2010 NCAA Playoffs: Mount Union Bracket

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Mount Union Purple Raiders
Seed: No. 1, Mount Union bracket
Last Top 25 ranking: No. 2, Week 11 2010
Location: Alliance, OH
Enrollment (full-time undergrads): 2115
Stadium: Mount Union Stadium (5450)
Playing surface: Turf
Conference: OAC
Preseason ranking from Kickoff:
Head coach: Larry Kehres (Mount Union '71)
Career record: 299-22-3 (.927)
Base offense: Multiple
Base defense: 4-2-5
Record in NCAA playoffs: 65-11 (1985-86, 1990, 1992-present)
NCAA D-III championships: 1993, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2005, 2006, 2008
D3football.com team page: Schedule and results, more news
How they got here: Pool A, OAC champ
You'll know they're playing well if: Receivers in addition to Cecil Shorts are involved in the offense, the running game is productive and the defense keeps the opposing quarterback in the pocket.
You'll know they're playing poorly if: They hold onto the football and put the defense in bad positions too many times.
This season's turning point: This may actually be yet to come. We're waiting for Neal Seaman's version of the seminal late-game scoring drive that many of his predecessors took the Purple Raiders on to win games in their first year as starting quarterback.
Rushing/receiving yards per game: 182.8/268.0
Rushing/receiving yards allowed: 77.9/122.2
How far can they go? We have never said anything less than "all the way" for the Purple Raiders. The bracket gives them a potential semifinal challenge, however, and there's a chance this won't be the color of purple in Salem.


Cortland State Red Dragons
Seed: No. 2, Mount Union bracket
Last Top 25 ranking: No. 20, Week 11 2010
Location: Cortland, NY
Enrollment (full-time undergrads): 5963
Stadium: Stadium Complex (6500)
Playing surface: Turf
Conference: NJAC
Preseason ranking from Kickoff:
Head coach: Dan MacNeill (Cortland State '79)
Career record: 96-51 (.653)
Base offense: Multiple I
Base defense: 3-4
Record in NCAA playoffs: 3-6 (1988-90, 1997, 2005, 2008)
NCAA D-III championships: None
D3football.com team page: Schedule and results, more news
How they got here: Pool A, NJAC champ
You'll know they're playing well if: Justin Autera is averaging more than 5 yards per carry. The offense starts and ends with Autera, and the offensive line's ability to block for him. A recurring problem in the second half of the season has been the lack of time for Dan Pitcher to throw the football, and teams have been putting extra defenders in the box to key on Autera.
You'll know they're playing poorly if: Pitcher can't find an open man because the receivers are getting jammed at the line. Cortland has been very deep at receiver in recent years, but this season they have not been physical enough against strong defenses.
This season's turning point: Out of timeouts with 1:43 left, Cortland mounted a scoring drive to take a 10-9 lead on Montclair State, then held on as the Red Hawks missed a 30-yard field goal wide left as time expired.
Rushing/receiving yards per game: 192.2/147.9
Rushing/receiving yards allowed: 80.8/144.7
How far can they go? As far as Autera and the defense will carry them.


SUNY-Maritime Privateers
Seed: No. 3
Last Top 25 ranking: Never ranked
Location: Throggs Neck, NY
Enrollment (full-time undergrads): 1446
Stadium: Reinhart Field (4000)
Playing surface: Turf
Conference: ECFC
Preseason ranking from Kickoff:
Head coach: Clayton Kendrick-Holmes (Navy)
Career record: 23-23 (.500)
Base offense: Triple-option
Base defense: 4-3
Record in NCAA playoffs: First trip
NCAA D-III championships: None
D3football.com team page: Schedule and results, more news
How they got here: Pool B
You'll know they're playing well if: You lose track of how many Privateers are carrying the ball. With three rushers with 110 carries or more, and two more with at least 66, the triple-option offense they run involves spreading the ball around. Quarterback Joe Dickey is the only one guaranteed his touches, and he hasn't had more than 18 in a game.
You'll know they're playing poorly if: The defense, which stays on the field for just 25 minutes a game, is giving up sustained drives. The Privateers allow just 3.23 yards per running play.
This season's turning point: In the preseason, when Kendrick-Holmes told his team he'd be shipping out before the end of the year for active duty. That gave the players, coming off the school's first winning season, an intangible incentive that's carried them through 10 wins so far.
Rushing/receiving yards per game: 315.4/71.5
Rushing/receiving yards allowed: 108.9/151.7
How far can they go? Not to cast aspersion on the Privateers, but according to our Kickoff rankings, the best team they've played was Merchant Marine, ranked No. 147. Even if we were way, way off, SUNY-Maritime is in for a shock when it takes the field against Alfred. That's not to say that the intangibles aren't heavily in Maritime's favor (other than home field), but this is a different ballgame than the ECFC.


