Football Gazette's Small College Football Blog

Don Hansen's Football Gazette Blog of information, comments, notes, and tidebits on Small College Football. NCAA 1-AA & Mid Major, Division II & Mid Major, Division III, NAIA, and NCCAA

Friday, October 31, 2003

Top Small College Games For 11-1

All 272 of my predictions for this weeks games can be found on the Football Gazette website [use link on the right side to get there] and then click on Don's predictions.

First, I will list the Top Game, as I see them, for each of the four divisions (NCAA 1-AA, II, III and NAIA) this Saturday.

NCAA 1-AA Top Game
at Northern Arizona (6-2) over Montana (6-2). Northern Arizona after leading most of the game lost on two fourth quarter touchdowns at Montana State last week 21-17, while Montana was being a mean host, romping over Portland State 42-14. Guiding the Lumberjacks powerpacked offense is freshman quarterback Jason Murrietta. He has completed 152-of-254 pass attempts for 2,300 yards and 15 touchdowns while only being intercepted six times and scoring four rushing touchdowns. His preferred targets are, senior Clarence Moore with 41 receptions for 767 yards and seven scores while senior receiver Johnny Marshall has 52 catches for 754 yards and seven touchdowns while spending time on returns with seven for a 20.6 yards per return. Top rusher for NAU is junior Roger Robinson with 205 carries for 838 yards and six touchdowns. Leading the defense in tackles is senior defensive back Jeremy Thornburg with 60, including 4.5 for looses and two interceptions. Senior defensive back Jason Jacobs has totaled 37 tackles and four interceptions. They also have a defensive weapon with senior punter Mark Gould who is averaging 46.8 yards per punt on 32 kicks. The Grizzlies use a pair of quarterbacks, both juniors, Craig Ochs has completed 62-of-103 passes for 838 yards and six touchdowns while Jeff Disney has completed 45-of-84 attempts for 417 yards and four touchdowns. Junior receiver Tata Hancock has 22 catches for 264 yards and three scores. UM's ground attack is led by junior running back Justin Green with 127 carries for 633 yards and four touchdowns. Their defense is anchored by senior strong safety Dave DeCoite with 56 hits, five for losses and three pass blocks, while senior outside linebacker Brent Meyers has 54 tackles, eight for losses and three pass deflections. The Grizz' senior kicker Chris Snyder has connected on 16-of-18 field goal kicks with a long of 54 yards with seven being over 40 yards. Montana, which passes about as much as they rush, will need to do more passing in this game as NAU is only allowing 76.4 rushing yards per game. NAU is averaging 301.8 yards passing per game on the strong arm of Murrietta and average 455.1 total offensive yards per game. I think that Murrieta will be able to pass NAU to the victory at home over Montana. Player to watch for NAU is Murrietta, and keep your eye on Montana' kick returner and wide receiver Heidelberger. Northern Arizona, 23-21.

NCAA II Top Game
North Alabama (8-0) over at Valdosta State (8-0). I know. This is supposed to be Valdosta State's year, and it still might be, but I think North Alabama will surprise them this week. I'm really stretching my neck out on this one and going with my hunch here. That doesn't always work though! Both schools have a great passing attack with North Alabama having a slight edge in the running game. If one team gets ahead by a couple of TD's and the other team needs to play catch-up, mistakes could be made and it could turn into a rout. UNA is averaging 261.8 yards passing a game and VSU is averaging 303.0. Looks like a very long game to me, and a very exciting game to watch. The Lions of North Alabama will be led by their talented senior quarterback, Will Hall, who has passed for 1,970 yards and 18 touchdowns completing 143-of-201 passes and has had 81 rushes for 311 yards and three touchdowns. Pulling down most of Hall's passes is senior receiver David Mooneyham with 27 receptions for 464 yards and four scores. Sophomore running back Demarcus Blount has caught 24 passes for 173 yards and three scores and has rushed 96 times for 519 yards and nine more touchdowns. Another leader for the ground game is junior slot back Randy Vickers with 89 carries for 491 yards and six TD's. The Lions defense is spirited by leading tackler, sophomore linebacker Donald Tharpe with 43, including 10 for losses. Evan Oglesby has 40 stops, three interceptions and six pass deflections. The Blazers offensive schemes are created by sophomore quarterback Barrett Wilkes with 2,314 yards passing on 196-of-312 pass completions and 20 touchdowns. Wilkes has several targets that he can throw to and the leaders in receptions are, freshman Raymond Thomas with 36 for 447 yards and three scores while sophomore Andre Zeller has caught 28 passes for 348 yards and scored five times. On defense, senior linebacker Jason Cost leads the team in tackles with 55, including eight tackles for loss. Sophomore linebacker Dee Williford has 32 tackles, one interception and has returned his three fumble recoveries a total of 144 yards with one for a touchdown. The Blazers will need to get their running game going to help out their passing attack against the Lions. But I do not expect too much running in this game unless one team gets out to a couple or more touchdown lead. With VSU having several receivers that they use, it would seem that they do have an advantage there. UNA's Mooneyham though, looks to have a little better of it on accuracy with his tosses. This game you would think to be a high-scoring affair. I'll settle for something in the middle, and take North Alabama, 28-24.

