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Bethany at Saint Vincent Preview

More news about: Bethany

For the second time in three weeks, the Bethany College football team will go out on the road to face one of the top teams in the PAC, as the Bison journey to Latrobe, Pa., Saturday to face Saint Vincent in a 1 p.m. kickoff.

Last Saturday, Bethany improved to 4-4 overall and 3-4 in the PAC with a 33-14 victory over visiting Grove City. The contest was scoreless at halftime before BC erupted for five second-half touchdowns to claim just their second win over the Wolverines in the last 15 meetings. Sophomore quarterback Matt Grimard (Lowell, Mass./Dracut) accounted for 269 total yards, threw two touchdowns and rushed for another.

The win was also highlighted by a defense that limited GCC to 259 total yards and a special teams unit that used two big punt returns and a blocked punt to set up touchdowns drives. The complete win was key, as the Bison strive to have a big finish to the campaign.

"Last week's win was important," said Bethany head coach Tim Weaver. "We talk about finishing the season strong and now we have a chance to go 4-1 in the second half. We also talk about not letting games get away from us against teams we feel we match up with well. There was no panic at halftime, even though we felt we left some plays on the field. The staff put together a good plan and the players executed it very, very well.

"Overall, it was a total team win and everyone contributed," said Weaver. "Defensively, we held a team to under 300 yards and two touchdowns, the offense scored five touchdowns in the second half and the special teams set up short fields with punt returns and blocked punts. And it came against a good team coming in on a two-game winning streak who hadn't been handled that way since early in the year."

The effort put up by the Bison defensively Saturday is becoming a usual occurrence. It was the second time in the last three games BC held its opponent under 260 total yards and for the year, the Green and White ranks fourth in the conference in total yards allowed (314.4), which would be the lowest average given up by a Bethany defense since 2002 (300.1).

One big factor to the Bison's strong play is the linebacking core of juniors Kyle Arrington (Jackson Twp., Ohio/Jackson) and Gage Lotozo (Somerset, Ohio/Sheridan) and sophomore Tyrell Scott (Lanham, Md./Parkdale). Arrington is third in the conference with 73 tackles, while Lotozo, who also has two touchdown receptions as a goal-line back, has been in on 33 hits and Scott has made 36 stops. With this group leading the way and nearly everyone on the entire defense set to return next year, Bethany's best days may still lay ahead.

"Good linebackers make a college defense and our group is very good and steady," said Weaver. "Kyle, Gage and Tyrell all played really well against Grove City. We've also had (sophomore safety) Jamaan (Webb of Jacksonville, Fla) play in a hybrid position for us and he's been productive.

"The improvement in our defense has been great to watch," said Weaver. "We knew we solved the linebacker situation two years ago when we recruited Kyle and Gage, but they were freshmen, so we had growing pains to go through. We've added pieces to the defensive line over the last couple years, starting with (senior) Kasib (Tallib-Din of New York, N.Y.) and (junior) Blake DeBord (Martinsburg, W.Va.). Then we added sophomores in Zach Burton (Hurricane, W.Va.), Prince Aguzie (Randallstown, Md.) and Seth Cawoski (Greensburg, Pa./Greensburg Salem) and have freshmen stepping in this year like Randy Bush (Pittsburgh, Pa./Baldwin) and Greg Roberson (Upper Marlboro, Md./Frederick Douglas).

"In the secondary, we hit the jackpot with a lot of the guys we recruited last year and moving Jeff Joyce (Pittsburgh, Pa./Baldwin) there and then added another good class this year," said Weaver. "Looking ahead to camp next year, the only key component we lose is Kasib and we have a few guys coming back from injuries. We'll still not where we want to be, but we're getting there."

