/seasons/2013/contrib/20131219ffr5iz

2013 Juniata College Football Season-in-Review

More news about: Juniata

By: Jennifer Jones
Director of Sports Information
jonesj@juniata.edu • juniatasports.net

HUNTINGDON, Pa. – This year marked the 40th anniversary of the 1973 Juniata football team playing for the first ever NCAA Division III National Championship and the 2013 Eagles used this year to make their own historic run.  After going 0-10 three years ago, Juniata finished at 7-4 overall, 6-3 in the Centennial Conference, posting the programs highest win total since 1990, and the most conference wins since 1999. 

 

"We talked in the spring leading up to this season about how important that every one be all in," said third year head coach Tim Launtz.  "And we talked about would you be willing to risk everything and bet everything in regards to being a member of this football team and our players really bought in.  They care about one another."

 

They reaped the rewards of their hard work by earning the program's first postseason appearance since 1973, receiving numerous individual accolades and even getting votes in the National Football Coaches Association (NFCA) poll.  Launtz was named Centennial Conference Coach of the Year and eight Eagles earned all-conference honors with senior Brandon Felus (Columbia, Pa./Columbia) taking the defensive player of the year award.

 

Collective Success
In just his third season at the helm, Launtz led Juniata to its second biggest turnaround in program history.  His 11 wins make him the eighth head coach in Juniata history to post over 10 wins in their first three seasons and the first since 1998.  The Eagles were pegged to finish seventh in the Centennial in the preseason poll and Juniata did their best to shake things up in the league.

 

The 2013 Eagles were one of five teams in program history to average 20+ point win margins in their first two games along with the 1938, 1957-59 squads and the 1973 team coming in close behind.  With their 38-16 rout of Gettysburg College (Sept. 21), they became only the third team in history to win by over 20 points in the first three games of the season, and started 3-0 for the first time since 2002.

 

After suffering two tough conferences losses, the Eagles hit the road and dominated Ursinus College, handing the Bears their first loss of the season, and putting the Eagles in a tie for fourth in the league with Muhlenberg College going into a homecoming weekend matchup with the Mules.  Muhlenberg used a big second quarter push to earn the win and break the tie.  But Juniata used the loss as fuel and closed out the conference season with three straight wins, placing them fourth in the league, their highest in the Centennial to date. 

 

They took down McDaniel College with a season-high 42 points and led the entire way against Moravian College on the road before returning home for the Annual Battle for the Goal Post against Susquehanna University.

 

Trailing 3-0 after the first quarter against the Crusaders, Juniata's defense stepped up and shut them down for the next two quarters while the offense racked up the points.  The Eagles would go on to win 17-10 and bring the coveted Goal Post Trophy back to Huntingdon for the second time in three years.

 

Juniata was then tapped by the ECAC to play in the Southwest Bowl against Albright College and came out strong early in the game.  Two quick Eagle touchdowns were soon answered by Albright and the game went into the break tied.  Juniata led until deep in the fourth quarter when the Lions offense caught fire, scoring two touchdowns in under two minutes.  The Eagles would get another score on the board, but could not regain the lead.

 

Juniata graduates 11 from the 2013 squad.  Only one other senior class has gone from a winless season, to one of such success in their four years.  They will graduate with 11 wins under their belt, more than any other class since 2004.

 

"This program has learned how to deal with adversity," said Launtz.  "They understood that every detail, there were no little things, everything was important.  And they worked to always achieve and improve and never gave up.  Now the challenge is how we deal with success.  I think we're to the point where we have the leaders in place that they understand that there is a Juniata way to do things because they've been directly involved in it."

  

Defense
Juniata's defense held opponents to an average of under 17 points per game through the first three games of the season and kept them to 21 points or less seven times during the year. A dominant front line, led by Felus, helped the Eagles control the ground.  They allowed fewer than 100 yards rushing five times during the season, holding Ursinus to a season-low 15 yards on the ground. Juniata ranked 36th nationally in rushing defense and 21st in team pass sacks.

