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Pacific Pushes Linfield To The Brink As Upset Bid Falls Short

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Box Score | Coach Buckley's Postgame Press Conference

FOREST GROVE – Coming into today's game, Linfield had averaged 48.8 points per game and made a habit of blowing out their Northwest Conference opponents.  On Saturday, Pacific gave the Wildcats all they could handle and gave their seniors a game they will remember for years to come.
 
Trailing 13-7 at halftime, Linfield rallied behind quarterback Josh Yoder to three second half touchdowns as they survived an upset score with a 28-22 victory over the Boxers at Lincoln Park Stadium.
 
The Boxers (7-3, 3-3 NWC) led by as much as 16-7 early in the third quarter before the Wildcats (9-0, 6-0 NWC) scored three the three touchdowns to keep their undefeated season intact.  Josh Hill accounted for the first score while Yoder had runs of four yards and 17 yards.
 
Pacific gave Linfield, ranked No. 2 in the D3Football.com Poll and No. 3 in the AFCA Division III Coaches Poll, their closest game of the year.  The Boxers outgained the Wildcats on offense 381 to 313 and dominated time of possession, holding onto the ball for 35 minutes.  Turnovers proved to be the Boxers' nemesis as Linfield came up with two interceptions and a fumble recovery.
 
The game proved to be a defining moment for Pacific, who finishes with seven wins just four years after restarting the program from scratch in 2010. Pacific said farewell to 38 seniors who helped build the program from the start.
 
Head Coach Keith Buckley praised the play of his squad on an emotional day, but did not hide the fact that everyone came away disappointed.  "From where we started to where we were a year ago to where we are, there is absolute progress in this football program," Buckley said.  "But we had a chance.  We were up and we didn't close it out, and that hurts.  Ultimately, though, we are proud of what this team has accomplished."
 
Quarterback P.J. Minaya (Sr., Wahiawa, Hawaii) was strong in his Pacific finale, completing 17 of 31 passes for 188 yards.  T.C. Campbell (Jr., Kaimuki, Hawaii) completed 11 of 17 passes for 114 yards and the Boxers' only passing touchdown.  Jakob Lawrence (Jr., Sherwood, Ore.) was the top target, catching six balls for 105 yards and a touchdown, while Gunther Schultze (Sr., Bellflower, Calif.) capped his Pacific career by rushing for 47 yards on 13 carries.
 
Punter Aaron Koford (Sr., Wilsonville, Ore.) was critical to the field position game, punting four times for an average of 46.8 yards per punt and a career-long punt of 55 yards.  Three of his four boots were inside the 20-yard line.
 
Yoder completed 10 of 16 passes for 89 yards and also rushed for 82 yards and three touchdowns to lead Linfield.  Hill rushed for 100 yards and a touchdown while Evan Peterson and David Sigler each finished with 20 receiving yards.
 
The Pacific defense stunned the Wildcats in the early going, forcing three-and-out on their first series and punts on each of their first three possessions.  After the Linfield defense held on the Boxers' first series, Pacific cobbled together a number of short runs to score their first points.  Villareal-Gomez broke the deadlock with a 43-yard field goal that completed a 14-play drive that ate 7:38 for a 3-0 Pacific lead.
 
Special teams would set the Wildcats up for their first score as Eli Biodine hit Pacific return man Brandon Harms (Jr., Canby, Ore.), forcing a fumble and recovering the ball at the Pacific 14-yard line.  Yoder wasted no time, running 14 yards on the next play for the score to put Linfield ahead 7-3 with 20 seconds to go in the first quarter.
 
The defensive struggle continued in the second quarter, but the Boxers managed to break through late when Campbell found Lawrence for a leaping 20-yard touchdown pass with 1:32 to go that made it a 10-7 game.  Two plays later, Sean Bangs (Sr., Portland, Ore.) landed one of three sacks of Yoder, forcing a fumble that was recovered by the Boxers' Eddie Carrillo (Jr., Milpitas, Calif.).  The Boxers converted that into a 29-yard Villareal-Gomez field goal that sent Pacific into the locker room with a 13-7 lead. 
 
It was the first time Linfield had trailed an opponent all season as the Wildcats were held to just 82 yards and seven first downs.  Pacific finished with 122 first half yards and had the ball for over 20 minutes.
 
Pacific opened the second half with another scoring drive.  Villareal-Gomez hit his third field goal of the game, this time connecting from 28 yards to give the Boxers a 16-7 lead.  Linfield responded on their next drive, with a one-yard Hill run completing an eight-play, 63-yard drive that brought the Wildcats within 16-14 with 6:53 to go in the quarter.
 
The defense started the drive that gave Linfield the lead back as Colin Forman intercepted Campbell with 2:14 left in the third.  Yoder completed the drive with a four-yard touchdown run that put the Wildcats up 21-16 at the 13:08 mark of the fourth.  The Wildcats added the winning score on their next drive, with Yoder breaking through the middle on third down for a 17-yard run that made it a 28-16 lead with 6:44 to go.
 
