2010 NCAA Playoffs: St. Thomas Bracket

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St. Thomas Tommies
Seed: No. 1, St. Thomas bracket
Last Top 25 ranking: No. 4, Week 11 2010
Location: St. Paul, MN
Enrollment (full-time undergrads): 5780
Stadium: O'Shaughnessy Stadium (6000)
Playing surface: New-style turf
Conference: MIAC
Preseason ranking from Kickoff:
Head coach: Glenn Caruso (Ithaca '96)
Career record: 34-17, 28-5 at St. Thomas
Base offense: Multiple one-back
Base defense: 3-4
Record in NCAA playoffs: 3-2 (1990, 2009)
NCAA D-III championships: None
D3football.com team page: Schedule and results, more news
How they got here: Pool A, MIAC champs
You'll know they're playing well if: Multiple receivers get the ball on offense and the defense bottles up the run.
You'll know they're playing poorly if: Ben Wartman can't stay in the game long enough to get the carries he needs to wear down the opposition.
This season's turning point: St. John's PAT hits the upright in overtime, giving St. Thomas its first win against its archrival in more than a decade.
Rushing/receiving yards per game: 206.6/205.5
Rushing/receiving yards allowed: 111.6/138.0
How far can they go? Wide range of possibilities, from a second-round exit to a Stagg Bowl loss.


Wheaton (Ill.) Thunder
Seed: No. 2, St. Thomas bracket
Last Top 25 ranking: No. 15, Week 11 2010
Location: Wheaton, IL
Enrollment (full-time undergrads): 2282
Stadium: McCully FIeld (5000)
Playing surface: Turf
Conference: CCIW
Preseason ranking from Kickoff:
Head coach: Mike Swider (Wheaton '77)
Career record: 123-36 (.774)
Base offense: Multiple
Base defense: 3-4
Record in NCAA playoffs: 9-6 (1995, 2002-04, 2006, 2008)
NCAA D-III championships: None
D3football.com team page: Schedule and results, more news
How they got here: Pool C
You'll know they're playing well if: Their defense is generating turnovers and getting pressure on the quarterback, the offensive attack is balanced and they have their usual stellar special teams play. 
You'll know they're playing poorly if: If the rushing attack is significantly slowed down and they are settling for field goals instead of touchdowns in the red zone. Wheaton has 54 visits to the red zone, but 20 times they have settled for field goal attempts.  In the loss to North Central, three red zone visits, no touchdowns, two field goal.
This season's turning point: Trailing Augustana 14-9 at the end of the third quarter, the Thunder outscored Augustana 11-0 in the fourth, including a stop of Augustana on four downs within the Wheaton 5 with under a minute in the game.
Rushing/receiving yards per game: 203.7/202.6
Rushing/receiving yards allowed: 99.5/194.5
How far can they go? If Jordan Roberts is healthy, there could be an East-West final between two North Region teams. But this is likely the year in which Wheaton's streak of wins against everyone but Mount Union comes to an end.


Wartburg Knights
Seed: No. 3, St. Thomas bracket
Last Top 25 ranking: No. 11, Week 11 2010
Location: Waverly, IA
Enrollment (full-time undergrads): 1729
Stadium: Walston-Hoover Stadium (4800)
Playing surface: Turf
Conference: IIAC
Preseason ranking from Kickoff:
Head coach: Rick Willis (Cornell '88)
Career record: 104-25 (.806)
Base offense: Pro style
Base defense: 4-3
Record in NCAA playoffs: 5-8 (1982, 1993-94, 1999, 2002-04, 2008)
NCAA D-III championships: None
D3football.com team page: Schedule and results, more news
How they got here: Pool A, IIAC champ
You'll know they're playing well if: They're balanced on offense. The Knights have been balanced down to the yard -- one more kneel-down might have done it -- under a quarterback in his first year at Wartburg. His passing lines from game to game are fairly interchangeable, around 14-for-23 for 190 yards. Not superstar numbers but enough to give his defense room to work.
You'll know they're playing poorly if: The opposing offense gets yards in big chunks and the game gets into a shootout.
This season's turning point: Back-to-back 70-yard drives gave Wartburg a two-touchdown lead at the half and the Knights went on to beat Coe 31-21.
Rushing/receiving yards per game: 190.9/190.8
Rushing/receiving yards allowed: 108.4/182.7
How far can they go? The bottom half of that bracket is anyone's game. But in a battle of defenses, it might be a fluke score that turns the game in the first round.


Cal Lutheran Kingsmen
Seed: No. 4, St. Thomas bracket
Last Top 25 ranking: No. 16, Week 11 2010
Location: Thousand Oaks, CA
Enrollment (full-time undergrads): 2001
Stadium: Mt. Clef Stadium (2300)
Playing surface: Grass
Conference: SCIAC
Preseason ranking from Kickoff:
Head coach: Ben McEnroe (Cal Lutheran '92)
Career record: 29-9 (.763)
Base offense: Multiple pro
Base defense: 3-3-5
Record in NCAA playoffs: 0-1 (2009)
NCAA D-III championships: None
D3football.com team page: Schedule and results, more news
How they got here: Pool A, SCIAC champ
You'll know they're playing well if: Deme'Treck Chambers averages more than 5 yards per carry, double-digit tackles for loss are in sight and Josh Oosterhof is helping win the battle of field position with booming punts.
You'll know they're playing poorly if: They turn the ball over more than twice (five times in the loss to Pacific Lutheran, two or fewer in every other game) and there's a crooked number leading off the opponent's score.
This season's turning point: That fateful halftime against Linfield, after which Daniel Mosier had 194 rushing yards to outscore the Wildcats 33-14.
Rushing/receiving yards per game: 175.2/196.2
Rushing/receiving yards allowed: 115.1/167.9
How far can they go? This is all set up for a one-and-out. Without Mosier's 202 rushing yards, the Kingsmen wouldn't have won the first meeting, and they won't win the Linfield rematch.