NCAA III TOP GAME
Mary Hardin-Baylor (7-0) over at Hardin-Simmons (6-1). Mary Hardin-Baylor, and its six-year old program has defeated Hardin-Simmons for the first time last year.. The Crusaders lean more to their running game (270.1 yards rushing per game) and allow just 55.3 yards rushing a game while the Cowboys count more on a passing attack (242.0 yards passing per game). Last week Hardin-Simmons managed to outlast East Texas Baptist in overtime 20-14 while Mary Hardin-Baylor was ripping Sul Ross State 62-0. The Crusaders have three standouts on defense with the leader in tackles being junior linebacker Bret Page with 49 tackles including 16 for losses, and junior linebacker Ryan McCabe chipped in with 47 tackles, six for losses and eight pass break-ups. The defensive secondary is sparked by sophomore Anthony Johnson with five interception, four pass deflections and has totaled 15 tackles. The Crusaders offense is directed by their senior quarterback Cody Fredenburg with 450 yards rushing on 71 carries and one score while passing for 919 yards and nine touchdowns on 53-of-84 pass attempts. The Cowboys main offensive threat is sophomore quarterback Jordan Neal with his 1,623 passing yards, completing 131-of-194 pass attempts with 12 touchdowns. Senior receiver Joe Lemberg has been the recipient of most of Neal's passes with 38 for 550 yards and five TD's. Slot back, junior Lance Moore has 87 carries for 604 yards and seven touchdowns and lining up at a running back spot is junior Donta' Hayward who has picked up 377 yards on 78 carries and has seven scores. The Cowboys defense has two exceptional linebackers, one is sophomore Jason Rupert who leads the team in tackles with 49 including three for losses, the other star at linebacker is junior Brent Gailey with 53 tackles, 8.5 for losses, one interception and three pass blocks. The defensive backfield is filled by the big shoes of all-American cornerback Alex Hansen who has accumulated 36 tackles, seven pass break-ups and five interceptions. This will be a tough win to come away with in Abilene for Mary Hardin-Baylor. With the Crusaders' stingy defense it will be hard for the Cowboys to grind it out on the ground, so they will need to rely even more heavily on their passing game to pull this one out. If H-SU gets a lead and UMH-B needs to get into a passing mode, Hansen could become a big factor in the game otherwise if the Crusaders are able to stick to their normal game plan he will have less to do in his cornerback slot. The Crusaders Fredenburg will need to keep mixing it up to be successful in the encounter with the Cowboys. I think the Crusaders offense can succeed in this one and defeat the Cowboys. Mary Hardin-Baylor, 28-14.

