2011 playoffs: Delaware Valley bracket

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Delaware Valley Aggies
Seed: No. 1, Delaware Valley bracket
Last Top 25 ranking: No. 11, Week 11 2011
Location: Doylestown, PA
Enrollment (full-time undergrads): 1634
Stadium: James Work Stadium (4500)
Playing surface: Grass
Conference: MAC
Preseason ranking from Kickoff:
Head coach: Jim Clements (Widener '96)
Career record: 50-16 (.758)
Base offense: Multiple
Base defense: 3-4
Record in NCAA playoffs: 6-4 (2004-05, 2009-10)
NCAA D-III championships: None
D3football.com team page: Schedule and results, more news
How they got here: Pool A, MAC champ
You'll know they're playing well if: The opponent is one-dimensional on offense because Del Val has shut down the run. The Aggies’ rush defense finished the regular season highly ranked and forced teams to take their chances through the air. Preseason All American Mike Jaskowski is the prototype for Del Val’s front seven – not real big, but very quick.
You'll know they're playing poorly if: Freshman quarterback Aaron Wilmer doesn’t have time to throw the ball. The Aggie offensive line jelled during conference play and gave their young quarterback room to run the offense down the stretch. The line is also the key to the Aggies having a balanced attack since tailback Kyle Schuberth is a quick, strong runner who gets yards in chunks when he has space to get out of the backfield.
This season's turning point: When the Aggies drove 65 yards in less than 50 seconds to beat Lycoming on the road late in the fourth quarter. Wilmer finished the game winning drive with a rushing touchdown after big receptions by Lewis Vincent and Rodney Blango set up the goal to go opportunity.
Rushing/receiving yards per game: 187.7/224.1
Rushing/receiving yards allowed: 89.3/136.8
How far can they go? If you believe their top seeding, they could go all the way to the national semifinals. But Del Val has lost games at home in the playoffs before and this particular Aggies team is very young on offense. Give them two wins in the first two rounds and we’ll see what they can do against a completely unfamiliar opponent in the national quarterfinal.


St. Thomas Tommies
Seed: Likely No. 2, Delaware Valley bracket
Last Top 25 ranking: No. 3, Week 11 2011
Location: St. Paul, MN
Enrollment (full-time undergrads): 5780
Stadium: O'Shaughnessy Stadium (6000)
Playing surface: Turf
Conference: MIAC
Preseason ranking from Kickoff:
Head coach: Glenn Caruso (Ithaca '96)
Career record: 40-6 (.870), 46-18 overall
Base offense: Multiple one-back
Base defense: 3-4
Record in NCAA playoffs: 5-3 (1990, 2009-10)
NCAA D-III championships: None
D3football.com team page: Schedule and results, more news
How they got here: Pool A, MIAC champ
You'll know they're playing well if: A receiver other than Fritz Waldvogel makes plays and special teams keeps the opposing return game in check.
You'll know they're playing poorly if: Dakota Tracy is the only one with any success running the ball and the Tommies are forced to throw more than they'd like.
This season's turning point: None. They've had a couple slow starts in games but have never really been in danger.
Rushing/passing yards per game: 214.8/216.3
Rushing/passing yards allowed: 54.4/169.8
How far can they go? Anything less than the semifinals is a disappointment, even with a big road trip potentially in the offing.


Illinois Wesleyan Titans
Seed: Likely No. 3, Delaware Valley bracket
Last Top 25 ranking: No. 16, Week 11 2011
Location: Bloomington, IL
Enrollment (full-time undergrads): 2113
Stadium: Wilder Field at Tucci Stadium (3500)
Playing surface: Turf
Conference: CCIW
Preseason ranking from Kickoff:
Head coach: Norm Eash (Illinois Wesleyan '75)
Career record: 158-83-1 (.655)
Base offense: Multiple I
Base defense: 4-3
Record in NCAA playoffs: 3-3 (1992, 1996, 2009)
NCAA D-III championships: None
D3football.com team page: Schedule and results, more news
How they got here: Pool C
You'll know they're playing well if: The defense sets the offense up with short fields, the offense holds onto the ball and special teams keeps the other time from breaking open a big return.
You'll know they're playing poorly if: They can't get the run game going and the passing game can't compensate.
This season's turning point: A short Carthage punt and a long return set Illinois Wesleyan up at the Carthage 38 with 6:24 left, trailing 9-6. The Titans were in the end zone seven plays later, forced a fumble on Carthage's next play from scrimmage and ran out the clock.
Rushing/passing yards per game: 112.4/231.8
Rushing/passing yards allowed: 123.4/161.1
How far can they go? If the defense comes up big, it can stay in the bracket for a few weeks. Otherwise, they could go one-and-out.


