/seasons/2017/contrib/20171209yhsn43

Titans Denied Second Straight Stagg Bowl Berth

University of Mount Union (Ohio) overcame a 25-point, third-quarter deficit and pulled out a 43-40 win over UW-Oshkosh during the semifinal round of the NCAA Division III Football Championship on Saturday (Dec. 9) at J. J. Keller Field at Titan Stadium.

UW-Oshkosh (12-1) extended its lead to 35-10 on a 43-yard touchdown run by Mitch Gerhartz with 6:34 left in the third quarter.

University of Mount Union (14-0) answered with touchdowns on five consecutive possessions, reclaiming the lead on a 1-yard scoring run by Jawanza Evans-Morris that provided the final score with 5:41 remaining in the game.

UW-Oshkosh reached the Purple Raiders' 28-yard line on the final drive of the game, but Titan Turner Geisthardt was short on a potential game-tying 46-yard field goal attempt as time expired.

University of Mount Union, which owns a division-leading 12 national titles, advances to its 20th Division III championship game. The Purple Raiders, ranked third in the country by D3football.com, will face defending national champion and top-ranked University of Mary Hardin-Baylor (Texas) (14-0) in the 45th Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl on Friday (Dec. 15) in Salem, Va.

University of Mary Hardin-Baylor defeated UW-Oshkosh, 10-7, in last year's national championship game.

UW-Oshkosh, which entered the semifinal round ranked third in the nation, had its 15-game home winning streak snapped. University of Mount Union has now won 120 of its last 121 road games.

The teams combined for 1012 yards of offense on Saturday, including 542 by the Purple Raiders.

University of Mount Union concluded the game with advantages in passing yards (330-297), rushing yards (212-173), first downs (32-18), turnovers (3-1), offensive plays (90-59) and time of possession (36:24 to 23:36). The Purple Raiders converted 11 of 17 third-down opportunities while UW-Oshkosh went 6-for-14 on third downs.

University of Mount Union went into the contest leading the country with 54.1 points per game while UW-Oshkosh listed 10th by averaging 41.9.

Purple Raiders quarterback D'Angelo Fulford completed 28 of 42 passes for 330 yards with one touchdown and one interception. He also added 10 rushes for 46 yards and one score. Fulford went into the game with a nation-leading 48 touchdown passes and a 241.7 passing efficiency rating.

University of Mount Union recorded five touchdown runs, including two apiece from Evans-Morris and Josh Petruccelli. Evans-Morris led all players with 27 carries for 132 yards while Petruccelli chipped in 11 totes for 34 yards as University of Mount Union averaged 4.4 yards per rush.

Jared Ruth had a game-high 11 catches for 130 yards for the Purple Raiders, who also received six grabs for 102 yards from Justin Hill and five receptions for 54 yards and a touchdown from Luke Herrington.

The Purple Raiders' Danny Robinson made a game-best 12 tackles.

Elijah Berry and Ethan McComb both notched sacks for University of Mount Union while Louis Berry and Kollyn Crenshaw snared interceptions, and Trey Williams recovered a fumble.

UW-Oshkosh quarterback Brett Kasper went 17-for-31 passing for 297 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. He extended his school record to 34 touchdown passes on the year. Kasper concludes his career with a program-record 9,786 passing yards and 89 touchdown passes.

Dylan Hecker led UW-Oshkosh with 15 carries for 92 yards and one touchdown. He ends his career with school-record totals of 61 rushing touchdowns and 378 points.

UW-Oshkosh's Sam Mentkowski had seven receptions for a game-high 190 yards and one touchdown, including five catches for 178 yards and a score during the first half. Mentkowski capped the season with a school-record 1,477 receiving yards. He also finished his career as the program's all-time leader with 180 receptions, 3,141 receiving yards and 27 touchdown catches.

Mitch Gerhartz contributed 73 rushing yards and a touchdown on just three carries for the Titans while Dom Todarello had four catches for 65 yards and one score. University of Mount Union had allowed just one rushing touchdown on the year before Saturday.

Jamier Szymanski led UW-Oshkosh with a career-high 11 tackles, including six solo.

Jon Kallas recorded nine tackles and one forced fumble for the Titans while Chris Bednarski, Scott Skornicka and Cole Yoder each had eight tackles. Yoder returned an interception – his fourth of the season – for a 42-yard touchdown early in the third quarter.

Matt Kahn and AJ Plewa accounted for UW-Oshkosh's two sacks.

