/playoffs/2017/pac-powers

Power PAC: W&J, CWRU both 11-0


Jordan West was part of a potent Presidents offense that surpassed 30 points for the ninth time in 11 games.
Washington and Jefferson athletics photo 


By Joe Sager
D3sports.com 

Neither inclement weather nor long field goals were too big of an obstacle for Presidents’ Athletic Conference teams in Saturday’s playoffs.

Case Western Reserve battled through snowy conditions for a 28-0 upset win at Illinois Wesleyan, while Washington and Jefferson’s Mauricio Garibay booted a 46-yard field goal that bounced off and over the crossbar in the final minute for a 31-28 victory over Johns Hopkins.

“I was pretty proud to see Case Western win, too. It really shows the strength of the PAC,” Washington and Jefferson star receiver Jesse Zubik said. “I think it was good for us both to be in the playoffs. We saw negative reports on the PAC; pretty much everyone was saying both teams were going to be done after the first round. It’s great that we both got to advance.”

Case Western Reserve coach Greg Debeljak was happy to see a text from W&J coach Mike Sirianni with the good news about the Presidents and congratulating the Spartans. Both teams are 11-0 and shared the PAC title. They did not match up head-to-head due to the conference’s unbalanced schedule. They would meet if they both win on Saturday, though.

“It was nice to receive word they won, too. I am real happy for Mike and our kids, especially a group of seniors that really worked hard to make this happen,”  said Debeljak. “I think it’s great for the conference. I am sure it was unexpected by most throughout the country.”

The Spartans had to navigate through rainy, then blizzard-like conditions and one of the nation’s toughest rushing defenses for the victory. And, they did it without their main rusher, Jacob Burke, who suffered a lower-body injury and was limited to two carries.

No problem, though. Pressed into duty, senior Aaron Aguilar rushed for 136 yards and three scores against the Titans (9-2), who had allowed one rushing touchdown all season. They ranked fourth in rushing yards allowed as well. Aguilar entered the game with nine carries for 48 yards on the year. Myles Anthony added nine carries for 24 yards and a touchdown.

“Probably the biggest surprise was that we were able to move the ball on the ground against a really good run defense team. Doing it without Burke was probably even more of a surprise,” Debeljak said. “Aaron is a senior and so is Myles. They both stepped up and I think we adjusted well.”

Case Western Reserve took advantage of some special teams opportunities, too. The Spartans blocked a punt in the first half, which led to their first score. A bad snap on an Illinois Wesleyan punt early in the fourth quarter set up another Spartans score.

“It’s nice to have a senior-laden team. We’ve been through a lot. I told the kids before the game that I thought the team that did a better job securing the ball in all three phases of the game would win the game. The difference came down to special teams,” Debeljak said. “It was really difficult holding onto the ball. The quarterbacks struggled throwing the ball and receivers struggled to hold onto the ball. The game was swung on punting teams.

“Getting the first score was critical. It put less pressure on us and we could play more of a field position game. It forced Illinois Wesleyan to take some risks, too.”

The victory earned the Spartans a game at Mount Union (11-0), which blanked Washington and Lee, 21-0.

“In their four years, this group has had in the back of their minds how they’d do against Mount Union,” Debeljak said. “I coached at John Carroll for 12 years and I saw a lot of teams play Mount Union for the first time and you just don’t know how it’ll be until you step on the field. We scrimmaged John Carroll and I think that was helpful. Everyone is good in the playoffs, but to have already played a team like John Carroll will give them an idea of what to expect.”

The Presidents used special teams to win their game, too, thanks to Garibay's boot.

Despite the conditions, the visiting Spartans scored more points than any Illinois Wesleyan opponent had this season.
Photo by Karen Espaldon


“Seeing that go over was a great feeling,” Zubik said. “We’ve had trouble with field goals all season long. I was so excited to see that ball bounce over.”

The call to try a field goal was not an automatic one. Facing a 4th-and-14 on the Johns Hopkins 29 with 1:03 to go, Sirianni elected to let Garibay take a shot. It was the fifth-longest field goal in program history.

“Our kicking game hasn’t been the greatest this year. The chances of us getting a first down were not great. I knew he had the leg to get it that far. Hopefully, he could just keep it straight,” said Sirianni. “We were a little lucky and that’s OK. We’ll take it. We kind of did control the game and I thought we deserved to win.”

After giving up a touchdown on the Blue Jays’ first drive on the fourth quarter, the W&J defense buckled down and intercepted a pass in the red zone, forced a punt and a turnover on downs to close the game.

“I thought our defense played lights out all day long. They started off the game all over the quarterback,” Zubik said. “In the second half, the Johns Hopkins offense started to roll a bit, but when it came down to crucial situations, the defense made a bunch of big plays that kept us in the game.”

The Presidents look forward to playing at home again after Frostburg State upset Wittenberg, 35-7.

“It’s another game where, athletically, we’ll be the underdog. I don’t think there’s a question about that. Especially defensively, I don’t want to watch more tape on them or I won’t be able to sleep all week,” Sirianni said. “Their coach has done a great job building that program back to a high level. We have some weapons, too. We don’t have as many athletes as Thomas More or Westminster, but we were able to get the job done against those two teams. We’ll play as hard as we can. Even though we’re at home, I am sure we’ll be considered the underdogs. We’ll see what we can do.”

Oct. 19: All times Eastern
Final
Martin Luther 21, at Northwestern (Minn.) 6
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Oct. 20: All times Eastern
Final
at Stevenson 33, Wilkes 21
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at RPI 31, Hobart 24
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Final
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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Final
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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Final
at Trinity (Texas) 28, Sewanee 14
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Final
Johns Hopkins 51, at Gettysburg 14
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Final
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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Final
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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Final
Springfield 23, at Catholic 11
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Final
Amherst 33, at Wesleyan 3
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Final
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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Final
at Western New England 70, University of New England 13
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Final
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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Final
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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Final
Albion 49, at Adrian 42
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Final
Thomas More 35, at St. Scholastica 0
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Final
at Westminster (Mo.) 25, Minnesota-Morris 7
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Final
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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Final
at John Carroll 27, Marietta 24
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Final
at Tufts 28, Williams 21
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Ohio Northern 49, at Capital 46
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Final
Baldwin Wallace 35, at Wilmington 33
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Final
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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Final
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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Final
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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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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Final
at Simpson 38, Loras 33
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Final
at Knox 20, Illinois College 6
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Final
UW-Stout 31, at UW-Stevens Point 27
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Final
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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Final
at Birmingham-Southern 47, Austin 35
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Final
Centre 41, at Rhodes 14
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Final
at Carroll 23, North Park 0
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at Kalamazoo 17, Alma 10
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Final
at Pacific Lutheran 33, Willamette 20
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at Brockport 65, Buffalo State 7
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Final
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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Final
Redlands 35, at La Verne 17
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Final
Whitworth 47, at Puget Sound 13
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Final
Claremont-Mudd-Scripps 27, at Occidental 7
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Final
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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Final
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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