NAIA Top Game
at Campbellsville (7-1) over Georgetown KY (6-1). Georgetown stunned Belhaven last week 74-44. The Tigers from Georgetown must also been stunned by giving up 44 points! Looks like neither team had any defense in that game. Campbellsville won at Cumberland TN last week 37-17. Is Georgetown's defense that bad? Leading rusher for Campbellsville is senior running back Derek Skaggs with 108 carries for 661 yards and eight scores. Quarterbacking this squad is sophomore Joe Dye with 51-of-94 pass completions for 739 yards and seven touchdowns and has rushed for 190 yards on 62 carries and scored five times. Junior tight end Derek Shelton has caught 46 passes for 209 yards and three TD's and senior wide receiver Ricky Gehres has 38 receptions for 562 yards and four scores. Leading tackler for Campbellsville is freshman Derek Boyd with 64. Junior defensive end Rhyan Atwood has knocked down 44, including 14 for losses with 4.5 sacks, and senior cornerback William Mulder has 22 hits, five for losses, 10 pass breakups and three interceptions. Junior kicker Donnie Johnson is Campbellsville leading scorer converting 11-of-15 field goal kicks, with a long of 50 yards, and has been successful on 25-of-27 extra point kicks. Georgetown's offense is generated by senior quarterback Neil Warren who has completed 140-of-240 passes for 1,675 yards and 15 touchdowns and has rushed for 445 yards and scored five times on 86 carries. Junior wingback Jeremiah Akers has caught 33 passes for 311 yards and scored three times while junior wingback Ryan Payne has pulled in 29 passes for 410 yards and six touchdowns. On defense for Georgetown, senior defensive back Seth Faulkner has intercepted five passes and blocked three others, while senior linebacker John Sullivan has registered 72 tackles. Freshman Jerome Geralds has returned 17 punts for an average of 14.9 yards per return and scored on two of them. Needless to mention I guess, that Georgetown has an explosive offense and averages 458 total yards per game which will put a lot of pressure on Mulder and the rest of Campbellsville' defensive secondary. Georgetown will need to hold Campbellsville's running back Skaggs to less than his current 6.12 yards per game average. Campbellsville's player to watch is Skaggs, but the player who might wind up making the difference in the game is kicker Johnson. For Georgetown keep your eye on Warren, while Faulkner could be the key player in the game for GC. I think that Campbellsville will finally defeat Georgetown with a spirited performance. Campbellsville, 27-22.

Other significant games in each division follow. They will be posted later tonight

NCAA 1-AA TOP GAMES

at Western Kentucky (6-2) over Southern Illinois (8-0). The Hilltoppers won last week at Indiana State whipping the Sycamores 59-14, while Southern Illinois defeated Southwest Missouri at home 20-6. Both schools count heavily on a rushing attack. Western Kentucky averages 254.5 yards a game rushing with sophomore Lerron Moore leading the ground assault with 908 yards and eight touchdowns on 175 carries. Senior Chris Miller has 59 carries for 389 yards and has scored three times. Quarterbacking this Hilltopper outfit is freshman Justin Haddix with 978 yards passing on 64-of-129 pass attempts with seven TD's, while also picking up 161 yards rushing and six touchdowns. Their leading receiver is senior Casey Rooney with 27 catches for 512 yards and three scores. Another weapon for WKU is senior kicker Matt Lange who has connected on 16 of his 19 field goal kicks with a long of 46 yards and is 30-of-32 on PAT kicks. Leading tackler is senior linebacker Erik Dandy with 92, including 12 for losses and two interceptions. Also, sophomore linebacker Brandon Smith has 49 tackles, nine behind the line of scrimmage, seven sacks, one interception and has recovered two fumbles. Southern Illinois relies on two dynamic running backs. Mo Abdulqaadir who has amassed 725 yards on 108 carries and scored nine touchdowns while senior Tom Koutsos has rushed 125 times for 644 yards and nine scores. Quarterbacking this explosive ground game is sophomore Joel Sambursky who has picked up 67 yards rushing and four scores and passed for 1,034 yards and 10 TD's. The Salukis top receiver is sophomore Brent Little with 21 catches for 423 yards and four scores and he also returns kickoffs. SIU's solid defense has junior safety Alexis Moreland tops in tackles with 62 and two interceptions. Senior cornerback Eric Egan has 56 stops, nine for losses with three sacks, and sophomore Frank Johnson has 48 tackles, 4.5 for losses, two interceptions, four pass deflections, three fumble recoveries and a blocked kick. The Salukis are averaging 294.0 yards rushing per game and their opponents are being held to just 88.0 yards per game rushing. Western Kentucky's offensive line will need to work hard to make holes for running backs Moore and Miller. If Abdulqaadir and Koutsos can be held relatively in check, WKU will pull out the win. If it's close the Hilltoppers kicker, Matt Lange could make the difference. I will take Western Kentucky in an upset 27-17.

