2011 playoffs: Mary Hardin-Baylor bracket

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Mary Hardin-Baylor Crusaders
Seed: No. 1, Mary Hardin-Baylor bracket
Last Top 25 ranking: No. 4, Week 11 2011
Location: Belton, TX
Enrollment (full-time undergrads): 2202
Stadium: Belton HS (8000)
Playing surface: Turf
Conference: ASC
Preseason ranking from Kickoff:
Head coach: Pete Fredenburg (Southwest Texas State)
Career record: 131-32 (.804)
Base offense: Multiple option
Base defense: 4-3
Record in NCAA playoffs: 16-9 (2001-02, 2004-10)
NCAA D-III championships: None
D3football.com team page: Schedule and results, more news
How they got here: Pool A, ASC champ
You'll know they're playing well if: They're ballhawking in the secondary. UMHB has only picked off one pass in the last four games but that's more on the quality of opponent than anything else. And the run game -- this is Mary Hardin-Baylor, you know the deal.  They ran for 200 yards or more in every game.
You'll know they're playing poorly if: They're throwing too often. UMHB has had some good games throwing the ball but has thrown it away as well. After averaging 24 pass attempts in the first four contests and getting 10 passes picked off, the Cru has thrown 15 passes per game over the final six and thrown just two picks.
This season's turning point: Intercepting the two-point conversion pass of McMurry's Jake Mullin in the ASC opener, allowing the Cru to hold on against the War Hawks' furious post-lightning comeback.
Rushing/passing yards per game: 299.3/165.4
Rushing/passing yards allowed: 110.9/194.6
How far can they go? This isn't an easy bracket, but the Cru can win it.


Wesley Wolverines
Seed: Likely No. 2, Mary Hardin-Baylor bracket
Last Top 25 ranking: No. 7, Week 11 2011
Location: Dover, DE
Enrollment (full-time undergrads): 1812
Stadium: Scott D. Miller Stadium (2500)
Playing surface: Turf
Conference: IND
Preseason ranking from Kickoff:
Head coach: Mike Drass (Mansfield '82)
Career record: 164-46-1 (.780)
Base offense: Multiple pro
Base defense: 4-3
Record in NCAA playoffs: 15-7 (2000, 2005-10)
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: Quarterback Shane McSweeny, the team's second leading rusher, is scrambling and looking for contact in the opposing team's secondary and they're being appropriately aggressive on defense.
You'll know they're playing poorly if: The opposing team is able to run the ball. This season, teams have gained less than 2.3 yards per carry against Wesley, forcing passing situations in which the defense can create havoc. Also if personal fouls are an issue.
This season's turning point: Offensive coordinator Chip Knapp's son Ben, having a serious health issue on an overnight trip to Walsh Oct. 22. Since then, Wesley's players have matured and played with a sense of purpose, and the entire program seems both galvanized and inspired.
Rushing/passing yards per game: 207.8/186.6
Rushing/passing yards allowed: 74.0/163.5
How far can they go? To Round 2 or to Salem. In a loaded bracket, perhaps the wild card of the entire field.


Linfield Wildcats
Seed: Likely No. 3, Mary Hardin-Baylor bracket
Last Top 25 ranking: No. 5, Week 11 2011
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: 48-12 (.800)
Base offense: Spread
Base defense: 4-2
Record in NCAA playoffs: 13-6 (2000, 2002-05, 2009-10)
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: Mickey Inns is playing like a prototypical Linfield quarterback and there's enough run game, and run defense, to make it stand up.
You'll know they're playing poorly if: They put the ball on the turf, commit big-yardage penalties and otherwise can't get the defense off the field.
This season's turning point: Pick an extra point -- the three that Linfield blocked of the four Whitworth misses in Linfield's 42-38 victory in Week 10.
Rushing/receiving yards per game: 146.1/294.0
Rushing/receiving yards allowed: 92.1/193.2
How far can they go? It's not the ideal road, but there could be a semifinal trip. But each step of the way is a toss-up, including the opener.

