2011 playoffs: UW-Whitewater bracket

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UW-Whitewater Warhawks
Seed: No. 1, UW-Whitewater bracket
Last Top 25 ranking: No. 1, Week 11 2011
Location: Whitewater, WI
Enrollment: 8857
Stadium: Perkins Stadium (13500)
Playing surface: Turf
Conference: WIAC
Preseason ranking from Kickoff:
Head coach: Lance Leipold (UW-Whitewater '87)
Career record: 67-3 (.957)
Base offense: Multiple pro
Base defense: 4-3
Record in NCAA playoffs: 28-6 (1988, 1990, 1997, 2005-10)
Championships: 2007, 2009, 2010
D3football.com team page: Schedule and results, more news
How they got here: Pool A, WIAC champ
You'll know they're playing well if: Levell Coppage and Matt Blanchard's ability to run the ball occupies defenses enough that the Warhawks don't need to throw for 300 yards.
You'll know they're playing poorly if: The secondary needs Noah Timm to save it with an interception (three of his five came in Weeks 9-11).
This season's turning point: Surviving the fourth-quarter scare at UW-Oshkosh. It hasn't been an overly dominant season for the Warhawks, but the key pieces on offense are healthy, at least.
Rushing/passing yards per game: 228.9/222.3
Rushing/passing yards allowed: 82.9/176.5
How far can they go? Same place as always.
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Salisbury Sea Gulls
Seed: Likely No. 2, UW-Whitewater bracket
Last Top 25 ranking: No. 10, Week 11, 2008
Location: Salisbury, MD
Enrollment: 6657
Stadium: Sea Gull Stadium (2500)
Playing surface: Turf
Conference: E8
Preseason ranking from Kickoff:
Head coach: Sherman Wood (Salisbury State '84)
Career record: 113-82-1 (.579), 90-44 at Salisbury
Base offense: Triple option
Base defense: 3-4
Record in NCAA playoffs: 5-7 (1983, 1985-86, 2002, 2004, 2007, 2010)
Championships: None
D3football.com team page: Schedule and results, more news
How they got here: Pool A, Empire 8
You'll know they're playing well if: They're near their season average of 6.6 yards per carry, which also helps the defense by controlling the clock.
You'll know they're playing poorly if: If quarterback Dan Griffin isn't able to mix in the occasional completed pass.
This season's turning point: Bouncing back from their only loss, 23-14 at Wesley, and taking a 35-7 lead en route to a 41-21 win against St. John Fisher.
Rushing/passing yards per game: 342.8/112.8
Rushing/passing yards allowed: 121.0/154.9
How far can they go? They can triple-option all the way to Wisconsin.
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Kean Cougars
Seed: Likely No. 3, UW-Whitewater bracket
Last Top 25 ranking: No. 12, Week 11 2011
Location: Union, NJ
Enrollment: 8475
Stadium: Alumni Stadium (5000)
Playing surface: Turf
Conference: NJAC
Preseason ranking from Kickoff:
Head coach: Dan Garrett (Montclair State '97)
Career record: 42-21 (.667)
Base offense: Spread
Base defense: 3-4
Record in NCAA playoffs: First appearance
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: The defense and special teams sets the offense up with a short field or scores on their own. The Cougars blocked nine kicks this year, including two punts against Wesley. Will Evans’ kick return for a score was the difference in Kean’s win over Cortland State.
You'll know they're playing poorly if: The Cougars can’t establish the run and rely too much on quarterback Tom D’Ambrisi. Kean’s worst offensive performances have been those in which it ran for less than 100 yards. D’Ambrisi is a solid quarterback, but the key to the Cougars’ offense is balance. No individual ball carrier or receiver has eye popping numbers. And you aren’t balanced if you can’t run the ball.
This season's turning point: A five minute span in the second quarter of Kean’s win over Montclair State in which the Cougars turned two interceptions into 10 points.  Kean forced seven turnovers and held off the Red Hawks 27-14 in the regular season finale to clinch the NJAC title and the automatic bid.
Rushing/passing yards per game: 144.1/173.0
Rushing/passing yards allowed: 140.1/196.1
How far can they go? The Cougars’ close wins over Wesley, Montclair State and Cortland State show that this team thrives in tight games. They can reach the national quarterfinals if they can slow down Salisbury in the second round.
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Franklin Grizzlies
Seed: Likely No. 4, UW-Whitewater bracket
Last Top 25 ranking: No. 17, Week 11 2011
Location: Franklin, IN
Enrollment: 1018
Stadium: Faught Stadium (2500)
Playing surface: Turf
Conference: HCAC
Preseason ranking from Kickoff:
Head coach: Mike Leonard (Hanover '84)
Career record: 66-29 (.695)
Base offense: Run and shoot
Base defense: 3-4
Record in NCAA playoffs: 2-3 (2007-08, 2010)
Championships: None
D3football.com team page: Schedule and results, more news
How they got here: Pool A, HCAC champ
You'll know they're playing well if: They score but also take some time off the clock to get the defense some rest. Franklin can string a bunch of plays together in a drive but doesn't always run a lot of clock in the process.
You'll know they're playing poorly if: They can't stop the run and therefore can't get the defense off the field.
This season's turning point: Stopping Manchester on fourth down in Franklin territory in the fourth quarter of a six-point game in Week 7, then going 69 yards in 12 plays over five minutes to put the game away.
Rushing/receiving yards per game: 163.2/322.9
Rushing/receiving yards allowed: 142.8/216.5
How far can they go? Well, they know what the road looks like. And UW-Whitewater gets a return game.
