/seasons/2017/contrib/20171209yhsn43

Titans Denied Second Straight Stagg Bowl Berth

University of Mount Union (Ohio) overcame a 25-point, third-quarter deficit and pulled out a 43-40 win over UW-Oshkosh during the semifinal round of the NCAA Division III Football Championship on Saturday (Dec. 9) at J. J. Keller Field at Titan Stadium.

UW-Oshkosh (12-1) extended its lead to 35-10 on a 43-yard touchdown run by Mitch Gerhartz with 6:34 left in the third quarter.

University of Mount Union (14-0) answered with touchdowns on five consecutive possessions, reclaiming the lead on a 1-yard scoring run by Jawanza Evans-Morris that provided the final score with 5:41 remaining in the game.

UW-Oshkosh reached the Purple Raiders' 28-yard line on the final drive of the game, but Titan Turner Geisthardt was short on a potential game-tying 46-yard field goal attempt as time expired.

University of Mount Union, which owns a division-leading 12 national titles, advances to its 20th Division III championship game. The Purple Raiders, ranked third in the country by D3football.com, will face defending national champion and top-ranked University of Mary Hardin-Baylor (Texas) (14-0) in the 45th Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl on Friday (Dec. 15) in Salem, Va.

University of Mary Hardin-Baylor defeated UW-Oshkosh, 10-7, in last year's national championship game.

UW-Oshkosh, which entered the semifinal round ranked third in the nation, had its 15-game home winning streak snapped. University of Mount Union has now won 120 of its last 121 road games.

The teams combined for 1012 yards of offense on Saturday, including 542 by the Purple Raiders.

University of Mount Union concluded the game with advantages in passing yards (330-297), rushing yards (212-173), first downs (32-18), turnovers (3-1), offensive plays (90-59) and time of possession (36:24 to 23:36). The Purple Raiders converted 11 of 17 third-down opportunities while UW-Oshkosh went 6-for-14 on third downs.

University of Mount Union went into the contest leading the country with 54.1 points per game while UW-Oshkosh listed 10th by averaging 41.9.

Purple Raiders quarterback D'Angelo Fulford completed 28 of 42 passes for 330 yards with one touchdown and one interception. He also added 10 rushes for 46 yards and one score. Fulford went into the game with a nation-leading 48 touchdown passes and a 241.7 passing efficiency rating.

University of Mount Union recorded five touchdown runs, including two apiece from Evans-Morris and Josh Petruccelli. Evans-Morris led all players with 27 carries for 132 yards while Petruccelli chipped in 11 totes for 34 yards as University of Mount Union averaged 4.4 yards per rush.

Jared Ruth had a game-high 11 catches for 130 yards for the Purple Raiders, who also received six grabs for 102 yards from Justin Hill and five receptions for 54 yards and a touchdown from Luke Herrington.

The Purple Raiders' Danny Robinson made a game-best 12 tackles.

Elijah Berry and Ethan McComb both notched sacks for University of Mount Union while Louis Berry and Kollyn Crenshaw snared interceptions, and Trey Williams recovered a fumble.

UW-Oshkosh quarterback Brett Kasper went 17-for-31 passing for 297 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. He extended his school record to 34 touchdown passes on the year. Kasper concludes his career with a program-record 9,786 passing yards and 89 touchdown passes.

Dylan Hecker led UW-Oshkosh with 15 carries for 92 yards and one touchdown. He ends his career with school-record totals of 61 rushing touchdowns and 378 points.

UW-Oshkosh's Sam Mentkowski had seven receptions for a game-high 190 yards and one touchdown, including five catches for 178 yards and a score during the first half. Mentkowski capped the season with a school-record 1,477 receiving yards. He also finished his career as the program's all-time leader with 180 receptions, 3,141 receiving yards and 27 touchdown catches.

Mitch Gerhartz contributed 73 rushing yards and a touchdown on just three carries for the Titans while Dom Todarello had four catches for 65 yards and one score. University of Mount Union had allowed just one rushing touchdown on the year before Saturday.

Jamier Szymanski led UW-Oshkosh with a career-high 11 tackles, including six solo.

Jon Kallas recorded nine tackles and one forced fumble for the Titans while Chris Bednarski, Scott Skornicka and Cole Yoder each had eight tackles. Yoder returned an interception – his fourth of the season – for a 42-yard touchdown early in the third quarter.

Matt Kahn and AJ Plewa accounted for UW-Oshkosh's two sacks.

UW-Oshkosh marched the game's opening possession 49 yards in eight plays before Geisthardt pushed a 34-yard field goal attempt to the right.

After the teams exchanged punts on the next two possessions, Petruccelli capped a 10-play, 73-yard University of Mount Union drive with a 2-yard touchdown run. Petruccelli logged seven carries for 46 during the scoring drive that provided the Purple Raiders a 7-0 advantage with 2:08 left in the first quarter.

UW-Oshkosh was pinned at its own 2-yard line following a fumble on the ensuing kickoff return. However, on the Titans' next play from scrimmage, Kasper heaved a pass to Mentkowski for a 72-yard connection. Kasper hit Mentkowski for a 7-yard gain on a third-and-4 play, and Hecker reached the end zone on the next play with a 13-yard run that tied the score at 7 with 14:57 left in the first half.

University of Mount Union drove to the UW-Oshkosh 14-yard line on the following possession, but Skornicka thwarted the drive by stopping Fulford for no gain on fourth-and-3.