 

"The defense as a whole just played so well together," said Launtz.  "It starts with the defensive staff.  They had great game plans and the defense was very competitive and very physically aggressive."

 

Second in the league in rushing defense and sacks, the Eagles placed three on Centennial's first-team: Felus and fellow senior captains Kevin Gorman (Waverly, N.Y./Waverly Central), and Jared Shope (Altoona, Pa./Altoona Area).

 

Felus is the most decorated player ever under Launtz. The 6-3, 265 defensive tackle is a two-time First-Team All-Centennial selection and was recognized as a BeyondSportsNetwork.com Second-Team All-American, D3football.com First-Team All-Region selection and the ECAC South Defensive Player of the Year, as well as a first-team all-star.  He finished the year ranked 13th nationally in pass sacks and 27th in tackles for a loss.

 

"Brandon Felus is one of those guys that you sure hope you have more than one of those guys," said Launtz.  "Brandon Felus will leave a legacy here at Juniata.  He made others better by the example he set and his level of play." 

 

A three-time all-conference selection, Gorman has led the team in tackles for three consecutive years. The 6-0, 230 linebacker was the Eagles defensive general on the field.  He finished ranked nationally in total tackles and solo tackles.  Shope, a 6-3, 245 lineman, is a two-time all-conference honoree.  He ranked nationally in pass sacks, finishing fifth in the league.  He dominated in the classroom and earned Capital One Academic All-District honors and was named a Campbell Award semifinalist.

 

Other Eagles making an impact include sophomore Charles Sweigert (Lancaster, Pa./Lancaster Catholic) and junior Ethan Wilt (Altoona, Pa./Altoona).  The 6-0, 180 defensive back put time in on special teams but made his mark in the Eagles secondary where he recorded a team-high three interceptions for 84 yards and Juniata's only defensive touchdown.  Sweigert ended the season ranked nationally for interceptions and passes defended.  Wilt was selected to the all-conference honorable mention for his play during the season.  He finished second on the team in total tackles, forced a fumble and ran an interception back for 16 yards.

 

Offense
In his first season as offensive coordinator, Mike Newton helped guide the Eagles to a season of historic scoring numbers.  Juniata's offense was ranked nationally in several categories including 17th in fourth down conversions.

 

The Eagles offense was undoubtedly led by junior Ward Udinski (Doylestown, Pa./Central Bucks West).  The 6-3, 215 quarterback earned a team-high 2,311 passing yards and rushed for a team-best 757 yards on the ground. As the only junior captain, Udinski was ranked nationally in 11 different categories, including 34th in points responsible for and 39th in total offense.  His play earned him second-team honors, the first all-conference nod of his career.

 

"It all starts with Ward," Launtz added.  "The best want it more than others and they make others better.  He's just an outstanding leader."

 

It's impossible to mention the success of the Eagles offense without acknowledging the front men in the trenches.  Juniata returned all five of its starting offensive linemen in 2013 and their experience showed.  Senior Zach Doyle (Altoona, Pa./Bellwood-Antis), juniors Josh Gongloff(Tyrone, Pa./Bellwood-Antis) and Derek Schultz (Edinboro, Pa./General McLane), and sophomoresFrank Marin (Whitestone, N.Y./Holy Cross) and Nathan Shaffer (Dalmatia, Pa./Line Mountain) protected the backfield all season long, giving up only 15 yards per game and averaging just 1.5 sacks.  Gongloff joined Udinski on second-team for his role the success.

 

"The offensive line made vast improvements," said Launtz.  "Was very physical, very dominant.  In our offense, us being able to run the ball this year, it made us a complete offense."

 

 Skilled players excelling in 2013 include juniors Isaiah Slutter (Hawley, Pa./Wallenpaupack) andKyle Schuck (Selinsgrove, Pa./Selinsgrove) along with freshman Aaron O'Brien (York, Pa./York Catholic).  Both Slutter and Schuck earned second-team all-conference honors, the first of their careers.  Slutter spent time at receiver and on special teams.  He led the team in catches and finished second in total yards and touchdowns. Schuck came alive on the outside at tight end.  He caught a team-best four touchdowns and averaged over 24 yards per game.