The continuing maturation under center of Grimard, who is second in the PAC in passing yards (1,857) and third in touchdown passes (15) can be tied to the deep receiving corps the Bison run out every week. Three BC wideouts are ranked in the top 10 in the conference in receptions per game, including senior Alex Evans (Washington, Pa.) at 4.4, junior Ed Holmes (Virginia Beach, Va./Landstown) with 4.2 and sophomore Daryl Powell (West Point, Va./King William) with 4.1. Add in junior Johnathan Foster (Cumberland, Md./Fort Hill), who caught a 26-yard touchdown pass against Grove City, and sophomore RB Nico Irizarry (Youngstown, Ohio/Ursuline), who has 18 catches out of the backfield, and Bethany has plenty of targets for their second-year signal-caller.

"The key for that group is they've been healthy," said Weaver. "We've been able to run the same four and five guys out there every week and being out there every day in practice has allowed them to get the timing down with Matt. We are constantly challenging them to get better. We still have way too many drops and when someone isn't early in the progressions, they don't always run the routes to the right depth. If we are going to take the next step, we are as talented as anyone we play at that spot, but we need more consistency from them."

This week's Bison opponent has been ever so close to taking the next step of their own. Saint Vincent, who went 4-36 in the previous four years since bringing back varsity football, brings a 5-4 overall record and 4-3 mark in the conference into their regular season finale Saturday. The Bearcats have lost three games by a field goal, including two in overtime, and the fourth loss came by five points to Grove City.

Last week, Saint Vincent scored two first-quarter touchdowns and used a spectacular effort from their defense, which allowed only 153 total yards and forced four turnovers, in a 21-9 victory over Westminster. Quarterback Aaron Smetanka threw for 225 yards and two touchdowns and ran for the other score, as SVC clinched its first .500 season since 1961.

"Give a lot of credit to Coach (Bob) Colbert and his staff for their turnaround," said Weaver. "I think our programs are very similar in terms of having to rebuild and in Division III terms without scholarships, they've done it quickly. They found their quarterback in Smetanka and did a tremendous job of keeping kids in the program. They also stayed with their system, as they are running the same plays they did four years ago, but now they have bigger, stronger, more experienced players running them."

The Bearcats have also had a remarkable turnaround on defense, as they lead the conference in fewest yards allowed (288.2) and are second in points allowed (16.8). The unit is led by a pair of undersized, but dynamic linebackers in 5-9 Anthony Johnson, who leads the league with 87 tackles, and 5-8 Armando Fortunato, who has been in on 60 stops. In addition, Saint Vincent had a conference-best 15 interceptions, including five by strong safety Dan Wirkowski and four from cornerback Darius Brown.

"They play as hard as anyone in the league," said Weaver. "Everyone understands where they need to be and can tackle. It's amazing to watch their linebackers because you think going in you are going to be able to do just about whatever you want. But no one has. They don't get blocked, are really fast and great tacklers, and very instinctive. And their secondary improvement is almost remarkable. They are very good back there."

Many may think the Bearcat offense rests solely on Smetanka, a First Team All-PAC choice last year. And while he has thrown for 1,845 yards and 13 scores, it's the Saint Vincent running attack that has Weaver concerned. The SVC ground game ranks third in the conference with 156.4 yards per game and features a solid one-two punch in Huey Ehredt (692 yards, 4 TDs) and Mike Kale (509 yards, 4 TDs). One area of concern for the Bearcats is the turnover bug, which has bitten them 20 times this season, including four in the Grove City loss.

"They are doing better when they're more balanced," said Weaver. "They run more of a pro style, which almost feels like defending the option now with everyone spreading you out so much. They are really good at executing in their run game. It makes you put more people closer to the line of scrimmage and leaves your secondary more vulnerable. And they are still very successful throwing the ball downfield. We want to try and stop the run with as few as possible, which isn't easy. You need to somehow make them one-dimensional, which is when they've struggled. And when they've lost, they've turned it over, so we need to look to force some miscues."

These two teams have also relied on big special teams plays to carry them through to victories. One needs to look no further than last Saturday the effect long punt returns and a blocked punt had on the Bison victory. For Saint Vincent, in their 17-14 victory over Waynesburg Oct. 29 that knocked the Yellow Jackets out of the race for the PAC championship, the Bearcats blocked two punts, one which was returned for a score and another that set up SVC's other touchdown. So Weaver and his team know that a big play on special teams could turn the tide Saturday.