True to form, the Boxers did not go away quietly.  After their next series was stunted by a Ian Zarosinzki intercepted, Pacific forced a punt and drive quickly for the score.  Minaya capped a nine-play, 69-yard drive of 1:34 with a five-yard run that brought Pacific within 28-22 with 2:12 left.  Pacific had two tries at the onside kick thanks to a Linfield penalty, but the Wildcats recovered and proceeded to run out the clock.
 
Six seniors topped the Pacific defensive chart, led by eight tackles each from Bryan Mills (Sr., Imbler, Ore.) and Tim Hastie (Sr., Auberry, Calif.)  Each player was credited with a tackle for loss while Hastie had one of the Boxers' three sacks. Forman led Linfield with 10 tackles, three tackles for loss and an interception.
 
With seven wins, the 2013 Boxers become just the fifth team in school history to amass seven or more victories and finish fourth in the NWC at 3-3.  Linfield will learn of their first round NCAA Division III playoff opponent on Sunday.
 
BOXER BYTES: An estimated crowd of 3,200, the largest to see a Pacific home game since the 2010 return of the program, attended Saturday's contest…Linfield's 28 points was their fewest of the season and their six-point margin of victory is their smallest of the year…Pacific's three losses in 2013 came by a grand total of 11 points…Pacific's 38 seniors were honored on Friday night with a banquet attended by the players, their families and coaches.  The seniors ran out onto the field as a group before the rest of the team prior to the game…In a halftime ceremony, Pacific's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee presented a $3,000 check to Oregon Health Science University's Knight Cancer Institute.  The money was raised by the sale of pink breast cancer awareness t-shirts by SAAC during Homecoming week.

