Univ. of Dubuque Football Travels to North Central in NCAA Regional Opener

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DUBUQUE, Iowa - The University of Dubuque football team was looking to possibly host a first round of the 2011 NCAA Football Championships, but found out Sunday evening they will be on the road to face the North Central College Cardinals in Naperville, Ill. on Saturday, November, 19 at noon. 

The Spartans are the 2011 Iowa Conference Champions and the only IIAC team to be selected to the tournament. UD enters with a 9-1 overall record, the best record since 1979 for the Spartans. The two programs have met three times in the past, but not since 1969. UD has won all three previous meetings. 

The Cardinals (9-1), who completed a second straight unbeaten run through the College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin on Saturday with a 35-0 victory over North Park University. The Cardinals are in the playoff field for the second straight year and the fifth time in the past six seasons. North Central has hosted six previous playoff games, winning three.

The Spartans wide receiver, Michael Zweifel leads the NCAA All-Divisions in receptions per game (12.7), in receiving yards per game (178), in total receiving yards (1,780 yds.), 2nd in scoring 15.0 pts. a game, 2nd in All-Purpose Runners (185.9 yds.). The team ranks 2nd in total offense (507.9 yds.), 3rd in passing offense (330.1 yds.), 3rd in passing efficiency (198.66), and 7th in scoring offense (44.40 pts.) Zweifel is the career record holder for NCAA All-Divisions in receptions with 450 and ranks 2nd in career receiving yards with 5,844 yards. 

Zweifel is just one threat the Cardinals will face. Quarterback Wyatt Hanus ranks 2nd in Division III in passing efficiency at 197.77. He's completed 239-321 passing attempts and thrown for 42 touchdowns in 2011. Running back Justin Spaulding is 17th nationally, averaging 126 yards a game and has rushed for 13 touchdowns. Demacus Fleming is the other half of the receiving duo and is just shy of the 1,000 yard mark in 2011 with 959 yards receiving and eight touchdowns.

"I think our match-up offensively is good no matter who we match up against... I truly believe that," commented head coach Stan Zweifel. "I know they (North Central) have been a good football team for a few years. It will be a good challenge for us and a match-up which I didn't expect, but there's no way to know those things. There's one statement I always tell our student-athletes is the secret about a big game it's like every other game and we need to approach this like every other game. We'll strap it up and see how good we are on Saturday, it will be alot of fun." 

The winner of Saturday's game will face the winner of Saturday's game between Illinois College (9-1) and Wabash College (Ind.) (10-0), which will be played at Wabash. The other side of the bracket features Hampden-Sydney College (Va.)(8-2) at Centre College (Ky.)(8-1) and Benedictine University (7-3) at the University of Mount Union (Ohio)(10-0).

Saturday's kickoff at Benedetti-Wehrli Stadium is scheduled for 12:00 noon. Information regarding ticket sales will be released on Monday. The game will be televised locally live on Naperville Community Television, Channel 17, and nctv17.com. The Spartans can be heard on 101.1FM "The River" and also online at http://client.stretchinternet.com/client/dbq.portal#

Those Spartan fans looking to travel to the game, directions to North Central's campus can be found at: 

Dec. 10: All times Eastern
at UW-Oshkosh 10, John Carroll 3
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at Mary Hardin-Baylor 14, Mount Union 12
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Dec. 16: All times Eastern
Mary Hardin-Baylor 10, at UW-Oshkosh 7
@ Salem, Va.
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