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Thomas More Saints
Seed: Likely No. 5, UW-Whitewater bracket
Last Top 25 ranking: No. 20, Week 11 2011
Location: Crestview Hills, KY
Enrollment: 1298
Stadium: Bank of Kentucky Field (3000)
Playing surface: Turf
Conference: PAC
Preseason ranking from Kickoff:
Head coach: Jim Hilvert (St. Joseph's, Ind.)
Career record: 43-12 (.781)
Base offense: Spread
Base defense: 4-4
Record in NCAA playoffs: 3-5 (1992, 2001, 2008-10)
Championships: None
D3football.com team page: Schedule and results, more news
How they got here: Pool A, PAC champ
You'll know they're playing well if: They can run the ball consistently and get a spark out of their passing game, which stagnated over the last half of the regular season.
You'll know they're playing poorly if: The defense can't shut drives down on third down. During a five-game stretch late in the season, Thomas More's opponents held the ball for an average of nearly 35 minutes.
This season's turning point: The change at quarterback against Mount St. Joseph. Freshman Luke Magness came in to start the second quarter and looked like a classic Thomas More quarterback the rest of the way, running for 124 yards and passing for 118. Franklin will be a step up, however, and after that ...
Rushing/passing yards per game: 206.1/185.7
Rushing/passing yards allowed: 113.5/215.1
How far can they go? Second round is the limit, of course, but two weeks ago we might have said one and out.
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Christopher Newport Captains
Seed: Likely No. 6, UW-Whitewater bracket
Last Top 25 ranking: No. 20, preseason 2010
Location: Newport News, VA
Enrollment: 4583
Stadium: Pomoco Stadium (4200)
Playing surface: Grass
Conference: USAC
Preseason ranking from Kickoff:
Head coach: Matt Kelchner (Susquehanna '82)
Career record: 76-39 (.661)
Base offense: Multiple
Base defense: 4-3
Record in NCAA playoffs: 2-7 (2001-04, 2006, 2008, 2010)
Championships: None
D3football.com team page: Schedule and results, more news
How they got here: Pool A, USAC champ
You'll know they're playing well if: Evan Moog is getting a lot of carries. The backup-turned-starter had three touchdowns against N.C. Wesleyan and netted 140 yards against Ferrum. Good things happen when he touches the rock.
You'll know they're playing poorly if: The team comes out flat in the fourth quarter. The Captains have been outscored nearly 2-1 in the final period, and that cost them the game against Salisbury and gave them a scare against teams like Shenandoah and Greensboro.
This season's turning point: The games against Methodist and Greensboro, during which CNU had to replace an injured quarterback. The team may not have any All-Americans, but it does have depth. Aaron Edwards began the season at third-string under center but has shown capable of leading the team in wins these final two weeks of the season while throwing for 537 yards and seven touchdowns.
Rushing/passing yards per game: 213.5/196.5
Rushing/passing yards allowed: 143.9/186.3
How far can they go? Likely one and out. CNU might be playing its best ball of the season right now, but Kean is riding high off a win against ranked Montclair State and has a victory earlier in the season against Wesley.
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Western New England Golden Bears
Seed: Likely No. 7, UW-Whitewater bracket
Last Top 25 ranking: Never ranked
Location: Springfield, MA
Enrollment: 2497
Stadium: Golden Bear Stadium (1500)
Playing surface: Turf
Conference: NEFC Boyd
Preseason ranking from Kickoff:
Head coach: Keith Emery (Dickinson '94)
Career record: 26-32
Base offense: Multiple
Base defense: 4-4
Record in NCAA playoffs: First appearance
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: Throwing is a choice, rather than a necessity. Western New England proved it could throw in any weather, and has thrown more of late, but would seem to prefer to run.
You'll know they're playing poorly if: Return specialist Mike Graham is the only bright spot when they have the ball. Bryce Brown is unavailable to run the offense.
This season's turning point: Coming back from a 13-0 deficit with under four minutes remaining to force overtime and go on to defeat Framingham State in the NEFC title game.
Rushing/passing yards per game: 205.4/135.7
Rushing/passing yards allowed: 102.0/145.0
How far can they go? It's going to be a long drive to learn that Salisbury's triple option is not really like Springfield's.
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Albion Britons
Seed: Likely No. 8, UW-Whitewater bracket
Last Top 25 ranking: Never ranked
Location: Albion, MI
Enrollment: 1940
Stadium: Sprankle-Sprandel Stadium (4244)
Playing surface: Turf
Conference: MIAA
Preseason ranking from Kickoff:
Head coach: Craig Rundle (Albion '74)
Career record: 86-63 (.577), 143-109-1 overall
Base offense: Pro I
Base defense: 4-2-5
Record in NCAA playoffs: 5-7 (1977, 1985, 1991, 1993-94, 1996, 1998, 2005)
Championships: 1994
D3football.com team page: Schedule and results, more news
How they got here: Pool A, MIAA champ
You'll know they're playing well if: Clinton Orr is the man on the ground and everything else on offense is just gravy. On defense, they allow the underneath routes but cover well on medium and long pass plays.
You'll know they're playing poorly if: They move the ball but settle for field goals, or missed field goals.
This season's turning point: It needs to be yet to come if the Britons are to be successful in this year's playoffs.
Rushing/passing yards per game: 138.2/226.3
Rushing/passing yards allowed: 101.0/199.9
How far can they go? One and out.
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Anna Maria at Worcester State
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Endicott at Framingham State
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Dec. 20: All times Eastern
Final
at UW-Whitewater 52, Mount Union 14
@ Salem Stadium; Salem, Va.
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Dec. 14: All times Eastern
Final
UW-Whitewater 16, at Mary Hardin-Baylor 15
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Final
at Mount Union 41, North Central (Ill.) 40
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