 

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.


Trinity (Texas) Tigers
Seed: Likely No. 4, Mary Hardin-Baylor bracket
Last Top 25 ranking: No. 15, Week 11 2011
Location: San Antonio, TX
Enrollment (full-time undergrads): 2439
Stadium: E.M. Stevens Field (3500)
Playing surface: Grass
Conference: SCAC
Preseason ranking from Kickoff:
Head coach: Steve Mohr (Denison '76)
Career record: 174-65 (.728)
Base offense: Mutiple
Base defense: 3-4
Record in NCAA playoffs: 12-11 (1994, 1997-2005, 2007)
NCAA D-III championships: None
D3football.com team page: Schedule and results, more news
How they got here: Pool A, SCAC champ
You'll know they're playing well if: The secondary is forcing turnovers. Led by senior defensive back Tyler Barrett, the Tigers are plus-13 in turnovers thanks to a hefty interception ratio. That same secondary also finished the season with the SCAC’s best pass defense at 133 yards per game.
You'll know they're playing poorly if: Trinity is sluggish in scoring in the first and third quarters. The Tigers are at their best at these points in the game, so far outscoring opponents 143-27 in these quarters. However, if they’re not gaining momentum at these points in the game, it has often translated into duller play in the latter part of the half and closer-than-expected games.
This season's turning point: The offseason, in which they were able to put the first losing season in nearly two decades behind them. It took effort to refocus the team and emerge through the 2011 regular season undefeated.
Rushing/passing yards per game: 167.5/154.3
Rushing/passing yards allowed: 108.9/133.2
How far can they go? Through the first round of the Texas subbracket and into the clutches of Mary Hardin-Baylor.


McMurry War Hawks
Seed: Likely No. 5, Mary Hardin-Baylor bracket
Last Top 25 ranking: No. 19, Week 11 2011
Location: Abilene, TX
Enrollment (full-time undergrads): 1205
Stadium: Wilford Moore Stadium (3500)
Playing surface: Turf
Conference: ASC
Preseason ranking from Kickoff:
Head coach: Hal Mumme (Tarleton State '74)
Career record: 126-114 (.525), 18-12 at McMurry
Base offense: Air Raid
Base defense: 3-3-5
Record in NCAA playoffs: First appearance
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: Jake Mullin has time to throw and find his multiple targets. Unfortunately, Mullin was on crutches at the end of the game in Week 11 against Mississippi College. His backup has thrown four interceptions in 60 attempts. The defense gets takeaways that McMurry can convert into points.
You'll know they're playing poorly if: They have to settle for shorter routes because the pass protection isn't there and they end up with more sacks than 20-yard gains. Opposing defenses bend, rather than break.
This season's turning point: Lightning strikes with 8:41 left in the first half and McMurry trailing 21-6 at Mary Hardin-Baylor. After nearly an hour-long break, the War Hawks rally to come within a two-point conversion attempt of taking the lead.
Rushing/passing yards per game: 101.8/369.8
Rushing/passing yards allowed: 153.3/211.1
How far can they go? They have a chance to get out of Texas, if Mullin is healthy.


Cal Lutheran Kingsmen
Seed: No. 6, Mary Hardin-Baylor bracket
Last Top 25 ranking: No. 8, Week 11 2011
Location: Thousand Oaks, CA
Enrollment (full-time undergrads): 2001
Stadium: William Roland Stadium (4000)
Playing surface: Turf
Conference: SCIAC
Preseason ranking from Kickoff:
Head coach: Ben McEnroe (Cal Lutheran '92)
Career record: 35-11 (.761)
Base offense: Multiple
Base defense: 3-3-5
Record in NCAA playoffs: 0-2 (2009-10)
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: They run the ball twice as often as they throw it, and after establishing the run, they get wide receiver Eric Rogers the ball in the open field.
You'll know they're playing poorly if: They can't hold opposing run games in check. Linfield (256), Redlands (241) and Chapman (219) ran for over 200 yards on the Kingsmen and scored the most points anyone did on Cal Lu all season.
This season's turning point: Coming out of the locker room for the second half against Redlands, scoring 28 unanswered points to defeat the Bulldogs 28-24.
Rushing/passing yards per game: 260.7/227.8
Rushing/passing yards allowed: 130.4/161.7
How far can they go? If the team that has played the last nine weeks is the one that comes to play, they have a shot at the regional final. But Linfield is the place where the SCIAC goes to die.


