/seasons/2011/contrib/20111105hk1fpv

Wabash Claims NCAC Title With Win Over Wittenberg

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12-66-238. Numbers seldom tell the story of any athletic contest and often trivialize meaningful results. Wabash dominated Wittenberg Saturday with physical defense and a punishing run attack for a 28-17 championship win. The Little Giants will be in the NCAA playoffs in two weeks and are the 2011 NCAC Conference Champions.

Those numbers play out to 12 rushing first downs, 66 carries, and 238 rushing yards.

"They're really good on defense, particularly in the secondary," Coach Erik Raeburn said. "We knew we'd have to run the football to have a chance. We ran a lot better in the first half than even I thought we could.

"But the defense was the big key. I've got tremendous respect for how good their quarterback and receivers are. To hold them to 10 points, with the screw-ups coming on our special teams for their last score, that was an impressive defensive performance by our guys."

The Little Giant defense was stellar against Witt quarterback Ben Zoeller holding him to 15-of-27 passing for 146 yards. They picked off one and sacked him four times. But the defense blitzed, blitzed and blitzed some more putting a body on Zoeller nearly every throw.

"Last year he torched us," Raeburn said. "But just like every quarterback, when you get hit every time it's hard to make accurate throws."

The rushing numbers were staggering. Wabash's 238 yards looked all the more glaring beside the Tigers' 10 net yards.

"Running the ball is always the key," said junior offensive lineman Weston Kitley. "If you can control the line of scrimmage, like everybody says, you can control the game. They're an all-around great team. Every year they're a great team. We knew we had to come out with a lot more intensity than we have the last 4-5 weeks. We came out ready to play. We had too many mental errors again today but they did a lot of confusing things. We just did a good job of picking most of it up."

Tyler Holmes had a career day with 111 yards on 19 rushes. Vann Hunt added 85 on 22 carries. Chase Belton had 88 yards on 20 carries.

The defense set the Little Giants up for their first score when C.J. Gum delivered a crushing blow to Zoeller that caused an errant pass picked off by freshman Cody Brush. Wabash kept the ball on the ground capped by Belton's one-yard plunge, 7-0. The Little Giants got their second score of the game on a five-rush-play drive capped by Belton's four-yard fun, 14-0.

On the next series the defense forced a three-and-out and Wabash was on the run again. Five rushing plays moved the ball to the Witt 21. Belton found a streaking Wes Chamblee crossing through the end zone for a 21-0 halftime edge.

Witt put two scores up in the third quarter on Corey Weber's five-yard run and Sean Williams' 42-yard field goal.

The Little Giants got their first wrapped around the NCAC championship trophy with seven minutes to play. The defense forced two incomplete passes then smothered Zoeller for a 12-yard sack. Trey LaValley had to punt from near his goal line. Kyle Najar flew in from a corner, blocked the punt which was picked up in the end zone by Hildebrand for a touchdown.

"I knew I had an edge on that right tackle I'd blocked before," Najar said. "I was setting him up because I was calling it out like I was blocking him. I just got past him and whacked it. I saw the ball bounced and Sean was there to pick it up. I knew I was going to block it for some reason."

Hildebrand knew he was in the right place at the right time. "We called an all-out punt block," he explained. "I was on outside contain and Kyle made a great play to get the block. It was a gift from God when the ball bounced right to me."

Witt picked up a late score with three minutes to play when a Little Giant snap sailed way over the head of the Wabash punter. The ball was picked up by Mike McKee and returned 25 yards to cap the scoring, 28-17.

Wabash wins the NCAC championship outright for the first time since 2008 and earns the league's automatic berth for the NCAA Championships. The unbeaten Little Giants 9-0 travel to DePauw Saturday for 118th battle for the Monon Bell. The Tigers are 4-4 after Saturday's win over Albion.

Wittenberg, 7-2, must face Wooster to close its season.

"To win a conference championship, we're going to the playoffs, those are all great things," Raeburn said. We'll enjoy it tonight and then we have to get ready for the Bell Game."