Kasper hit Mentkowski with an 86-yard touchdown pass on the next play, giving the Titans their first lead at 14-7 with 9:31 to play in the second quarter.

The Purple Raiders' next possession consumed 6:47 off the clock and spanned 76 yards in 18 plays, culminating on Alex Louthan's 23-yard field goal that trimmed the University of Mount Union deficit to 14-10 with 2:44 remaining in the second period.

Todarello returned the ensuing kickoff 68 yards to the Purple Raiders' 17-yard line. A pair of penalties moved the ball back to the 27-yard line, but Kasper dropped in a 17-yard touchdown pass to Todarello in the back of the end zone on third-and-10 to increase the Titans' advantage to 21-10 with 54 seconds left in the first half.

Yoder intercepted a Fulford pass on the second offensive play of the second half and raced 42 yards for his second career touchdown as UW-Oshkosh extended its lead to 28-10 at the 14:07 mark of the third quarter.

UW-Oshkosh then upped its lead to 35-10 on a 43-yard touchdown run by Gerhartz with 9:46 left in the third period. Gerhartz's first carry of the game concluded a six-play, 82-yard drive that included carries of 30 and 12 yards by Hecker.

University of Mount Union began its comeback with a 3-yard touchdown pass from Fulford to Herrington, trimming the deficit to 35-17 at the 6:34 mark of the third quarter. Fulford completed 6 of 7 passes for 67 yards on the scoring drive that gained 66 yards in eight plays.

The Purple Raiders then forced UW-Oshkosh to punt after three plays and reached the end zone six plays later as Fulford ran for a 13-yard score, cutting the UW-Oshkosh lead to 35-24 with 2:54 left in the third quarter. Fulford went 3-for-4 passing for 35 yards before his scramble finished off a six-play, 56-yard drive.

University of Mount Union's Williams recovered a fumble by Kasper at the Titan 13-yard line and, following a pass for no gain and a pass interference penalty on UW-Oshkosh, Evans-Morris barreled into the end zone from 2 yards out to pull the Purple Raiders within 35-30 with 1:43 remaining in the third period. University of Mount Union's two-point conversion try failed as a pass by Fulford fell incomplete.

After Todarello returned the resulting kickoff 40 yards to the UW-Oshkosh 45-yard line, Geisthardt drilled a 36-yard field goal nine plays later to increase the UW-Oshkosh advantage to 38-30 with 13:51 to play in the fourth quarter. The field goal was set up by a 23-yard run by Gerhartz to the Purple Raiders' 19-yard line.

Petruccelli pulled University of Mount Union within 38-36 with a 1-yard touchdown run with 9:36 remaining. Petruccelli accounted for 36 yards on five carries and one catch during the 10-play, 69-yard drive, which also featured a 28-yard pass from Fulford to Hill.

The Purple Raider once again attempted a two-point conversion, but Fulford fumbled on the attempt to tie the game. UW-Oshkosh's Derrick Jennings Jr. scooped up the loose ball and raced more than 90 yards to the end zone, extending the Titan advantage to 40-36.

Berry intercepted a Kasper pass and returned the ball to the Titan 40-yard line on UW-Oshkosh's following possession. Fulford hit Ruth with a 28-yard pass on the first play of the following series. Evans-Morris then carried the ball three times for the final 12 yards of the drive, including a 1-yard run to the end zone on first-and-goal. Louthan's fourth extra point of the contest provided the final score at the 5:41 mark.

Crenshaw intercepted Kasper near midfield on the Titans' second play of their penultimate drive. University of Mount Union took 2:29 off the clock – and the Titans used their final timeouts – during its final possession before Adam Snyder's punt pinned UW-Oshkosh at its own 15-yard line with 2:24 to play.

University of Mount Union appeared to secure the victory as Kasper's 14-yard pass to Todarello on fourth-and-10 was deemed to be juggled as Todarello fell out of bounds. After an official review, the call was overturned, giving the Titans a first down at their own 29-yard line.

Kasper hit Cody Moon for a 7-yard pass on third-and-6, and UW-Oshkosh gained another first down on a 10-yard pass from Kasper to Chad Redmer on fourth-and-8. Kasper's 20-yard pass to Todarello advanced the ball to the University of Mount Union 28-yard line with one second left.

Following a pair of timeouts by the Purple Raiders, Geisthardt was short on a 46-yard field goal attempt as time expired.

UW-Oshkosh owns a 12-4 record in NCAA postseason games. The Titans' .750 winning percentage during the Division III Championship is third-best while University of Mount Union sports a division-best .860 percentage (98-16 record).

The Titans advanced to the semifinal round for the third time in four trips to the NCAA tournament. UW-Oshkosh also reached the semifinals in 2012 and the quarterfinals in 2015.

UW-Oshkosh & University of Mount Union Postgame Press Conference

2017 NCAA Division III Football Championship Interactive Bracket

Oct. 20: All times Eastern
Final
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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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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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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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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Final
at Husson 54, Anna Maria 14
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Final
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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Final
King's 37, at Albright 26
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Final
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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Final
at Wittenberg 38, DePauw 23
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Final
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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Final
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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Final
at John Carroll 27, Marietta 24
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at Tufts 28, Williams 21
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Final
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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Final
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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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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Final
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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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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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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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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Final
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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UW-Eau Claire 40, at UW-Platteville 16
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Final
at St. Thomas 68, Carleton 0
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at Mass-Dartmouth 41, Worcester State 27
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Final
at Wartburg 47, Central 20
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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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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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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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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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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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