, Thiel 7
at Minnesota-Morris 10, Martin Luther 0