Oct. 20: All times Eastern
Final
at Johns Hopkins 52, Gettysburg 0
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Oct. 21: All times Eastern
Final
at Framingham State 29, Westfield State 14
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Final
Moravian 20, at Juniata 17
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at Salve Regina 41, Endicott 14
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at Thomas More 63, St. Vincent 13
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Final
at Union 28, Hobart 23
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Colby 26, at Hamilton 19
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at Christopher Newport 27, William Paterson 19
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at Ithaca 35, St. John Fisher 10
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at Allegheny 44, Kenyon 35
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SUNY-Maritime 21, at Mount Ida 13
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Middlebury 43, at Bates 14
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at Springfield 68, Catholic 20
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at Amherst 23, Wesleyan 19
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at Trinity (Conn.) 63, Bowdoin 14
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Husson 48, at Gallaudet 21
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Wabash 35, at Oberlin 21
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Final
at Utica 34, Buffalo State 12
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Ohio Northern 7, at Muskingum 6
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Final
at Frostburg State 62, Montclair State 3
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at Wesley 34, Rowan 3
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Final
at Stevenson 26, Albright 23
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Final
Wittenberg 52, at DePauw 6
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at Albion 31, Alma 28
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at Guilford 45, Shenandoah 20
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Final
Plymouth State 40, at Massachusetts Maritime 14
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Final
Wooster 58, at Hiram 25
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Washington and Lee 36, at Hampden-Sydney 6
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at Anna Maria 36, Alfred State 34
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Bridgewater 31, at Emory and Henry 23
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at FDU-Florham 49, Wilkes 31
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Final
Lebanon Valley 17, at Misericordia 0
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Final
at St. Lawrence 36, Rochester 14
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Final
RPI 30, at Alfred 15
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Final
at Curry 46, Nichols 16
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Final
at Salisbury 42, Southern Virginia 0
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2nd - 10:53
10 Ferrum
14 Brevard
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Final
Randolph-Macon 63, at Apprentice 14
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at Susquehanna 21, Ursinus 14
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Cortland 34, at Morrisville State 20
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at Trine 50, Hope 14
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Final
Trinity (Texas) 27, at Sewanee 21
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Wartburg 41, at Luther 16
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5:15, 4th Q
0 Dickinson
56 Franklin and Marshall
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End of 4th
21 Tufts
13 Williams
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Final
Mount Union 66, at Wilmington 7
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MIT 30, at Coast Guard 21
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Final
at Norwich 24, Maine Maritime 22
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at Marietta 44, Heidelberg 21
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Final
Franklin 29, at Rose-Hulman 22
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Final
John Carroll 48, at Capital 21
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Final
at Manchester 28, Bluffton 21
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Halftime
40 Mount St. Joseph
13 Anderson
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Halftime
3 UW-Whitewater
0 UW-River Falls
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2:00 PM
Kean at TCNJ
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4th - 03:02
10 Greensboro
59 LaGrange
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4th - 11:01
34 Mass-Dartmouth
31 Worcester State
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4th - 12:32
37 Muhlenberg
13 McDaniel
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Final
Western New England 45, at Becker 0
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4th - 09:23
14 Methodist
32 Maryville (Tenn.)
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4th - 14:46
21 Adrian
19 Kalamazoo
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2:00 PM
Denison at Ohio Wesleyan
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4th - 8:44
27 Westminster (Pa.)
27 Washington and Jefferson
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Halftime
23 Berry
14 Millsaps
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Start of 4th
30 Olivet
28 Benedictine
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4th - 06:01
28 Birmingham-Southern
24 Austin
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4th - 15:00
0 Belhaven
45 Mary Hardin-Baylor
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Q3 1:04
14 UW-Stevens Point
23 UW-Stout
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2:00 PM
Eureka at MacMurray
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4th - 3:00
10 Carthage
13 Illinois Wesleyan
