November 3, 2012

Top 25 wrap: Wabash, Hopkins fall

Wabash couldn't keep Oberlin in check as the Yeomen threw for 403 yards.
Wabash athletics photo
Little Brass Bell
The Little Brass Bell is in the hands of Wheaton (Ill.) for the first time since 2007.
Wheaton (Ill.) athletics photo by Mike Hudson

Robin Witjes caught seven passes for 165 yards and two touchdowns and threw a 50-yard touchdown pass of his own as Oberlin shocked No. 10 Wabash with a 31-16 win.

It's Wabash's second home loss, both of them to teams outside of the regional rankings, seemingly eliminating the Little Giants from consideration for an at-large bid.

No. 13 Johns Hopkins lost for the first time on the season, falling 14-12 at Franklin and Marshall. The Blue Jays need to beat McDaniel next week to wrap up the automatic bid from the Centennial Conference, but may have cost themselves a chance at a home game.

No. 24 Wheaton took back the Little Brass Bell for the first time since 2007 and dealt No. 7 North Central its first defeat in CCIW play since Oct. 31, 2009 in a 35-21 victory in Naperville, Ill. But the Thunder won by six points fewer than it needed to give itself a three-way tiebreak advantage over NCC and Elmhurst, which means it needs Illinois Wesleyan (6-3) to beat the Bluejays next week to clinch the AQ. If Elmhurst, which improved to 8-1 with a 41-24 win at Carthage, wins, North Central takes the bid and Elmhurst is in good shape for an at-large bid.

Tight end Logan Marks caught a pair of identical touchdown passes in the first half and Matt O'Connell and Brenton Braddock combined for 149 yards rushing and a touchdown as No. 4 St. Thomas clinched the automatic bid from the MIAC, defeating No. 17 Concordia-Moorhead 21-7. The win, combined with St. Olaf's 24-17 upset of No. 12 Bethel, means the MIAC could go from a conference projected to get three playoff bids to a one-bid league overnight. For St. Thomas, it's the 26th consecutive MIAC win.

It wasn't their biggest upset of the season, but Buffalo State rallied from a 9-0 deficit to beat No. 25 St. John Fisher, 17-9. The Bengals forced four Cardinals turnovers and held SJFC to 227 total yards. Meanwhile in the Empire 8, No. 16 Salisbury clinched, as it rolled past Utica 63-23. The Sea Gulls threw just twice, while Dan Griffin ran 17 times for 137 yards and five touchdowns and Joe Benedetti got 153 yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries. 

Who's in?

Here's the list of conferences whose automatic bid has been decided:

ASC: Mary Hardin-Baylor
E8: Salisbury
IIAC: Coe
LL: Hobart
MIAA: Adrian
MIAC: St. Thomas
NATHC: Concordia-Chicago
NJAC: Cortland State
NWC: Linfield
OAC: Mount Union
ODAC: Washington and Lee
UMAC: St. Scholastica
WIAC: UW-Oshkosh 

Yet to be decided: Centennial, CCIW, ECFC, HCAC, MAC, MWC, NCAC, NEFC, PAC, SCIAC, USAC.

No. 1 Mount Union rushed for 311 yards and wrapped up the automatic bid from the Ohio Athletic Conference with a 38-7 win at No. 23 Baldwin Wallace. The Purple Raiders held their opponents to 159 yards of total offense; 87 of those yards came in the first quarter and 72 the rest of the way. (Photo gallery)

Linebacker Javicz Jones had 13 tackles, a sack and two interceptions returned for touchdowns as No. 2 Mary Hardin-Baylor clinched the ASC AQ with a 54-20 win at East Texas Baptist. Quarterback LiDarral Bailey passed for one touchdown and ran for two more, and running back Darius Wilson rushed for 122 yards.

Mickey Inns passed for 422 yards and three touchdowns, two to Diedre Weirsma, for No. 3 Linfield, and the defense kept Adam Kniffin out of the end zone in a 47-7 win over Puget Sound. The Wildcats clinch the NWC's AQ. Cal Lutheran got within one win of the SCIAC automatic bid with a 59-34 win against La Verne.

No. 5 Wesley, with the Pool B bid all but locked up, finished its regular season by allowing just 93 yards in a 47-0 win against Newport News Apprentice. Another independent playoff hopeful beat a non-Division III opponent, as No. 19 Huntingdon won, 33-19, at Point (Ga.).

No. 6 UW-Oshkosh scored five touchdowns in nine minutes during its 56-31 triumph over UW-Stevens Point. The Titans have their first-ever nine-win season.

No. 9 Hobart clinched the Liberty League automatic bid with a 34-14 win at St. Lawrence. Nick Strang completed 15 of 18 passes for three touchdowns and ran for another for the Statesmen.

Brendan Keiran rushed for 135 of No. 14 Coe's 223 yards, and the Kohawks won their first outright IIAC title, clinching the conference's AQ as well in a 35-7 win at Luther.

Two ranked teams kept their Pool C hopes always with big wins. Bryce Corrigan threw seven touchdown passes in No. 15 UW-Platteville's 62-20 win against UW-Stout. Meantime, C.J. Powell had 10 catches for 192 yards and Cartel Brooks carried 29 times for 134 yards and two touchdowns as No. 18 Heidelberg (8-1) kept its playoff hopes alive with a 31-10 win against John Carroll.

No. 21 Franklin had 11 sacks, and won its seventh in a row, beating Bluffton, 21-9. The Grizzlies still need to beat rival Hanover, which lost to Manchester, 35-34, in the Victory Bell game on Saturday to clinch the HCAC AQ.

No. 11 Widener had its MAC contest at FDU-Florham cancelled, as did No. 20 Cortland State and its NJAC contest at William Paterson because of the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy on both North Jersey campuses. Rowan, which is just outside of the top 25 and is located in the southern part of the state, cancelled its game with Kean because the Cougars were struggling with the aftermath of the storm as well.

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