UW-Oshkosh marched the game's opening possession 49 yards in eight plays before Geisthardt pushed a 34-yard field goal attempt to the right.

After the teams exchanged punts on the next two possessions, Petruccelli capped a 10-play, 73-yard University of Mount Union drive with a 2-yard touchdown run. Petruccelli logged seven carries for 46 during the scoring drive that provided the Purple Raiders a 7-0 advantage with 2:08 left in the first quarter.

UW-Oshkosh was pinned at its own 2-yard line following a fumble on the ensuing kickoff return. However, on the Titans' next play from scrimmage, Kasper heaved a pass to Mentkowski for a 72-yard connection. Kasper hit Mentkowski for a 7-yard gain on a third-and-4 play, and Hecker reached the end zone on the next play with a 13-yard run that tied the score at 7 with 14:57 left in the first half.

University of Mount Union drove to the UW-Oshkosh 14-yard line on the following possession, but Skornicka thwarted the drive by stopping Fulford for no gain on fourth-and-3.

Kasper hit Mentkowski with an 86-yard touchdown pass on the next play, giving the Titans their first lead at 14-7 with 9:31 to play in the second quarter.

The Purple Raiders' next possession consumed 6:47 off the clock and spanned 76 yards in 18 plays, culminating on Alex Louthan's 23-yard field goal that trimmed the University of Mount Union deficit to 14-10 with 2:44 remaining in the second period.

Todarello returned the ensuing kickoff 68 yards to the Purple Raiders' 17-yard line. A pair of penalties moved the ball back to the 27-yard line, but Kasper dropped in a 17-yard touchdown pass to Todarello in the back of the end zone on third-and-10 to increase the Titans' advantage to 21-10 with 54 seconds left in the first half.

Yoder intercepted a Fulford pass on the second offensive play of the second half and raced 42 yards for his second career touchdown as UW-Oshkosh extended its lead to 28-10 at the 14:07 mark of the third quarter.

UW-Oshkosh then upped its lead to 35-10 on a 43-yard touchdown run by Gerhartz with 9:46 left in the third period. Gerhartz's first carry of the game concluded a six-play, 82-yard drive that included carries of 30 and 12 yards by Hecker.

University of Mount Union began its comeback with a 3-yard touchdown pass from Fulford to Herrington, trimming the deficit to 35-17 at the 6:34 mark of the third quarter. Fulford completed 6 of 7 passes for 67 yards on the scoring drive that gained 66 yards in eight plays.

The Purple Raiders then forced UW-Oshkosh to punt after three plays and reached the end zone six plays later as Fulford ran for a 13-yard score, cutting the UW-Oshkosh lead to 35-24 with 2:54 left in the third quarter. Fulford went 3-for-4 passing for 35 yards before his scramble finished off a six-play, 56-yard drive.

University of Mount Union's Williams recovered a fumble by Kasper at the Titan 13-yard line and, following a pass for no gain and a pass interference penalty on UW-Oshkosh, Evans-Morris barreled into the end zone from 2 yards out to pull the Purple Raiders within 35-30 with 1:43 remaining in the third period. University of Mount Union's two-point conversion try failed as a pass by Fulford fell incomplete.

After Todarello returned the resulting kickoff 40 yards to the UW-Oshkosh 45-yard line, Geisthardt drilled a 36-yard field goal nine plays later to increase the UW-Oshkosh advantage to 38-30 with 13:51 to play in the fourth quarter. The field goal was set up by a 23-yard run by Gerhartz to the Purple Raiders' 19-yard line.

Petruccelli pulled University of Mount Union within 38-36 with a 1-yard touchdown run with 9:36 remaining. Petruccelli accounted for 36 yards on five carries and one catch during the 10-play, 69-yard drive, which also featured a 28-yard pass from Fulford to Hill.

The Purple Raider once again attempted a two-point conversion, but Fulford fumbled on the attempt to tie the game. UW-Oshkosh's Derrick Jennings Jr. scooped up the loose ball and raced more than 90 yards to the end zone, extending the Titan advantage to 40-36.

Berry intercepted a Kasper pass and returned the ball to the Titan 40-yard line on UW-Oshkosh's following possession. Fulford hit Ruth with a 28-yard pass on the first play of the following series. Evans-Morris then carried the ball three times for the final 12 yards of the drive, including a 1-yard run to the end zone on first-and-goal. Louthan's fourth extra point of the contest provided the final score at the 5:41 mark.