Oct. 20: All times Eastern
Final
at Johns Hopkins 52, Gettysburg 0
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Oct. 21: All times Eastern
Final
at Framingham State 29, Westfield State 14
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Moravian 20, at Juniata 17
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at Salve Regina 41, Endicott 14
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at Thomas More 63, St. Vincent 13
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Final
at Union 28, Hobart 23
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at Hamilton 27, Colby 24
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at Christopher Newport 27, William Paterson 19
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at Ithaca 35, St. John Fisher 10
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at Allegheny 44, Kenyon 35
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SUNY-Maritime 21, at Mount Ida 13
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Middlebury 43, at Bates 14
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at Springfield 68, Catholic 20
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at Amherst 23, Wesleyan 19
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at Trinity (Conn.) 63, Bowdoin 14
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Husson 48, at Gallaudet 21
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Wabash 35, at Oberlin 21
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at Utica 34, Buffalo State 12
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Ohio Northern 7, at Muskingum 6
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Final
at Frostburg State 62, Montclair State 3
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at Wesley 34, Rowan 3
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at Stevenson 26, Albright 23
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Wittenberg 52, at DePauw 6
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at Albion 31, Alma 28
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at Guilford 45, Shenandoah 20
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Final
Plymouth State 40, at Massachusetts Maritime 14
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Wooster 58, at Hiram 25
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Washington and Lee 36, at Hampden-Sydney 6
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at Anna Maria 36, Alfred State 34
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Bridgewater 31, at Emory and Henry 23
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at FDU-Florham 49, Wilkes 31
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Lebanon Valley 17, at Misericordia 0
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Final
at St. Lawrence 36, Rochester 14
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Final
RPI 30, at Alfred 15
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Final
at Curry 46, Nichols 16
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Final
at Salisbury 42, Southern Virginia 0
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2nd - 10:53
10 Ferrum
14 Brevard
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Final
Randolph-Macon 63, at Apprentice 14
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Final
at Susquehanna 21, Ursinus 14
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Final
Cortland 34, at Morrisville State 20
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Final
at Trine 50, Hope 14
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Final
Trinity (Texas) 27, at Sewanee 21
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Final
Wartburg 41, at Luther 16
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5:15, 4th Q
0 Dickinson
56 Franklin and Marshall
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Final
Tufts 21, at Williams 13
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Final
Mount Union 66, at Wilmington 7
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Final
MIT 30, at Coast Guard 21
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2nd - 13:08
7 Maine Maritime
14 Norwich
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Final
at Marietta 44, Heidelberg 21
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4th - 04:15
29 Franklin
22 Rose-Hulman
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Final
John Carroll 48, at Capital 21
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4th - 02:15
21 Bluffton
28 Manchester
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Halftime
40 Mount St. Joseph
13 Anderson
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Halftime
3 UW-Whitewater
0 UW-River Falls
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2:00 PM
Kean at TCNJ
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4th - 11:35
10 Greensboro
52 LaGrange
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3rd - 03:58
27 Mass-Dartmouth
31 Worcester State
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Start of 4th
31 Muhlenberg
13 McDaniel
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Final
Western New England 45, at Becker 0
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4th - 14:48
7 Methodist
32 Maryville (Tenn.)
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3rd - 05:50
21 Adrian
16 Kalamazoo
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2:00 PM
Denison at Ohio Wesleyan
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4th - 15:00
27 Westminster (Pa.)
19 Washington and Jefferson
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Halftime
23 Berry
14 Millsaps
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3rd - 06:50
30 Olivet
28 Benedictine
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4th - 12:35
28 Birmingham-Southern
17 Austin
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4th - 15:00
0 Belhaven
45 Mary Hardin-Baylor
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Q3 1:04
14 UW-Stevens Point
23 UW-Stout
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2:00 PM
Eureka at MacMurray
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4th - 15:00
10 Carthage
13 Illinois Wesleyan
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4th - 13:12
14 Nebraska Wesleyan
13 Buena Vista
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3rd - 02:56
34 Lakeland
0 Wisconsin Lutheran
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4th - 13:47
14 Rockford
28 Aurora
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4th - 10:43
3 Concordia (Wis.)
30 Concordia-Chicago
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3rd Q - 5:40
20 Carleton
21 St. Olaf
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13:35 4th
10 Gustavus Adolphus
41 St. John's
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4th - 09:43
20 Augsburg
35 Concordia-Moorhead
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Halftime
57 St. Thomas
0 Hamline
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4th - 08:38
24 Westminster (Mo.)
7 Greenville
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2:00 PM
Coe at Loras
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2:00 PM
Monmouth at Cornell
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Halftime
28 Wheaton (Ill.)
0 North Park
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2:00 PM
Northwestern (Minn.) at Martin Luther
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4th - 15:00
26 Hardin-Simmons
23 Texas Lutheran
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4th - 12:08
6 Grinnell
69 Lake Forest
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2:00 PM
Carroll at Millikin
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2:00 PM
Ripon at Macalester
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11:05 - 4th
6 Lawrence
38 St. Norbert
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2:00 PM
St. Scholastica at Crown
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2:00 PM
Minnesota-Morris at Iowa Wesleyan
4th - 13:10
28 UW-Platteville
13 UW-Eau Claire
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3rd - 08:18
7 Merchant Marine
24 WPI
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2:30 PM
Rhodes at Centre
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3rd - 13:37
28 Hanover
0 Earlham
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3rd - 09:31
0 Beloit
42 Chicago
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3:00 PM
UW-Oshkosh at UW-La Crosse
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3:00 PM
Simpson at Dubuque
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3:54 2Q
0 Augustana
27 North Central (Ill.)
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3:00 PM
East Texas Baptist at Louisiana College
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4:00 PM
Hartwick at Brockport
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1st - 10:56
0 Western Connecticut
7 Bridgewater State
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4:00 PM
Chapman at La Verne
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1st Quarter
0 Pacific
0 Lewis and Clark
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1st - 10:36
7 Pacific Lutheran
0 Willamette
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4:00 PM
Puget Sound at Whitworth
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1st - 10:15
3 Redlands
0 Claremont-Mudd-Scripps
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4:30 PM
George Fox at Linfield
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5:00 PM
Sul Ross State at Howard Payne
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6:00 PM
Dean at Castleton
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6:00 PM
N.C. Wesleyan at Averett
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7:00 PM
Baldwin Wallace at Otterbein
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7:00 PM
Case Western Reserve at Geneva
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7:00 PM
Carnegie Mellon at Thiel
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7:00 PM
Knox at Illinois College
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10:00 PM
Whittier at Cal Lutheran
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Cancelled
Occidental at Pomona-Pitzer
Oct. 20: All times Eastern
Final
at Johns Hopkins 52, Gettysburg 0
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Oct. 21: All times Eastern
Final
at Wesley 34, Rowan 3
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Final
at Frostburg State 62, Montclair State 3
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Final
Wittenberg 52, at DePauw 6
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Final
at Springfield 68, Catholic 20
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Final
Wartburg 41, at Luther 16
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Final
Mount Union 66, at Wilmington 7
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Final
at Marietta 44, Heidelberg 21
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4th - 15:00
27 Westminster (Pa.)
19 Washington and Jefferson
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4th - 15:00
26 Hardin-Simmons
23 Texas Lutheran
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4th - 15:00
0 Belhaven
45 Mary Hardin-Baylor
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Halftime
57 St. Thomas
0 Hamline
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13:35 4th
10 Gustavus Adolphus
41 St. John's
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4th - 15:00
10 Carthage
13 Illinois Wesleyan
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4th - 09:43
20 Augsburg
35 Concordia-Moorhead
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Halftime
23 Berry
14 Millsaps
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4th - 14:05
28 UW-Platteville
7 UW-Eau Claire
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3:00 PM
UW-Oshkosh at UW-La Crosse
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3:54 2Q
0 Augustana
27 North Central (Ill.)
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4:00 PM
Hartwick at Brockport
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4:30 PM
George Fox at Linfield
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7:00 PM
Case Western Reserve at Geneva
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