 

O'Brien finished his year ranked nationally in receiving yards and receptions.  He led the team with over 600 receiving yards and averaged a team-best 60 yards per game.  His 84 yard touchdown reception in the season opener against Thiel proved to be a team-long mark.  He is tied with Slutter for second on the team in receiving touchdowns.

 

Special Teams
The Eagles special teams had fresh faces taking on big roles.  Senior Ken Kysor (Port Allegany, Pa./Port Allegany) took over place kicking duties and went 35-36 in PATs.  He earned Centennial Player of the Week honors after making 3-of-4, two over 30 yards, including a career-long 38-yarder in the win over Dickinson.  The righty was also recognized by the Fred Mitchell Award, an organization that acknowledges place-kickers for their excellence on the field and in the community.

 

Continuing his dual role as linebacker and punter, sophomore Jonah Plymire (York, Pa./Central York) had five punts over 50 yards and placed nine inside the 20 with only three touchbacks. His foot earned him 41st nationally in punting.

 

On the returning side, Slutter used his speed to collect over 450 yards to lead the Centennial and ranking him 40th nationally in kick returns.  He was also ranked in all purpose yards.

 

"There were countless unsung heroes on this football team because those guys all understood that they had a role to play," state Launtz.  "And they understood that yeah, I may not have the statistics or I may not see my name, but I'm playing for my teammate and I know what the end result will be when I do my job. That speaks volumes for how these guys care about one another."

 

 

Follow Your Eagles! Stay up-to-date on your Juniata College Eagles by logging onto www.juniatasports.net.  And don't forget to follow us on twitter (@JuniataEagles) and on Facebook (Juniata Eagles).