Hobart Statesmen
Seed: Likely No. 7, Mary Hardin-Baylor bracket
Last Top 25 ranking: No. 24, Week 9 2011
Location: Geneva, NY
Enrollment (full-time undergrads): 2050
Stadium: Boswell Field (4500)
Playing surface: Turf
Conference: LL
Preseason ranking from Kickoff:
Head coach: Michael Cragg (Slippery Rock '83)
Career record: 108-49 (.688)
Base offense: Spread
Base defense: Multiple
Record in NCAA playoffs: 4-7 (2000, 2002, 2004-08)
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: Junior QB Nick Strang plays and is hitting his targets with consistency. Strang threw 11 touchdowns and just four interceptions in the first five games, which Hobart won by an average of 26 points. In the final three games, Strang threw four touchdowns and five interceptions and Hobart outscored opponents by an average of nine. This assumes Strang plays, as he suffered a concussion in the final game of the season at Rochester.
You'll know they're playing poorly if: The defense gives up points, especially in the secondary. Sophomore linebacker Devin Worthington and freshman defensive end Tyre Coleman have been simply stellar this year. Hobart's given up over 20 points in just two games this season -- one of which was a 29-28 loss to RPI. RPI threw for 299 yards and three touchdowns in the win, perhaps avoiding the front seven altogether.
This season's turning point: In their second game of the season, Hobart went from marginal favorite in the Liberty League race to expected champion following a 36-point win against a vaunted St. John Fisher team.
Rushing/passing yards per game: 210.6/192.4
Rushing/passing yards allowed: 109.5/149.9
How far can they go? Home for the holidays. Hobart is banged up on offense and struggling on special teams. Even if Strang can play, receivers Junior Woodard and Garth Muratori are not at 100 percent and Yosh Karbowniczak has an ankle injury. Don't book that west-coast trip yet.


Redlands Bulldogs
Seed: Likely No. 8, Mary Hardin-Baylor bracket
Last Top 25 ranking: No. 14, Week 11 2011
Location: Redlands, CA
Enrollment (full-time undergrads): 2786
Stadium: Ted Runner Stadium (6750)
Playing surface: Grass
Conference: SCIAC
Preseason ranking from Kickoff:
Head coach: Mike Maynard (Illinois Wesleyan '80)
Career record: 151-68 (.689)
Base offense: Spread
Base defense: 3-3-5
Record in NCAA playoffs: 0-5 (1990, 1992, 2002-03, 2007)
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: They throw under 30 times per game and can also control the opponent's passing game. More than half of the Bulldogs' opponents threw for more than 300 yards.
You'll know they're playing poorly if: Just take quarterback Chad Hurst as an example -- he was a respectable 8-for-17 for 97 yards in the first half as Redlands built up its halftime lead at Cal Lutheran, then 4-for-13 for 36 yards in the second half with an interception.
This season's turning point: Any of several nail-biters down the stretch, each of which Redlands survived after coughing up a 24-point halftime lead at Cal Lutheran.
Rushing/passing yards per game: 211.1/212.8
Rushing/passing yards allowed: 117.6/272.3
How far can they go? This is a one-and-out situation. Teams that struggle to put away Claremont, Occidental, La Verne and Chapman don't win on the road in the playoffs.


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