"Saint Vincent has done everything on special teams from block punts to fake punts," said Weaver. "It's week nine, so all the secrets are out and everything is on film. Both teams have made big special teams plays in every win. The battle will come down to who can execute, making sure you read all your keys and having the guys ready to complete at high level on every kick play. Our guys understand how important this phase is to winning games."
Oct. 14: All times Eastern
Final
Salve Regina 45, at Nichols 10
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Mount Ida 14, at Dean 7
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Final
at Thomas More 59, Waynesburg 7
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Final
at Maine Maritime 34, Coast Guard 16
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Final
at Finlandia 27, Trinity Bible 21
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Final
Hamilton 28, at Bowdoin 7
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Final
at Delaware Valley 49, King's 14
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Final
at Olivet 47, Albion 26
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Final
at Wesleyan 41, Bates 23
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Final
Union 27, at Rochester 0
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Final
Amherst 40, at Colby 7
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Final
at Western New England 41, Endicott 14
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Final
at Brockport 48, Morrisville State 7
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Final - OT
at Plymouth State 16, Framingham State 13
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Final
at RPI 27, Ithaca 14
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Final
Hobart 49, at Hartwick 27
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Final
at Ferrum 34, LaGrange 20
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at Carnegie Mellon 42, Geneva 27
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Final
Ohio Wesleyan 16, at Wabash 13
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Final
DePauw 26, at Denison 17
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Final
at Trine 42, Kalamazoo 7
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Final
at Washington and Lee 47, Guilford 26
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Final
at Husson 49, Castleton 0
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Final
Gallaudet 35, at Alfred State 19
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Final
at Wittenberg 49, Allegheny 15
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Final
Brevard 41, at Methodist 17
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Final
at Lebanon Valley 31, Stevenson 24
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Final
Buffalo State 24, at St. Lawrence 21
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Final - OT
at Cortland 20, Alfred 17
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Final
at Randolph-Macon 52, Emory and Henry 29
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at Wesley 29, Kean 9
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Final
at Hampden-Sydney 58, Apprentice 28
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Frostburg State 59, at William Paterson 7
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at N.C. Wesleyan 45, Greensboro 0
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at Westminster (Pa.) 49, Grove City 27
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Washington and Jefferson 49, at Bethany 14
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Final
at Westminster (Mo.) 56, Crown 15
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at Northwestern (Minn.) 29, Iowa Wesleyan 7
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at Knox 56, Grinnell 14
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at Widener 31, Lycoming 17
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Trinity (Conn.) 23, at Tufts 16
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at Mount St. Joseph 66, Earlham 7
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Final - 2OT
Ohio Northern 27, at John Carroll 20
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Baldwin Wallace 23, at Muskingum 20
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Final
at Mount Union 72, Capital 14
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Final
Rose-Hulman 44, at Manchester 13
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Final
at Hanover 31, Bluffton 28
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Defiance 45, at Anderson 0
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at Wartburg 42, Loras 11
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Hiram 62, at Kenyon 56
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Springfield 35, at Merchant Marine 13
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Final
Williams 27, at Middlebury 26
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Final
at Westfield State 33, Fitchburg State 21
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Final
Marietta 43, at Wilmington 33
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at Berry 34, Hendrix 10
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Final
Curry 40, at Becker 0
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TCNJ 20, at Rowan 14
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Final
at SUNY-Maritime 51, Anna Maria 15
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Salisbury 28, at Montclair State 10
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at Huntingdon 28, Maryville (Tenn.) 16
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Final
at Austin 33, Millsaps 19
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Final
at Mary Hardin-Baylor 65, Howard Payne 0
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Final
at Washington U. 55, Buena Vista 20
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Final
Alma 27, at Aurora 19
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Final
at Rockford 29, Concordia-Chicago 14