Sep. 23: All times Eastern
Final
at Framingham State 50, Massachusetts Maritime 7
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Muhlenberg 56, at Juniata 40
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at Dean 25, Becker 10
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Salisbury 27, at TCNJ 7
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MIT 38, at Catholic 21
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Merchant Marine 56, at Maine Maritime 31
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at Hobart 34, Endicott 17
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at Morrisville State 44, Nichols 22
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at Delaware Valley 27, Stevenson 7
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at Albright 9, Widener 7
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Christopher Newport 16, at Montclair State 8
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at Westminster (Pa.) 41, Bethany 14
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Middlebury 41, at Bowdoin 14
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Williams 24, at Colby 7
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Amherst 36, at Hamilton 6
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Ursinus 35, at Moravian 17
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Trinity (Conn.) 51, at Bates 0
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at LaGrange 38, Brevard 28
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Geneva 33, at Thiel 24
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at Plymouth State 37, Mass-Dartmouth 7
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Kean 28, at Southern Virginia 14
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Frostburg State 24, at Rowan 10
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Union 17, at Curry 14
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at Carnegie Mellon 37, Thomas More 17
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Lycoming 44, at King's 41
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at Western New England 21, Husson 14
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Johns Hopkins 41, at Dickinson 10
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at DePauw 51, Wooster 24
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at Ohio Wesleyan 37, Allegheny 21
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at Misericordia 43, Wilkes 14
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at Alfred 45, Rochester 7
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Wesley 66, at William Paterson 0
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at N.C. Wesleyan 35, Maryville (Tenn.) 25
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Huntingdon 31, at Ferrum 28
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at McDaniel 27, Gettysburg 20
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at Buffalo State 33, RPI 21
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Franklin and Marshall 27, at Susquehanna 24
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at Denison 45, Oberlin 17
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at Northwestern (Minn.) 10, Westminster (Mo.) 7
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at Eureka 44, Crown 20
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at Lebanon Valley 24, FDU-Florham 14
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at Heidelberg 47, John Carroll 21
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at Ohio Northern 35, Otterbein 7
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at Mount Union 55, Baldwin Wallace 7
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at Rose-Hulman 37, Defiance 14
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at Marietta 49, Muskingum 25
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Franklin 59, at Bluffton 30
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at Hanover 64, Anderson 21
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Mount St. Joseph 31, at Manchester 14
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Worcester State 34, at Westfield State 10
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Coast Guard 13, at Norwich 9
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at Fitchburg State 31, Bridgewater State 29
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Wittenberg 48, at Kenyon 11
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at Wabash 25, Hiram 21
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North Central (Ill.) 51, at Millikin 21
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at Millsaps 17, Sewanee 13
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at Rhodes 35, Birmingham-Southern 9
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at Hendrix 36, Austin 24
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at Martin Luther 34, Greenville 20
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at Trinity (Texas) 41, Chapman 35
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at Loras 73, Buena Vista 34
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at Wartburg 30, Washington U. 20
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at Gustavus Adolphus 51, Hamline 7
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Augsburg 48, at Carleton 28
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at Bethel 64, St. Olaf 7
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at Luther 21, Dubuque 17
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at Central 52, Nebraska Wesleyan 27
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Simpson 38, at Coe 33
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Wheaton (Ill.) 40, at Elmhurst 15
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St. Norbert 66, at Grinnell 13
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at Knox 13, Ripon 6
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at MacMurray 32, Iowa Wesleyan 14
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Hardin-Simmons 63, at Howard Payne 3
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Southwestern 37, at Louisiana College 34
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Monmouth 26, at Macalester 0
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at St. Thomas 20, St. John's 17
@ Target Field, Minneapolis
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at Springfield 42, WPI 10
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at Cornell 55, Beloit 36
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at Brockport 28, Utica 14
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at Hartwick 24, St. John Fisher 21
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at UW-La Crosse 41, Carroll 6
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at St. Scholastica 37, Minnesota-Morris 3
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at George Fox 44, UW-Eau Claire 0
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at Western Connecticut 37, Salve Regina 23
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Final
at UW-Stevens Point 41, Adrian 28
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Final - OT
at Wesleyan 24, Tufts 17
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at Averett 35, Methodist 6
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at Berry 28, Centre 14
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at Case Western Reserve 56, Waynesburg 21
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at Grove City 24, St. Vincent 14
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at Illinois Wesleyan 18, North Park 0
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at Mary Hardin-Baylor 50, Texas Lutheran 7
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at UW-Platteville 56, Lakeland 22
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Final
Carthage 55, at Augustana 14
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Final
Chicago 28, at Illinois College 7
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at Sul Ross State 35, McMurry 7
Final - OT
at Wilmington 37, Capital 30
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Final
Lake Forest 42, at Lawrence 26
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at East Texas Baptist 79, Belhaven 40
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Arizona Christian 56, at Whittier 38
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Sep. 28: All times Eastern
6:30 PM
Shenandoah at Randolph-Macon
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Sep. 23: All times Eastern
Final
at Delaware Valley 27, Stevenson 7
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Wesley 66, at William Paterson 0
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at Alfred 45, Rochester 7
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Johns Hopkins 41, at Dickinson 10
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Frostburg State 24, at Rowan 10
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at Heidelberg 47, John Carroll 21
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at Mount Union 55, Baldwin Wallace 7
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Wittenberg 48, at Kenyon 11
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at Wabash 25, Hiram 21
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Hardin-Simmons 63, at Howard Payne 3
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North Central (Ill.) 51, at Millikin 21
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Final
Wheaton (Ill.) 40, at Elmhurst 15
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Final
at St. Thomas 20, St. John's 17
@ Target Field, Minneapolis
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Final
at Brockport 28, Utica 14
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Final
at Case Western Reserve 56, Waynesburg 21
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at Illinois Wesleyan 18, North Park 0
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at UW-Platteville 56, Lakeland 22
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Final
at Mary Hardin-Baylor 50, Texas Lutheran 7
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