North Carolina A&T (7-1) over at Bethune-Cookman (6-1). North Carolina A&T has been hot while Bethune-Cookman has cooled off a bit. This should be a very exciting game to be attending. Both teams are capable of rolling the numbers up on the scoreboard. The Aggies are led by their two exciting rushers. Sophomore Frank Robinson has gained 566 yards on 133 carries and scored twice, and Micheaux Hollingsworth has picked up 391 yards on 94 carries. The man the Aggies go to the most when they do pass is sophomore wide receiver Douglas Brown who has tucked in 20 passes for 251 yards and two scores. Another dangerous addition for the Aggies is senior kicker Yonnic Matthews who has converted 13 of his 15 field goal attempts and Carl Scriven has seven TD's. Their defense is headed by sophomore linebacker Herbert Dixon with 58 tackles, 2.5 sacks, two fumble recoveries and has run in two of his four interceptions for touchdowns, while senior linebacker Rickie Lewis has 42 tackles, 13 tackles for loss with six sacks. The Wildcats as well have two dynamic rushers, starting with their senior quarterback Allen Suber who has gained 617 yards on 116 carries and scored nine times while also completing 58-of-110 pass attempts for 939 yards and nine touchdowns. Junior running back Rodney Johnson has made 94 carries for 590 yards and scored five times. B-CC's freshman Eric Weems has caught 22 passes for 439 yards and three scores. The Wildcats intimidating defense is led by junior linebacker Jamal Muhammad with 72 tackles and 3.5 sacks while linebacking teammate Steve Baggs has 47 tackles, six sacks and 19 tackles for loss. The defensive backfield is patrolled by senior Kenny Haetly with 16 pass deflections and one interception. The Wildcats quarterback Suber is the key for the offense and will need to mix it up more between passing and the ground game to confuse the Aggies defense. The Aggies receiver Douglas Brown may be the key for them. I think the Aggies will need to pass more. The overall smoking gun to get the win, could rest on the foot of the Aggies Yonnic Mathews. I take North Carolina A&T to pull out the win, 27-23.

Wofford (8-0) over at The Citadel (5-3). Both schools are coming off impressive wins from last week. Wofford took care of Appalachian State at home 24-14, and The Citadel took care of matters at Georgia Southern, winning 28-24. The Terriers simply run the ball at you and average 239.2 yards rushing per game and average just 75.9 yards passing a game. The ground attack has eight rushers with over 150 yards gained so far this season, and the names start with their leading rusher, freshman halfback Kevious Johnson with 335 yards on 68 carries and six touchdowns. Senior fullback J.R. McNair has picked up 273 yards on 79 carries and has six scores. Junior quarterback Jeff Zolman has gained 279 yards on 71 carries and scored two TD's and has completed 26-of-42 passes for 320 yards and one score. The defense is allowing 116.9 yards rushing a game. One standout for the defense is senior free safety Matt Nelson with 106 tackles, three interceptions and nine pass blocks. Also junior linebacker Timmy Thrift sparkles on the defense. Thrift has 86 tackles, 10 for losses, one interception returned 100 yards for a TD, two pass deflections and three forced fumble. The Citadel mixes their offense about evenly between rushing and passing. The Cadets are led by their fine quarterback, senior Willie Simmons who has completed 91-of-183 passes for 1,202 yards and seven scores and rushed for 149 yards and two touchdowns. His favorite target is senior wide receiver Scooter Johnson with 25 catches for 474 yards and six touchdowns and he also runs back kickoffs. The number one rusher for the Cadets is junior running back Nehemiah Broughton with 133 carries for 659 yards and eight scores and junior Ern Mills has rushed for 407 yards on 86 carries and scored twice. The defense is guarded by their leading tackler, senior DB/LB T.J. Ross with 45 and he has two interceptions to his credit. The other defensive leader for the Cadets is junior DE/LB Michael Bellentine with 27 hits, nine for losses, four sacks and two pass breakups. It will be tough to run against the Terriers, so Simmons the Cadets quarterback will need to pick up his passing game. With Wofford's bevy of running backs it will be tough for The Citadel's defense to key-in on any particular man. I think that with the multiple running back attack Wofford will cause enough confusion to leg-out the win. Wofford 21-16.