Delaware Valley Aggies
Seed: No. 4, Mount Union bracket
Last Top 25 ranking: No. 18, Week 11 2010
Location: Doylestown, PA
Enrollment (full-time undergrads): 1634
Stadium: James Work Stadium (4500)
Playing surface: Grass
Conference: MAC
Preseason ranking from Kickoff:
Head coach: Jim Clements (Widener '96)
Career record: 39-15 (.722)
Base offense: Multiple
Base defense: 3-4
Record in NCAA playoffs: 5-3 (2004-05, 2009)
NCAA D-III championships: None
D3football.com team page: Schedule and results, more news
How they got here: Pool A, MAC champ
You'll know they're playing well if: They establish Matt Cook and the run game early.  Cook has broken a school record of some kind almost every week (rushing yards per game, career rushing touchdowns).  The line anchored by preseason All-American Mike Long is a big part of that.  But there are questions about whether center Jim McKay can come back from a knee injury after missing a couple games.  The Aggies' offense needs balance.
You'll know they're playing poorly if: They turn the ball over and don't cash in on red zone opportunities.  The Aggies have gone through stretches where they don't take care of the ball (eight turnovers against Wilkes, three in the first half against Widener).  There's no room for that in the playoffs.
This season's turning point: After a sloppy first half at Wilkes, Delaware Valley came out of the locker room trailing 18-16. The Aggies' first drive of the second half established a new tone with Cook running behind the offensive line. Cook scored a touchdown to give the Aggies the lead for good.  He finished the day with 328 yards and the Aggies left Wilkes-Barre with a big W.
Rushing/receiving yards per game: 203.5/235.8
Rushing/receiving yards allowed: 60.2/163.3
How far can they go? Road ends in Alliance, if not sooner after the Aggies lost some key pieces in the regular-season finale against Widener.


Salisbury Sea Gulls
Seed: No. 5, Mount Union bracket
Last Top 25 ranking: No. 17, Week 11, 2008
Location: Salisbury, MD
Enrollment (full-time undergrads): 6657
Stadium: Sea Gull Stadium (2500)
Playing surface: Turf
Conference: ACFC
Preseason ranking from Kickoff:
Head coach: Sherman Wood (Salisbury State '84)
Career record: 104-80-1 (.565), 81-43 at Salisbury
Base offense: Triple option
Base defense: 3-4
Record in NCAA playoffs: 5-6 (1983, 1985-86, 2002, 2004, 2007)
NCAA D-III championships: None
D3football.com team page: Schedule and results, more news
How they got here: Pool B
You'll know they're playing well if: The triple option attack is distributing the ball around to multiple ball carriers and ripping off huge gains. They complete a few passes and the defense stuffs the run.
You'll know they're playing poorly if: They can't hang onto the football. A danger with any option attack, Salisbury struggles with holding onto the ball as well, fumbling 42 times in nine games, losing 21.
This season's turning point: Quarterback Dan Griffin winning the starting job in preseason. The position was up for grabs during coming in and the offense was lacking a leader. Griffin has made the offense go with 1069 rushing yards and may have to shoulder the load even more as fullback Randal Smedley has not played since the Wesley game.
Rushing/receiving yards per game: 407.9/56.1
Rushing/receiving yards allowed: 55.3/212.4
How far can they go? You'd like to think a different look could give Mount Union trouble. But it won't, if they even get a chance.


