’s Week 8 Division III Wrap-Up

College football isn’t all about the BCS. There is plenty of great action to go around every weekend. Today is wrapping up the other divisions in college football, continuing with Division III.

By Kendall Webb

One thing appears to be clear in the NCAA’s Division III – after seven years of championship games featuring Mount Union of Ohio against Wisconsin-Whitewater, it looks like we might finally get a different matchup.

The three-time defending national champion Warhawks of Whitewater, Wisconsin aren’t even the best team in Wisconsin this year, let alone the entire nation. That title will go to the No. 10 Wisconsin-Oshkosh Titans who at 7-0 became just the second conference team since 2005 to beat the No. 5 Warhawks with a convincing 28-13 win Saturday in front of a crowd of more than 12,000.

In Whitewater.

It’s not necessarily a bad thing for this division to see another team break through, but whoever it is, they’re likely to run into the same old No. 1 Mount Union whose head coach Larry Kehres passed Paul “Bear” Bryant Saturday with his 324th win as a college coach in the Purple Raiders’ 51-0 demolition of Otterbein. At 7-0, Mount Union will host fellow undefeated 7-0 conference mate No. 19 Heidelberg Saturday in a game that will ultimately decide the Ohio championship.

No. 2 Mary Hardin-Baylor of Texas had another big day on offense Saturday, and they needed most of it in a 45-32 win over Hardin-Simmons. The Cru is now 7-0 with a trip to Howard Payne on tap this Saturday.

Out west, No. 3 Linfield of McMinnville, Ore., blew past Lewis & Clark, 63-0, to get to 6-0. Next up is a home date with Willamette, which stumbled for the first time this season in a 41-27 loss to Pacific Lutheran. Still, it’s one of the bigger tests Linfield will get before the playoffs.

St. Thomas (MN) at No. 4 continued its march toward an unbeaten season reaching the seven-win mark with no problem in a 51-9 win over Hamline. They face a 5-2 Augsburg squad that can light up the scoreboard this Saturday, and St. Thomas had some problems against good offenses early in the season. The problem for Augsburg is it gives up a lot, too, and that’s a bad recipe against an explosive team like St. Thomas.

No. 6 Wesley traveled to California to face Menlo, and returned to Delaware with a 30-13 result that should help the Wolverines solidify their playoff resume at 6-1. They’ll make another long trip to Montgomery, Alabama this weekend to face Huntingdon in a season that will see them play in six states before the playoffs even kick off.

One of Wesley’s wins this year is against No. 7 Salisbury which needed every bit of offense it got in a 24-21 win over No. 21 Alfred Saturday. Salisbury will travel to Ithaca this weekend looking for a win to get to 7-1 on the season.

Cal Lutheran’s 56-7 romp past Occidental moved the No. 8 Kingsmen to 5-1 heading into a Saturday visit to Whittier. It’s an impressive resume with the only loss being a 33-30 setback to No. 3 Linfield early in the season.

No. 9 North Central used a 42-10 win at Carthage Saturday to get to 6-1, and it sets up an interesting matchup with No. 12 Illinois Wesleyan which suffered its first loss at Wheaton in a 38-33 setback.

The Undefeated

Nineteen teams entered the weekend with an unblemished record in Division III, but four of them came away with their first losses of the season. Illinois Wesleyan in its loss to Wheaton was the highest-ranked unbeaten to fall, but even that result was not a complete surprise as Wheaton now stands at 5-2. No. 22 Willamette was next up in its 41-27 loss to Pacific Lutheran, but the Lutes have also been tough at times with a 4-2 record that features a hard-fought 31-24 loss to No. 3 Linfield. Beyond that, unranked Wesleyan (CT) and Salve Regina both stumbled to their first losses of the season.

In addition to the teams in the Top 10 featured above, the other unbeatens include No. 11 Hobart (7-0), No. 14 Widener (7-0), No. 16 Johns Hopkins (7-0), No. 19 Heidelberg (7-0) and No. 25 Coe (7-0) as well as unranked Concordia-Chicago (7-0), Middlebury (5-0), Ohio Wesleyan (7-0), Trinity (CT) (5-0) and Waynesburg (8-0).

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