NCAA 1-AA MID-MAJOR TOP GAME

at Morehead State (6-2) over Duquesne (6-2). Both schools want this game badly, it's a conference pride thing. Earlier this year Duquesne, from the MAAC, defeated Butler from the Pioneer, but San Diego and Dayton have beaten their eastern opponents. This game should be action-packed! Both teams are stingy against the run. And they like to pass more anyway, so the outcome will rest on who can get more out of their rushing game. Duquesne's all-American senior quarterback Niel Loebig spearheads their ambitious offense and has thrown for 1,937 yards and 17 touchdowns, completing 132-of-229 passes. Senior wide receiver Randy Vulakovich has caught 48 passes for 538 yards and one score, while junior Michel Warfield has pulled down 32 passes for 764 yards and 10 touchdowns. The Dukes rushing chores are handled almost exclusively by senior running back Mike Hilliard with 985 yards and 13 touchdowns on 179 carries. Duquesne's top tacklers are all linebackers, with senior Harry Carter leading the way with 77, six tackles for loss and two interceptions. Senior Armando Perez has 26 tackles, 12 for losses, including two sacks and has recovered two fumbles, while sophomore Javonn Bradley has 51 stops, nine tackles for loss, two sacks and one interception. Morehead State's offense is triggered by senior quarterback David Caudill with 1,820 passing yards and 15 touchdowns, completing 132-of-245 pass attempts, while also gaining 362 yards on 89 carries with two scores. The Eagles have several receivers in double-digits in receptions with the leader being senior wide receiver Ralph Delsardo who has caught 31 for 530 yards and three scores. Just behind Caudill in rushing yards is freshman fullback Jabari McGee with 35 carries for 208 yards and four touchdowns. Morehead State's defensive spark is junior linebacker Craig Unger with 82 tackles, nine tackles for loss and has captured three enemy passes for 100 return yards including one for a touchdown. Senior linebacker Odi Anyanwu registers 51 tackles, 11.5 for losses with two sacks, and junior defensive back Charles Byrd claims 36 tackles, two interceptions and a whopping 16 pass blocks! With both teams leaning to the passing game it will put a lot of pressure on both teams secondary. Duquesne's wily receiver Michel Warfield will need to elude the Eagles aggressive defensive back Charles Byrd often enough to allow the Dukes to gain enough yardage to move down the field for a score. The Eagles key to winning may well rely on how well Caudill and McGee can gain meaningful yards on the ground. The tip-off for Duquesne will be how often Loebig can connect with his receivers. For Morehead State a major factor will be their secondary coverage on defense led by Byrd. I like Morehead State, 24-20.