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Final
Wisconsin Lutheran 22, at Concordia (Wis.) 19
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Final
at Lakeland 57, Benedictine 21
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at St. Norbert 10, Chicago 0
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Final
Concordia-Moorhead 45, at Hamline 0
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Final
St. Olaf 22, at Augsburg 20
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Final
Bethel 24, at Gustavus Adolphus 3
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Final
St. John's 35, at Carleton 0
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Final
at Eureka 30, Greenville 19
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Final
Centre 27, at Trinity (Texas) 21
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Final
Dubuque 42, at Nebraska Wesleyan 27
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Final
Central 30, at Coe 19
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Final
Lake Forest 56, at Cornell 28
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Final
at Carthage 31, Elmhurst 8
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Final
at Illinois Wesleyan 30, Carroll 0
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Final
Millikin 28, at Augustana 27
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Final
Ripon 52, at Beloit 28
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Final
MacMurray 49, at Minnesota-Morris 13
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Final
Macalester 21, at Lawrence 18
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Final
at Monmouth 59, Illinois College 14
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Final
at UW-Stevens Point 26, UW-Eau Claire 3
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Final
Case Western Reserve 63, at Thiel 28
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Final
at Wooster 38, Oberlin 28
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Final
Texas Lutheran 41, at East Texas Baptist 34
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Final
at UW-Stout 21, UW-River Falls 16
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Final
UW-Oshkosh 28, at UW-Platteville 14
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Final
Sewanee 34, at Birmingham-Southern 13
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Final
at Hope 22, Adrian 3
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Final
Linfield 49, at Lewis and Clark 14
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Cancelled
La Verne at Occidental
Final
Whitworth 17, at Pacific Lutheran 14
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Final
at Cal Lutheran 42, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps 20
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Final
at George Fox 58, Willamette 12
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Final
at Pacific 35, Puget Sound 27
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Final
Pomona-Pitzer 45, at Whittier 23
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Final
at Western Connecticut 28, Massachusetts Maritime 21
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Final
at St. Scholastica 56, Martin Luther 21
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Final - 5OT
at St. John Fisher 39, Utica 36
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Final - OT
at Heidelberg 48, Otterbein 45
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Final
at Shenandoah 38, Bridgewater 20
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Final
Southwestern 60, at Belhaven 31
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Final
Hardin-Simmons 35, at Sul Ross State 10
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Final
at Louisiana College 52, McMurry 34
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Final
at Simpson 38, Luther 17
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Final
at Chapman 45, Redlands 26
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Oct. 16: All times Eastern
Final
at Wheaton (Ill.) 42, North Central (Ill.) 20
Box Score Recap
Oct. 20: All times Eastern
7:00 PM
Gettysburg at Johns Hopkins
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Oct. 14: All times Eastern
Final
at Delaware Valley 49, King's 14
Video Box Score Recap Recap
Final - OT
at Cortland 20, Alfred 17
Box Score Recap Live stats
Final
at Wesley 29, Kean 9
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Frostburg State 59, at William Paterson 7
Video Box Score Recap Recap
Final
at Wittenberg 49, Allegheny 15
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Final
at Brockport 48, Morrisville State 7
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Washington and Jefferson 49, at Bethany 14
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Final
Ohio Wesleyan 16, at Wabash 13
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Final
at Mount Union 72, Capital 14
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Final
at Wartburg 42, Loras 11
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Final
at Berry 34, Hendrix 10
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Springfield 35, at Merchant Marine 13
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Final
at Mary Hardin-Baylor 65, Howard Payne 0
Video Box Score Recap
Final
St. John's 35, at Carleton 0
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Final
at Illinois Wesleyan 30, Carroll 0
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Final
Concordia-Moorhead 45, at Hamline 0
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Case Western Reserve 63, at Thiel 28
Video Box Score Recap Photos
Final
UW-Oshkosh 28, at UW-Platteville 14
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Final
Linfield 49, at Lewis and Clark 14
Video Box Score
Final
at George Fox 58, Willamette 12
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Final
Hardin-Simmons 35, at Sul Ross State 10
Box Score
Oct. 16: All times Eastern
Final
at Wheaton (Ill.) 42, North Central (Ill.) 20
Box Score Recap
Oct. 20: All times Eastern
7:00 PM
Gettysburg at Johns Hopkins
Video Video Live stats Live stats