Linfield Wildcats
Seed: No. 5, St. Thomas bracket
Last Top 25 ranking: No. 8, Week 11 2010
Location: McMinnville, OR
Enrollment (full-time undergrads): 1659
Stadium: Maxwell Field (2250)
Playing surface: Turf
Conference: NWC
Preseason ranking from Kickoff:
Head coach: Joe Smith (Linfield '93)
Career record: 38-11 (.776)
Base offense: Spread
Base defense: 4-2
Record in NCAA playoffs: 12-5 (2000, 2002-05, 2009)
NCAA D-III championships: 2004
D3football.com team page: Schedule and results, more news
How they got here: Pool A, NWC champ
You'll know they're playing well if: Sack machine Eric Hedin is spending more time in the opponent’s backfield than the starting halfback. Quarterback Aaron Boehme is slicing and dicing for big yards with his legs and arm.
You'll know they're playing poorly if: The offense can’t sustain drives and forcing the defense back on the field or the special teams are making silly mistakes.
This season's turning point: The Wildcats blocked a potential game-tying extra point attempt by Pacific Lutheran, then drove 75 yards for a touchdown to take an eight-point lead in a game Linfield went on to win 35-20.
Rushing/receiving yards per game: 200.7/269.1
Rushing/receiving yards allowed: 79.1/178.1
How far can they go? At least as far as last season.

 

Sack machine Eric Hedin is spending more time in the opponent’s backfield than the starting halfback. QB Aaron Boehme is slicing and dicing for big yards with his legs and arm.


Bethel Royals
Seed: No. 6, St. Thomas bracket
Last Top 25 ranking: No. 16, Week 11 2010
Location: Arden Hills, MN
Enrollment (full-time undergrads): 2699
Stadium: Royal Stadium (3500)
Playing surface: Grass
Conference: MIAC
Preseason ranking from Kickoff:
Head coach: Steve Johnson (Bethel '79)
Career record: 163-70-2 (.698)
Base offense: Multiple pro
Base defense: 4-3
Record in NCAA playoffs: 3-5 (2000-01, 2003, 2006-07)
NCAA D-III championships: None
D3football.com team page: Schedule and results, more news
How they got here: Pool C
You'll know they're playing well if: Logan Flannery not only gets his yards, he gets in the end zone. Freshman Mitch Hallstrom catches at least five passes.
You'll know they're playing poorly if: They need a broken play, a gadget play or a defensive score to put points on the board.
This season's turning point: A week after struggling at St. Olaf, Bethel came out and put the first 17 points on the board and went on to beat St. John's 17-14.
Rushing/receiving yards per game: 254.3/132.7
Rushing/receiving yards allowed: 56.4/162.7
How far can they go? The defense will be there, but Bethel needs to score somehow.


Coe Kohawks
Seed: No. 7, St. Thomas bracket
Last Top 25 ranking: No. 13, Week 11 2010
Location: Cedar Rapids, IA
Enrollment (full-time undergrads): 1249
Stadium: Clark (1200)
Playing surface: Turf
Conference: IIAC
Preseason ranking from Kickoff:
Head coach: Steve Staker (Upper Iowa '68)
Career record: 22-9 (.710)
Base offense: Spread
Base defense: 4-3
Record in NCAA playoffs: 2-6 (1985, 1991, 1993, 2002, 2005, 2009)
NCAA D-III championships: None
D3football.com team page: Schedule and results, more news
How they got here: Pool C
You'll know they're playing well if: Brad Boyle does what he does. He continues to be an efficient signal-caller and while his interception total skyrocketed this year, it was only going from one to five. The Kohawks have put together some long drives, eating clock and keeping the defense off the field.
You'll know they're playing poorly if: The opponent is able to do something with the passing game. Coe has given up 400 yards of total offense four times this season, but only six times have opponents completed half their passes or more. Because of injuries, the defense is inexperienced at most positions.
This season's turning point: Seeing their name on Selection Sunday. No at-large team had a lower seed.
Rushing/receiving yards per game: 186.7/282.7
Rushing/receiving yards allowed: 121.6/216.3
How far can they go? Don't let the NCAA's seeding fool you. This is no 2-7 game. Wheaton is the lower-ranked team in the opening round game but has the home field for what should be a great battle.


Benedictine Eagles
Seed: No. 8, St. Thomas bracket
Last Top 25 ranking: Never ranked
Location: Lisle, IL
Enrollment (full-time undergrads): 2520
Stadium: The Sports Complex (3031)
Playing surface: Turf
Conference: NATHC
Preseason ranking from Kickoff:
Head coach: Jon Cooper (North Park '72)
Career record: 30-30 (.500)
Base offense: Pro style
Base defense: 4-3, Cover 2
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, NATHC champ
You'll know they're playing well if: It's hard to tell whether the surge down the stretch is a sign of improvement or of playing Rockford and Maranatha Baptist in two of the final four games.
You'll know they're playing poorly if: They give up long scoring plays and can't get more than 3 yards a pop on the ground.
This season's turning point: Getting the last score of a 33-point fourth quarter to beat Concordia (Ill.) 47-41. The first conference win was a clean break from a non-conference schedule which featured back-to-back losses to North Park and Kalamazoo.
Rushing/receiving yards per game: 161.2/245.3
Rushing/receiving yards allowed: 129.4/151.9
How far can they go? To St. Paul and back. Stop at the Norske Nook in Osseo. Wis., to get a pie.


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