Johns Hopkins Blue Jays
Seed: Likely No. 4, Delaware Valley bracket
Last Top 25 ranking: No. 13, Week 11 2011
Location: Baltimore, MD
Enrollment (full-time undergrads): 5385
Stadium: Homewood Field (8500)
Playing surface: Turf
Conference: CC
Preseason ranking from Kickoff:
Head coach: Jim Margraff (Johns Hopkins '82)
Career record: 147-78-3 (.651)
Base offense: Pro set
Base defense: 4-4
Record in NCAA playoffs: 2-2 (2005, 2009)
NCAA D-III championships: None
D3football.com team page: Schedule and results, more news
How they got here: Pool A, Centennial champ
You'll know they're playing well if: Hewitt Tomlin passes for more than 300 yards. While the ground game led by Jonathan Rigaud is impressive as well, Tomlin is widely seen as the face of the franchise – and he proves that week in and week out. His experience and leadership are his intangibles; stats such as his 23:5 touchdown-to-interception ratio are his tangibles.
You'll know they're playing poorly if: The defense stutters. Johns Hopkins is statistically fourth nationally in defense, keeping opponents in check on both sides of the ball. An offense that can chip away at JHU will cause havoc on the scoreboard.
This season's turning point: The last two weeks of the regular season. Both times, the Blue Jays had to come from behind to earn their narrow victories, and those games have likely taught the players and coaches more about themselves than did the 40-plus drubbings they handed out earlier in the season.
Rushing/passing yards per game: 181.0/319.3
Rushing/passing yards allowed: 97.2/131.9
How far can they go? Regional finals aren't out of the question.


St. John Fisher Cardinals
Seed: Likely No. 5, Delaware Valley bracket
Last Top 25 ranking: No. 23, Week 8 2010
Location: Pittsford, NY
Enrollment (full-time undergrads): 2660
Stadium: Growney Stadium (2100)
Playing surface: Turf
Conference: E8
Preseason ranking from Kickoff:
Head coach: Paul Vosburgh (William Penn '75)
Career record: 21st season, 186-117-1 overall
Base offense: Multiple pro
Base defense: 3-3
Record in NCAA playoffs: 6-3, 2004, 2006, 2007
NCAA D-III championships: None
D3football.com team page: Schedule and results, more news
How they got here: Pool C
You'll know they're playing well if: The run defense is putting the clamps on. Look at how the Cardinals did against two triple-option teams. Springfield ran for just 146 yards and the Cardinals won 33-6. Salisbury ran for 361 yards and the Cardinals lost 41-21.
You'll know they're playing poorly if: Ryan Kramer is relying on his legs to make plays instead of his arm. This is a little counterintuitive since Kramer is the team’s leading rusher with 12 touchdowns. But the games in which the Cardinals have struggled are those in which the passing game was ineffective. Kramer is a threat to run, but if he’s forced to do that exclusively, it means something else is amiss.
This season's turning point: This weekend when St. John Fisher turned into the Comeback Cardinals. First St. John Fisher turned a 17-point first half deficit at Hartwick into a 55-28 victory. Then the selection committee gave the Cards second life by picking them for an at-large bid over one-loss Endicott and Case Western Reserve.
Rushing/passing yards per game: 213.3/156.1
Rushing/passing yards allowed: 146.0/173.1
How far can they go? The Cardinals' two lopsided losses to playoff participants Salisbury and Hobart don’t inspire a lot of confidence for a deep playoff run. But there’s a benefit to playing in a tough, deep conference. It gets teams ready for the NCAA playoffs, if they’re fortunate enough to reach it. It’s possible that the Cardinals could channel that experience into two playoff wins in this bracket.