Crenshaw intercepted Kasper near midfield on the Titans' second play of their penultimate drive. University of Mount Union took 2:29 off the clock – and the Titans used their final timeouts – during its final possession before Adam Snyder's punt pinned UW-Oshkosh at its own 15-yard line with 2:24 to play.

University of Mount Union appeared to secure the victory as Kasper's 14-yard pass to Todarello on fourth-and-10 was deemed to be juggled as Todarello fell out of bounds. After an official review, the call was overturned, giving the Titans a first down at their own 29-yard line.

Kasper hit Cody Moon for a 7-yard pass on third-and-6, and UW-Oshkosh gained another first down on a 10-yard pass from Kasper to Chad Redmer on fourth-and-8. Kasper's 20-yard pass to Todarello advanced the ball to the University of Mount Union 28-yard line with one second left.

Following a pair of timeouts by the Purple Raiders, Geisthardt was short on a 46-yard field goal attempt as time expired.

UW-Oshkosh owns a 12-4 record in NCAA postseason games. The Titans' .750 winning percentage during the Division III Championship is third-best while University of Mount Union sports a division-best .860 percentage (98-16 record).

The Titans advanced to the semifinal round for the third time in four trips to the NCAA tournament. UW-Oshkosh also reached the semifinals in 2012 and the quarterfinals in 2015.