NCAA II TOP GAMES

Tusculum (7-1) over at Catawba (7-1). Tusculum got by one hurdle last week when they defeated previously unbeaten Carson-Newman at home 27-18, while Catawba had to come from behind to pull out a 30-19 win at home over Newberry. Can Tusculum take down two giants in consecutive weeks? Guess we will just have to wait and see. The Pioneers have an impressive passing attack that's averaging 329.4 yards per game. Those sparkling passing statistics are created by a pair of rotating quarterbacks. Junior quarterback Tony Colston with slightly better numbers has completed 123-of-171 passes for 1,374 yards and nine touchdowns and rushed for 102 yards on 42 carries, while his counterpart at quarterback, junior Carson Bradley has thrown for 1,134 yards and nine touchdowns, completing 104-of-160 pass attempts. Finding a receiver for either quarterback is no problem, with nine capable receivers who have 10 or more receptions to throw to. Leading this network of receivers is senior Kevin Wolcott with 62 catches for 740 yards and four scores. Senior Antwain Glenn has caught 34 passes for 412 yards and three TD's, while another senior Marvin Kelly has 36 catches for 295 yards and five touchdowns. When the Pioneers do run they count on sophomore running back Chris Mosely to pick up the yards. Mosley has gained 357 yards and scored nine touchdowns on 87 carries, while teammate, freshman Patrick King has 60 carries for 295 yards and five touchdowns. Spurring the defensive ground forces is senior defensive back D.J. Starling with 48 tackles, four for losses and five pass deflections. Perhaps the most athletic player for the Pioneers is defensive back, and return specialist Ricardo Colclough with 40 tackles, three for losses, two fumble recoveries, two forced fumbles, eight pass blocks and seven interceptions for 109 return yards, including one for a TD, while also returning 15 punts an average of 14.9 yards per return, including running one back for a touchdown. The Catawba Indians don't pass as much as Tusculum, but they have passed enough to win. Directing the Indians offense is junior quarterback Luke Samples who has completed 136-of-223 pass attempts for 1,825 yards and 12 touchdowns. Topping the receivers list is the speedy sophomore Carey Ready with 45 catches for 707 yards and six scores while he has also returned 10 kickoffs for a 22.5 yards return average. Rod Tenor has 21 receptions for 317 yards and two TD's. Junior tailback Rodney Wallace leads the Catawba rushing attack with 150 carries for 668 yards and nine touchdowns. The anchor on defense for Catawba is sophomore linebacker SaMario Houston with 61 tackles, eight behind the line of scrimmage, one interception and five pass breakups, while fellow linebacker senior Khanis Hubbard has 42 hits, 17 for losses including eight sacks, two pass blocks and 20 quarterback hurries. In the secondary is senior Jamal Jackson who has totaled 28 tackles, four interceptions and nine pass deflections. When Tusculum has the ball you need to keep your eye downfield to see who is going to receive Colston or Bradley's pass. If the Indians can get the lead they count on Wallace to grind it out on the ground. Player to keep your eye on for Tusculum whenever he is on the playing field, is the electric and exciting Colclough, he is a game breaker. For Catawba there should be plenty of interaction between Ready and Samples. I go with Tusculum to make it two tough wins in a row, 24-19.

NCAA III TOP GAMES

Wisconsin-Whitewater (6-1) over at Wisconsin-Stevens Point (5-2). This conference is very strong! It is very hard to predict who will win on any given Saturday. I did get lucky last week and was right on all four games. The conference really has several playoff quality teams, however they keep knocking each other off and will probably have just one team make the playoffs. The Warhawks from Whitewater pass as much as they run with the ball, but what I think the glue and spark to this team is their defense. The Warhawk defense is focused on senior linebacker Andy Lobdell who leads the team in tackles with 56, including eight for losses with three sacks and four pass blocks. At another linebacker slot is junior Collin Price with 43 tackles, three tackles for loss, one blocked kick and two interceptions, returning one for a touchdown, while at cornerback is junior Trey Bell who has totaled 35 hits, three tackles for loss, five pass deflections and three interceptions. Whitewater switches quarterbacks off-and-on, with senior Reggie Stauss getting the bulk of the work. Stauss has completed 54-of-104 pass attempts for 667 yards and six scores while also rushing for 168 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries. Their other quarterback, junior Mike Askren has completed 33-of-68 passes for 523 yards and five scores. Leading receiver is sophomore Sean Erner with 24 catches for 389 yards and two touchdowns while also returning seven punts for an average return of 19.4 yards. Top running back for the Warhawks is senior Chad Wurth with 144 carries for 573 yards and five touchdowns, and he is also the place kicker on this team, connecting on 7-of-11 field goal attempts and converting all 26 of his PAT kicks. The Pointers count on senior quarterback Scott Krause to lead them to victory. Krause has thrown for 1,791 yards and 23 touchdowns while completing 135-of-216 pass attempts. Krause has several receivers to throw to, and I will mention three of them. First and leader in receptions is freshman Cody Childs with 39 catches for 393 yards and four scores and he also runs back kickoffs. Junior wide receiver Kurt Kielblock has 32 receptions for 592 yards and seven touchdowns, while junior Tony Romano has pulled down 25 passes for 375 yards and four touchdowns. The Pointers running attack is spirited by senior running back Jason Vander Valden with 114 carries for 434 yards and three touchdowns while also catching five passes for 64 yards and one more score, and junior running back Cory Flisakowski has 87 rushes for 383 yards and four scores while also pulling down 10 passes for 95 yards and one touchdown.. The defense is anchored by senior linebacker Nick Haffele with his team-leading 64 tackles, including seven for losses. Junior defensive end Craig Johnson has 36 hits, 16 tackles for loss with six sacks, and sophomore defensive back LeRon Ragsdale comes in with 20 tackles, one for a loss, six blocked passes and three interceptions. The key here for Whitewater may well be how successful they can be in their passing attack as Stevens Point is only allowing 109.9 yards rushing per game. The Pointers need to do what they have been doing most...pass! I really feel that Whitewater needs to pass more this game and has to have one of their quarterbacks get hot with his passing game. Stevens point will pass most of the time which is going to put a lot of pressure on the Warhawk secondary. Will they be up to the task? Whitewater is allowing 224.4 yards a game passing . The player to watch for Whitewater is their running back Chad Wurth, partly to see if he can gain meaningful yards on the ground often enough to allow the passing game to be effective. That's essential! The pointers key man to keep your eye on will be their quarterback Scott Krause with his polished moves and accurate throws. It is so hard to pick a winner in this conference, but I think Whitewater will come away with the road win. Whitewater 29-27.

