/playoffs/2012/umhb-wesley-meet-again

South's beasts meet again

More news about: Mary Hardin-Baylor | Wesley
Although Wesley's coach says he's seen better linebackers than Javicz Jones, it's because they also played for Mary Hardin-Baylor.
Mary Hardin-Baylor athletics photo 

By Adam Turer
D3sports.com

Finally, they came to their senses and scheduled a regular season game.

After meeting in six of the past seven postseasons, Wesley and Mary Hardin-Baylor delayed the seemingly inevitable and met this year in Dover on Sept. 15. The Cru improved their all-time record against the Wolverines to 3-4 with a 32-25 victory. It is little surprise that, once again, one of these two teams will end the other’s season. This time, there is more familiarity than ever before.

“You feel like you know them a little bit more,” said Crusaders defensive coordinator Larry Harmon about preparing for the Wolverines for the second time this season. “We’re starting with an understanding of how they utilize their different skill kids, more than if we were going in to this game cold turkey.”

Physically, the teams have not changed much since Week 3. Any edge gained from the prior meeting is likely to be of the mental variety.

“We’re able to look at them and what they were thinking in Week 3,” said Wesley coach Mike Drass. “When I look back at that film, they were the better team that day.”

While they never fell below No. 6 in the Top 25 poll this season, it took the Wolverines some time to hit their stride. Wesley trailed in six of its first eight games, but rallied to defeat every opponent outside of the Cru. In its last three games, including two playoff wins, Wesley has outscored opponents 176-20.

“Coming into this year, we didn’t have any big-name type players,” said Drass. “We’ve progressively gotten better throughout the season and formed our own identity. I think we have a lot more confidence in ourselves now.”

While Wesley has steadily improved, Mary Hardin-Baylor has dominated. A fourth quarter rally to defeat Hardin-Simmons on October 20 is the toughest test the Cru has faced since seeing the Wolverines. UMHB averages over 51 points per game, second only to Mount Union, and wins by an average of 33 points per game.

“I think they’re playing with extreme confidence, and rightfully so,” said Drass.

Just a sophomore, Sosthene Kapepula has already had a big impact in the UMHB-Wesley rivalry.
Wesley athletics photo 

One thing from the regular season meeting that remains unchanged for both teams can be found at the top of the individual defensive stat line. UMHB linebacker Javicz Jones and Wesley linebacker Sosthene Kapepula continue to lead their team in tackles. As two of the most athletic linebackers in the country, each playmaker has the ability to change a game’s momentum.

“We’re fortunate that our best playmaker is Javicz,” said Harmon. “He makes it go for us. He’s pretty phenomenal.”

Jones, a senior, is the latest in a line of big-play linebackers at Mary Hardin-Baylor. He met with former Crusader and current Indianapolis Colt Jerrell Freeman before and after the Cru’s regular season finale on Nov. 10. The two talked more about life than football, said Jones. But there are similarities between the two players on the field. Jones is among the nation’s leaders with 111 tackles, seven interceptions, and four defensive touchdowns.

“I’ve seen a couple of better linebackers better than him over the years, but they both played for Mary Hardin-Baylor and one of them is in the NFL right now,” said Drass.

Jones remains humble in the face of the comparisons to Freeman, who currently ranks fifth in the NFL in tackles. He is the heart and soul of the Cru defense that held Franklin 24 points below its scoring average a week after holding Louisiana College 15 points below its season average.

“I enjoy being blessed to have the opportunity to be out there making plays,” said Jones. “As a child, I was taught to just run to the ball, so that’s what I do. Once I’m on the field, I’m just having fun.”

The Wolverines have their own playmaking linebacker. Just a sophomore, Kapepula has asserted himself as a leader on defense, tallying 102 tackles, three forced fumbles, and three fumble recoveries so far this year. His 28-yard scoop and score — Wesley’s second defensive touchdown in the first 2:06 of the game — set the tone for the Wolverines’ 56-6 rout of Cortland State last week.

“Guys gravitate to him naturally and follow his lead,” said Drass. “I look at him in the same mold as [Jones]. He’s a tenacious player who plays throughout the entire play.”