UW-Oshkosh & University of Mount Union Postgame Press Conference

2017 NCAA Division III Football Championship Interactive Bracket

Nov. 9: All times Eastern
Final
at Rowan 35, Kean 20
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Nov. 10: All times Eastern
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Coast Guard 26, at Merchant Marine 12
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at Catholic 20, Maine Maritime 14
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at Amherst 45, Williams 14
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at Stevenson 34, FDU-Florham 0
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Westfield State 27, at Western Connecticut 13
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Hamilton 38, at Bates 13
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Husson 21, at Plymouth State 10
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SUNY-Maritime 34, at Gallaudet 7
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at Bridgewater State 21, Massachusetts Maritime 7
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at Nichols 39, Curry 29
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Union 34, at RPI 10
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at MIT 22, Springfield 7
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Framingham State 47, at Worcester State 6
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Fitchburg State 32, at Mass-Dartmouth 29
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Trinity (Conn.) 9, at Wesleyan 0
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Muhlenberg 53, at Moravian 7
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at WPI 20, Norwich 17
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at Johns Hopkins 42, McDaniel 17
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at Dean 19, Anna Maria 13
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King's 45, at Wilkes 0
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Ithaca 24, at Cortland 21
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Denison 61, at Kenyon 7
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Alfred 41, at Rochester 13
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at University of New England 42, Alvernia 27
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Tufts 35, at Middlebury 13
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Salve Regina 47, at Endicott 34
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at Brevard 28, Greensboro 7
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Brockport 49, at Morrisville State 7
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Montclair State 24, at William Paterson 0
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Lycoming 21, at Misericordia 14
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at Colby 30, Bowdoin 14
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Westminster (Pa.) 21, at Geneva 7
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at Christopher Newport 16, Wesley 14
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at St. John Fisher 31, Buffalo State 28
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Averett 22, at Methodist 13
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Franklin and Marshall 34, at Gettysburg 10
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TCNJ 33, at Southern Virginia 30
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Hobart 42, at St. Lawrence 31
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at Western New England 52, Becker 0
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at Susquehanna 24, Juniata 6
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at Bethany 35, St. Vincent 0
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at Lebanon Valley 30, Albright 24
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at Ursinus 31, Dickinson 0
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Hope 33, at Adrian 14
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Shenandoah 27, at Washington and Lee 24
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at Castleton 21, Alfred State 3
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at Albion 35, Olivet 19
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Washington and Jefferson 33, at Waynesburg 14
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Randolph-Macon 48, at Hampden-Sydney 35
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Trine 48, at Kalamazoo 18
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Wittenberg 27, at Wooster 21
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at Emory and Henry 70, Guilford 27
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at Ohio Wesleyan 40, Hiram 12
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at Frostburg State 38, Salisbury 35
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at Maryville (Tenn.) 31, N.C. Wesleyan 14
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Utica 75, at Hartwick 14
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at John Carroll 45, Baldwin Wallace 35
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at Louisiana College 45, Howard Payne 13
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at Minnesota-Morris 21, Greenville 13
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at Concordia (Wis.) 21, Wisconsin Lutheran 14
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Coe 26, at Luther 7
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at Northwestern (Minn.) 28, Iowa Wesleyan 0
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at MacMurray 34, St. Scholastica 20
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at Aurora 25, Lakeland 22
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Benedictine 54, at Concordia-Chicago 41
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at Chicago 48, Lake Forest 16
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at Washington U. 44, Carroll 6
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at Wabash 24, DePauw 17
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Delaware Valley 33, at Widener 0
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at Allegheny 47, Oberlin 14
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Capital 33, at Muskingum 28
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at Grove City 42, Thiel 15
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at Heidelberg 49, Ohio Northern 17
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Otterbein 34, at Wilmington 24
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at Mount Union 49, Marietta 7
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at Rose-Hulman 70, Earlham 6
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Hanover 23, at Franklin 20
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Manchester 35, at Anderson 6
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at Bluffton 34, Defiance 7
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Alma 37, at Finlandia 0
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Bridgewater 42, at Ferrum 21
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at Huntingdon 42, LaGrange 14
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Carthage 38, at Augustana 9
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at Trinity (Texas) 21, Berry 17
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at Eureka 38, Rockford 7
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Rhodes 21, at Austin 14
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at Southwestern 59, Texas Lutheran 35
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at Hardin-Simmons 83, McMurry 6
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Gustavus Adolphus 29, at St. Olaf 20
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Centre 56, at Birmingham-Southern 20
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at Hamline 27, Augsburg 9
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at Concordia-Moorhead 51, Carleton 14
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Simpson 56, at Buena Vista 7
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Wartburg 47, at Dubuque 28
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at Martin Luther 47, Crown 18
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Central 37, at Loras 34
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at North Central (Ill.) 55, Millikin 12
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at Wheaton (Ill.) 79, Elmhurst 0
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at St. John's 63, Thomas More 23
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at Millsaps 28, Hendrix 21
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UW-Whitewater 49, at UW-Platteville 21
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Illinois Wesleyan 40, at North Park 13
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Cornell 13, at Lawrence 6
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at St. Norbert 10, Monmouth 7
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at Ripon 38, Knox 19
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Grinnell 41, at Beloit 31
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Illinois College 35, at Macalester 28
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at Bethel 21, St. Thomas 15
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UW-Stevens Point 39, at UW-River Falls 25
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Mary Hardin-Baylor 50, at East Texas Baptist 15
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at UW-Oshkosh 27, UW-Stout 13
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Final
UW-La Crosse 42, at UW-Eau Claire 0
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Cal Lutheran 58, at Whittier 21
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Pacific Lutheran 28, at Lewis and Clark 14
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at Chapman 55, La Verne 34
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at Redlands 52, Occidental 20
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at Linfield 50, Pacific 7
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at Pomona-Pitzer 24, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps 19
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at George Fox 62, Puget Sound 48
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Whitworth 52, at Willamette 0
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Final - OT
Carnegie Mellon 29, at Case Western Reserve 23
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Belhaven 8, at Sul Ross State 0
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Nov. 10: All times Eastern
Final
Union 34, at RPI 10
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Final
Muhlenberg 53, at Moravian 7
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Final
at Johns Hopkins 42, McDaniel 17
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Final
Brockport 49, at Morrisville State 7
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Final
Trine 48, at Kalamazoo 18
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Final - OT
at Frostburg State 38, Salisbury 35
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Final
Wittenberg 27, at Wooster 21
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Washington and Jefferson 33, at Waynesburg 14
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at John Carroll 45, Baldwin Wallace 35
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Final
Delaware Valley 33, at Widener 0
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Final
at Mount Union 49, Marietta 7
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Final
at Wheaton (Ill.) 79, Elmhurst 0
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at Trinity (Texas) 21, Berry 17
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at Hardin-Simmons 83, McMurry 6
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at St. John's 63, Thomas More 23
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UW-Whitewater 49, at UW-Platteville 21
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at North Central (Ill.) 55, Millikin 12
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Illinois Wesleyan 40, at North Park 13
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at Bethel 21, St. Thomas 15
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Final
Mary Hardin-Baylor 50, at East Texas Baptist 15
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at Linfield 50, Pacific 7
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Whitworth 52, at Willamette 0
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Final - OT
Carnegie Mellon 29, at Case Western Reserve 23
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