NAIA TOP GAMES

Ottawa (6-1) over at Tabor (7-0). I'm unable to do as good a job of analyzing this game as at first I thought I would. I was unable to find Tabor''s individual player stats. As the host school last week, Ottawa was quite unfriendly to Friends University, whipping them 55-0! Tabor struggled a little bit at St. Mary last week, pulling out a 21-12 victory. The Ottawa Braves have a good overall defense, and they like to rush with the ball. Leading this expeditious group of running backs for Ottawa is their speedy senior running back Derrick Ward who has rushed for 1,064 yards and 13 touchdowns on 134 carries. Another top rusher is senior Brandon Fischer with 100 carries for 632 yards and seven scores. Directing this confident offensive squad is a pair of rotating quarterbacks. Seeing the most action at quarterback for Ottawa is senior T.J. O'Neil who has completed 42-of-76 passes for 592 yards and four touchdowns, while junior Emiliano Salazar, when he does line up at the quarterback spot, is a very capable replacement, and very little changes with the transfer. O'Neil has 324 yards passing and four scores, completing 22-of-56 pass attempts. Senior wide receiver Dan Schneider has been the recipient of most of the passes with 19 catches for 276 yards and three TD's. Top man in tackles for the Braves is sophomore Kevin Helvey with 37 tackles and two interceptions, while sophomore free safety DeDe Dorsey has acquired 27 tackes, two for losses, three interceptions, all three returned for touchdowns which includes a total of 225 yards on the returns, three blocked punts and one blocked PAT! Tabor likes to pass the ball and they have some very good receivers too, while their running attack isn't too shabby either! Leading receiver is senior Tyler Marsh with 38 catches for 579 yards and one score and he also has returned 24 punts for an average of 16.25 yards per return, plus nine kickoff returns averaging 21.67 yards per return. Senior Tyson Ratzliff is another quick receiver who has 34 receptions for 715 yards and 11 touchdowns. The Bluejays kicker, sophomore Keenan Morris has converted 9-of-15 field goal kicks and made good on 16-of-19 PAT kicks. Tabor is allowing just 92.0 yards rushing, so it seems it will become imperative that Ottawa uses its passing attack more often. Something has to give here because Ottawa has been totaling 260.1 yards rushing per game! The key for Ottawa will be the offensive line opening holes to shoot Derrick Ward through for big gainers. Tabor needs to pass, pass, pass while keeping it honest by allowing Dwayne Cleaves to gain some meaningful yardage on the ground. For Ottawa I would keep my eye on receiver Dan Schneider who I think will see considerably more actrion in this game, and of course, when Ottawa is playing defense, you must watch their outstanding and exciting defensive back, and elusive kick returner DeDe Dorsey, who is game-breaker! For Tabor my eyes would be focused on their freshman quarterback to see if he reacts well under the pressure that Ottawa is sure to throw at him. I like Ottawa here, 24-14.

I will do a few more game analysis as time permits. Keep coming back to my blog. Thanks.

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