Kapepula worked his way into the starting lineup late in his freshman year and had his best performance in the 2011 playoff win over Mary Hardin-Baylor, notching 14 tackles and an interception. He batted away LiDarral Bailey’s final pass attempt to seal the victory. He dedicated himself in the offseason to taking a leap between his first and second seasons.

“It starts with the relationship between me and my coaches, especially my linebacker coach, Tim Kane,” said Kapepula. “I stayed here over the summer and worked toward taking that leadership role.”

Both Jones and Kapepula will be counted on to make big plays on Saturday. Their leadership of the defensive units will be just as vital as their performance on the field.

“We need to stop them on third down and get the ball back to our offense,” said Drass.

Defense was the key to the first matchup this season, and will be the key again on Saturday.

“We felt like we could hold our own and control the line of scrimmage,” said Harmon of his unit’s mindset going into the September meeting. “That’s been the difference in who wins and loses this game over the years.”

Oct. 19: All times Eastern
Final
Martin Luther 21, at Northwestern (Minn.) 6
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Oct. 20: All times Eastern
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at Stevenson 33, Wilkes 21
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at RPI 31, Hobart 24
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at MIT 13, Coast Guard 0
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Norwich 15, at Maine Maritime 7
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at Moravian 31, Juniata 14
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at Dean 53, Gallaudet 21
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Endicott 45, at Becker 13
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Frostburg State 24, at Montclair State 17
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Final
SUNY-Maritime 68, at Castleton 41
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at Trinity (Texas) 28, Sewanee 14
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Johns Hopkins 51, at Gettysburg 14
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N.C. Wesleyan 29, at Brevard 21
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at Misericordia 37, FDU-Florham 33
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Union 29, at St. Lawrence 7
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at Ithaca 28, Rochester 3
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at Colby 23, Hamilton 21
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at Middlebury 35, Bates 34
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Trinity (Conn.) 48, at Bowdoin 6
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Springfield 23, at Catholic 11
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Amherst 33, at Wesleyan 3
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at Plymouth State 17, Massachusetts Maritime 14
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at Husson 54, Anna Maria 14
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TCNJ 13, at Kean 8
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Carnegie Mellon 41, at Thiel 7
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Salve Regina 30, at Curry 21
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King's 37, at Albright 26
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Trine 31, at Finlandia 0
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Final - OT
Susquehanna 41, at Ursinus 35
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Delaware Valley 52, at Lebanon Valley 7
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at Western New England 70, University of New England 13
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Franklin and Marshall 35, at Dickinson 14
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at Wittenberg 38, DePauw 23
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at Emory and Henry 52, Shenandoah 50
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at Wabash 32, Oberlin 7
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at Westminster (Pa.) 27, Washington and Jefferson 20
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at Hampden-Sydney 38, Guilford 35
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Final - OT
at Randolph-Macon 44, Bridgewater 41
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Cortland 56, at Hartwick 3
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at Denison 27, Ohio Wesleyan 10
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Waynesburg 12, at St. Vincent 10
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Salisbury 33, at Southern Virginia 0
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at Methodist 42, Greensboro 6
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Christopher Newport 39, at William Paterson 10
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Albion 49, at Adrian 42
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Thomas More 35, at St. Scholastica 0
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at Westminster (Mo.) 25, Minnesota-Morris 7
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Lake Forest 24, at Grinnell 0
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at Greenville 41, Crown 14
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at Merchant Marine 25, WPI 24
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at John Carroll 27, Marietta 24
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at Tufts 28, Williams 21
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Ohio Northern 49, at Capital 46
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Baldwin Wallace 35, at Wilmington 33
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at Mount Union 54, Heidelberg 0
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at Lycoming 52, Alvernia 0
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at Rose-Hulman 44, Anderson 6
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at Franklin 64, Earlham 20
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Hanover 48, at Manchester 14
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Mount St. Joseph 20, at Defiance 0
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at Utica 30, Alfred 22
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Final
Maryville (Tenn.) 37, at LaGrange 17
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Framingham State 27, at Westfield State 2
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Morrisville State 35, at St. John Fisher 7
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at Muskingum 21, Otterbein 14
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Final - OT
at Berry 28, Millsaps 21
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Final
at Muhlenberg 42, McDaniel 18