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4th - 10:36
14 Nebraska Wesleyan
13 Buena Vista
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4th - 13:40
34 Lakeland
0 Wisconsin Lutheran
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4th - 10:58
14 Rockford
28 Aurora
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4th - 09:38
10 Concordia (Wis.)
37 Concordia-Chicago
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3rd Q - 5:40
20 Carleton
21 St. Olaf
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9:34 4th
17 Gustavus Adolphus
41 St. John's
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4th - 04:47
20 Augsburg
35 Concordia-Moorhead
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Halftime
57 St. Thomas
0 Hamline
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4th - 04:26
24 Westminster (Mo.)
7 Greenville
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2:00 PM
Coe at Loras
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2:00 PM
Monmouth at Cornell
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Halftime
28 Wheaton (Ill.)
0 North Park
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2:00 PM
Northwestern (Minn.) at Martin Luther
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4th - 15:00
26 Hardin-Simmons
23 Texas Lutheran
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4th - 06:20
6 Grinnell
70 Lake Forest
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2:00 PM
Carroll at Millikin
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2:00 PM
Ripon at Macalester
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11:05 - 4th
6 Lawrence
38 St. Norbert
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2:00 PM
St. Scholastica at Crown
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2:00 PM
Minnesota-Morris at Iowa Wesleyan
4th - 11:05
28 UW-Platteville
14 UW-Eau Claire
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Start of 4th
7 Merchant Marine
31 WPI
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2:30 PM
Rhodes at Centre
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3rd - 07:45
35 Hanover
0 Earlham
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3rd - 04:31
6 Beloit
49 Chicago
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3:00 PM
UW-Oshkosh at UW-La Crosse
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3:00 PM
Simpson at Dubuque
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Half
0 Augustana
34 North Central (Ill.)
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3:00 PM
East Texas Baptist at Louisiana College
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4:00 PM
Hartwick at Brockport
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1st - 09:05
0 Western Connecticut
7 Bridgewater State
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0 Chapman
7 La Verne
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1st Quarter
7 Pacific
0 Lewis and Clark
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1st - 04:59
7 Pacific Lutheran
0 Willamette
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6:14 1st
0 Puget Sound
7 Whitworth
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1st - 05:41
6 Redlands
0 Claremont-Mudd-Scripps
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4:30 PM
George Fox at Linfield
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5:00 PM
Sul Ross State at Howard Payne
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6:00 PM
Dean at Castleton
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6:00 PM
N.C. Wesleyan at Averett
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7:00 PM
Baldwin Wallace at Otterbein
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7:00 PM
Case Western Reserve at Geneva
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7:00 PM
Carnegie Mellon at Thiel
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7:00 PM
Knox at Illinois College
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10:00 PM
Whittier at Cal Lutheran
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Cancelled
Occidental at Pomona-Pitzer
Oct. 20: All times Eastern
Final
at Johns Hopkins 52, Gettysburg 0
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Oct. 21: All times Eastern
Final
at Wesley 34, Rowan 3
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Final
at Frostburg State 62, Montclair State 3
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Final
Wittenberg 52, at DePauw 6
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Final
at Springfield 68, Catholic 20
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Final
Wartburg 41, at Luther 16
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Final
Mount Union 66, at Wilmington 7
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Final
at Marietta 44, Heidelberg 21
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4th - 8:44
27 Westminster (Pa.)
27 Washington and Jefferson
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4th - 15:00
26 Hardin-Simmons
23 Texas Lutheran
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4th - 15:00
0 Belhaven
45 Mary Hardin-Baylor
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Halftime
57 St. Thomas
0 Hamline
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9:34 4th
17 Gustavus Adolphus
41 St. John's
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4th - 3:00
10 Carthage
13 Illinois Wesleyan
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4th - 06:38
20 Augsburg
35 Concordia-Moorhead
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Halftime
23 Berry
14 Millsaps
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4th - 11:05
28 UW-Platteville
14 UW-Eau Claire
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3:00 PM
UW-Oshkosh at UW-La Crosse
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Half
0 Augustana
34 North Central (Ill.)
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4:00 PM
Hartwick at Brockport
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4:30 PM
George Fox at Linfield
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7:00 PM
Case Western Reserve at Geneva
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