Monmouth Scots
Seed: Likely No. 6, Delaware Valley bracket
Last Top 25 ranking: No. 17, preseason 2010
Location: Monmouth, IL
Enrollment (full-time undergrads): 1314
Stadium: April Zorn Memorial Stadium (2600)
Playing surface: Turf
Conference: MWC
Preseason ranking from Kickoff:
Head coach: Steve Bell (Bemidji State '91)
Career record: 12th season, 93-31
Base offense: Multiple no-huddle
Base defense: Multiple three-man front
Record in NCAA playoffs: 1-3, 2005, 2008-09
NCAA D-III championships: None
D3football.com team page: Schedule and results, more news
How they got here: Pool A, MWC champ
You'll know they're playing well if: You hear Trey Yocum's name twice as often as Mike Blodgett's on offense and they can get enough defensive stops to let the offense do the rest.
You'll know they're playing poorly if: Defensive breakdowns lead to big plays and no amount of offense is enough to keep up.
This season's turning point: The return of linebacker Adam Hoste from injury. While he was out, Monmouth gave up 41 points to Beloit in a 63-41 win.
Rushing/passing yards per game: 214.5/342.2
Rushing/passing yards allowed: 141.8/225.1
How far can they go? They have enough offense to win their first-round game.


St. Scholastica Saints
Seed: Likely No. 7, Delaware Valley bracket
Last Top 25 ranking: Never ranked
Location: Duluth, MN
Enrollment (full-time undergrads): 2492
Stadium: Public School Stadium/MN-Duluth (5000)
Playing surface: Turf
Conference: UMAC
Preseason ranking from Kickoff:
Head coach: Greg Carlson (UW-Oshkosh)
Career record: 22-18 (.550), 139-97-2 overall
Base offense: Spread
Base defense: 4-3
Record in NCAA playoffs: First appearance
NCAA D-III championships: None
D3football.com team page: Schedule and results, more news
How they got here: Pool A, UMAC champ
You'll know they're playing well if: Alex Thiry has time to throw, because he can hit his targets when he's not rushed. They elevate the pace of their game to match what one sees in a mid-to-high level conference or a playoff game.
You'll know they're playing poorly if: Opponents start drives with excellent field position and have more than one weapon on offense.
This season's turning point: The offseason, in which the rallying point was winning the conference's first-ever automatic bid in football.
Rushing/passing yards per game: 207.2/264.1
Rushing/passing yards allowed: 110.3/171.3
How far can they go? One and out, but it's interesting to ponder what the ceiling for the program might be. The Saints will have to break out of the UMAC norm in order to be a playoff threat.


Norwich Cadets
Seed: Likely No. 8, Delaware Valley bracket
Last Top 25 ranking: Never ranked
Location: Northfield, VT
Enrollment (full-time undergrads): 1911
Stadium: Sabine Field (5000)
Playing surface: Grass
Conference: ECFC
Preseason ranking from Kickoff:
Head coach: Mark Murnyack (Juniata '96)
Career record: 7-3 (.700)
Base offense: Spread
Base defense: Multiple
Record in NCAA playoffs: First appearance
NCAA D-III championships: None
D3football.com team page: Schedule and results, more news
How they got here: Pool A, ECFC champ
You'll know they're playing well if: Kris Sabourin has more run attempts than passing attempts and the clock keeps moving.
You'll know they're playing poorly if: Opponents throw at will, while Norwich has to throw to keep up or play catch-up.
This season's turning point: When their non-conference schedule ended and they no longer had to play teams from better leagues.
Rushing/passing yards per game: 316.0/54.5
Rushing/passing yards allowed: 144.8/199.6
How far can they go? One and out.


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