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at Rowan 28, Wesley 27
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Final
at Wooster 28, Hiram 21
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Final
Allegheny 54, at Kenyon 10
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at Nebraska Wesleyan 23, Luther 15
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Wheaton (Ill.) 20, at Augustana 3
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at Eureka 50, Benedictine 20
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Final
Mary Hardin-Baylor 49, at Belhaven 0
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at Hardin-Simmons 58, Texas Lutheran 14
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Final
Chicago 63, at Beloit 0
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at Concordia (Wis.) 45, Concordia-Chicago 34
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Aurora 25, at Rockford 7
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Final
at Bethel 41, Concordia-Moorhead 13
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Final
Lakeland 38, at Wisconsin Lutheran 12
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at St. John's 57, St. Olaf 7
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Final
at Gustavus Adolphus 42, Augsburg 0
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Final
Dubuque 38, at Buena Vista 7
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Final
North Central (Ill.) 26, at Carthage 14
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Final
at Ripon 58, Macalester 34
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at Monmouth 51, Cornell 0
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at Simpson 38, Loras 33
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at Knox 20, Illinois College 6
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UW-Stout 31, at UW-Stevens Point 27
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Millikin 14, at Elmhurst 13
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Final
at MacMurray 20, Iowa Wesleyan 13
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Final
UW-Eau Claire 40, at UW-Platteville 16
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Final
at St. Thomas 68, Carleton 0
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Final
at Mass-Dartmouth 41, Worcester State 27
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Final
at Wartburg 47, Central 20
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Final
at UW-Oshkosh 24, UW-La Crosse 13
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at UW-Whitewater 44, UW-River Falls 7
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at Birmingham-Southern 47, Austin 35
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Centre 41, at Rhodes 14
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at Carroll 23, North Park 0
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at Kalamazoo 17, Alma 10
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at Pacific Lutheran 33, Willamette 20
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at Brockport 65, Buffalo State 7
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at Averett 45, Huntingdon 17
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Washington and Lee 38, at Ferrum 35
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at Pacific 54, Lewis and Clark 22
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Redlands 35, at La Verne 17
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Whitworth 47, at Puget Sound 13
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Claremont-Mudd-Scripps 27, at Occidental 7
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Linfield 14, at George Fox 0
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Final
at Hope 35, Olivet 30
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Final - 4OT
at Western Connecticut 50, Bridgewater State 48
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Final
Case Western Reserve 27, at Geneva 14
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Final
at Sul Ross State 28, Howard Payne 27
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East Texas Baptist 48, at Louisiana College 27
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Final
Illinois Wesleyan 27, at Washington U. 21
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Final
St. Norbert 46, at Lawrence 0
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at Pomona-Pitzer 42, Whittier 17
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Chapman 33, at Cal Lutheran 29
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Oct. 20: All times Eastern
Final
Frostburg State 24, at Montclair State 17
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Final
at RPI 31, Hobart 24
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Final
Trine 31, at Finlandia 0
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Final
at Wittenberg 38, DePauw 23
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Final
at Westminster (Pa.) 27, Washington and Jefferson 20
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Final
Delaware Valley 52, at Lebanon Valley 7
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Final
Johns Hopkins 51, at Gettysburg 14
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Final
at Mount Union 54, Heidelberg 0
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Final
at John Carroll 27, Marietta 24
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Final - OT
at Berry 28, Millsaps 21
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Final
at Rowan 28, Wesley 27
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Final
at Muhlenberg 42, McDaniel 18
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Final
Wheaton (Ill.) 20, at Augustana 3
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Final
Mary Hardin-Baylor 49, at Belhaven 0
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Final
at St. John's 57, St. Olaf 7
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Final
at Hardin-Simmons 58, Texas Lutheran 14
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Final
North Central (Ill.) 26, at Carthage 14
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Final
at St. Thomas 68, Carleton 0
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Final
at UW-Oshkosh 24, UW-La Crosse 13
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Final
at UW-Whitewater 44, UW-River Falls 7
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Final
at Brockport 65, Buffalo State 7
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Final
Whitworth 47, at Puget Sound 13
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Final
Linfield 14, at George Fox 0
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Final
Case Western Reserve 27, at Geneva 14
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Final
Illinois Wesleyan 27, at Washington U. 21
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