Alfred Saxons
Seed: No. 6, Mount Union bracket
Last Top 25 ranking: No. 20, Week 8 2010
Location: Alfred, NY
Enrollment (full-time undergrads): 1868
Stadium: Merrill Field (5000)
Playing surface: Turf
Conference: E8
Preseason ranking from Kickoff:
Head coach: Dave Murray (Springfield '81)
Career record: 128-89-1 (.618), 84-49 at Alfred
Base offense: Multiple I
Base defense: 3-4
Record in NCAA playoffs: 0-2 (1981, 2009)
NCAA D-III championships: None.
D3football.com team page: Schedule and results, more news
How they got here: Pool A, E8 champ
You'll know they're playing well if: They play balanced on offense and don't try to rely solely on quarterback Tommy Secky.
You'll know they're playing poorly if: They turn the ball over three or more times. Plus, they've had 80 or more yards of penalties five times this season, including each of the last three regular-season games.
This season's turning point: Could be an hour after the bracket was announced, when Alfred finally figured out what we knew all along and posted, that they were hosting SUNY-Maritime in the first round.
Rushing/receiving yards per game: 171.0/232.2
Rushing/receiving yards allowed: 116.9/167.6
How far can they go? Could win zero, one, two games.


Endicott Gulls
Seed: No. 7, Mount Union bracket
Last Top 25 ranking: Never ranked
Location: Beverly, MA
Enrollment (full-time undergrads): 1973
Stadium: Multi-Purpose Stadium (2200)
Playing surface: Turf
Conference: NEFC Boyd
Preseason ranking from Kickoff:
Head coach: J.B. Wells (Trinity, Conn. '91)
Career record: 43-36 (.544)
Base offense: Multiple
Base defense: Multiple 3-4
Record in NCAA playoffs: First trip
NCAA D-III championships: None
D3football.com team page: Schedule and results, more news
How they got here: Pool A, NEFC champ
You'll know they're playing well if: They run the ball consistently. For a team that returned all five starting linemen from a year ago, the Gulls have only had five 100-yard rushing games as a team all season. But they controlled the clock in the NEFC title game against a triple option team, so anything is possible.
You'll know they're playing poorly if: They can't protect the quarterback. Endicott gave up eight sacks in the first two games but has only allowed five in the next nine contests.
This season's turning point: Rallying from a 24-13 deficit in the final nine minutes to knock off Curry 28-24 and stake a real claim to top dog status in the NEFC Boyd.
Rushing/receiving yards per game: 138.2/191.5
Rushing/receiving yards allowed: 131.8/133.8
How far can they go? Hey, we've underestimated the NEFC champ before, but Cortland could easily make this team one-dimensional very quickly.


St. Lawrence Saints
Seed: No. 8, Mount Union bracket
Last Top 25 ranking: Never ranked
Location: Canton, NY
Enrollment (full-time undergrads): 2187
Stadium: Leckonby Stadium (1500)
Playing surface: Grass
Conference: LL
Preseason ranking from Kickoff:
Head coach: Mark Raymond (Buffalo '93)
Career record: 5-5 (.500)
Base offense: Multiple
Base defense: Multiple
Record in NCAA playoffs: 2-3 (1976, 1978, 1982)
NCAA D-III championships: None
D3football.com team page: Schedule and results, more news
How they got here: Pool A, LL champ
You'll know they're playing well if: Marcus Washington can get 150 yards or more on the ground. The converted fullback has been the key to creating a balanced attack for the Saints.  Prior to this season, quarterback JP Kearney was unable to ever get into the flow of the game, often being forced into throwing interceptions. For some reason, Washington's presence in the backfield has helped make Kearney a better passer as the two-dimensional offensive strategy surprised a lot of Libery League teams this season.
You'll know they're playing poorly if: If St. Lawrence falls behind in the time of possession, they will be in trouble.  In all five losses, the Saints came up short in the time of possession category, including in their sole loss in the Liberty League (Nov. 6 at Rochester -- 26:44 to 33:16).  Game tempo control is necessary for St. Lawrence's comfort zone this year.
This season's turning point: Intercepting back-to-back passes with under 90 seconds left in the game to preserve a three-point lead and defeat Hobart 24-21.
Rushing/receiving yards per game: 125.3/139.3
Rushing/receiving yards allowed: 124.6/188.1
How far can they go? To Alliance and back.


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