Keith McMillan and I and a guest each week run down the games to watch in several categories — some standard, some off the wall. But this is just the start of the conversation, as we open up the Daily Dose for your thoughts and comments.
Continue along with us here on the blog and on the message boards on game day, especially if you can’t make it to a game yourself, and then we’ll be back Monday with our weekly Podcast, wrapping up the previous weekend’s action.
Paul Schreel, an Ohio Northern grad and occasional D3football.com broadcaster, is our guest commentator, providing his reality check for Week 6.
Game of the Week
Keith’s take: No. 1 Mount Union at No. 9 Ohio Northern. There are many here, from coast to coast (Redlands/Occidental). But anytime there’s a chance mighty Mount Union might get a test, that’s one to watch. The No. 1 Purple Raiders come in off four superb offensive performances, scoring 64.3 points per game, while No. 9 Ohio Northern has allowed just nine points per game. Add in the subtext of the Polar Bears being the last to defeat Mount Union, in the ’05 regular season, and we’ve got ourselves the game of the week.
Paul’s take: No. 1 Mount Union at No. 9 Ohio Northern. Four matchups feature two ranked opponents but there’s none bigger than Mount Union and Ohio Northern. This may be the deepest and most talented team Mount Union has fielded. MUC ranks first nationally in total offense, total defense, scoring and countless other categories I’m sure. But Ohio Northern leads Division III in turnover margin and has more team sacks (23) than any other program in Division III. ONU will need to get a lot more yards out of RJ Meadows than the 11.8 yards per game MUC averages on defense. ONU will need to win the turnover margin and limit the effectiveness of either wide receiver Pierre Garcon or running back Nate Kmic (a tall order to say the least).
Pat’s take: No. 24 John Carroll at No. 8 Capital. I’d love to go with No. 9 vs. No. 1, but Mount Union has blown out too many great teams for me to have much confidence in that really being a game. But Capital’s offense is in pieces and John Carroll came up big on Homecoming last week. If they can do the same on the road, then the OAC is down to one possible Pool C team — ONU — unless someone can beat Mount Union.
Surprisingly close game
Keith’s take: No. 2 Mary Hardin-Baylor at No. 21 Hardin-Simmons. A lot of people like a blowout here, because the Cru has been so powerful and the Cowboys can’t seem to stop anyone from scoring. HSU opponents have done most of their damage through the air though, and the Cru won’t pass much no matter the situation. The Cowboys, meanwhile, have finally settled on a quarterback. Justin Feaster passed for 495 yards last week. I could be way off, but there’s something about knowing the season’s on the line — and it is for the Cowboys — that draws out the best in teams.
Paul’s take: Wabash at Allegheny. Wabash has been a bit banged up, especially at QB with senior Dustin Huff only playing in the opener (and putting up 477 yards and 4 TD’s). The Little Giants have managed nicely in his absence but they face a very physical Allegheny team and travel all the way east to Meadville, Pa., for their longest road trip of the regular season. The Gators haven’t exactly blown the doors off the competition in their three wins but they do play Wabash tough every year and this one could go down to the wire. Wabash may be faster and deeper but the Gators will fight to the final whistle.
Pat’s take: DePauw at Birmingham-Southern. The Panthers started camp to much fanfare for their 120-plus recruits, beat the Mississippi College JV and barely lost to Rhodes in their opener. Even if Jeremiah Marks were to play he might take some time to get back up to speed and allow Birmingham-Southern to keep the game within reach.
Most likely Top 25 team to get upset
Keith’s take: No. 15 Salisbury. Wheaton (at North Central) and Redlands (at Occidental) made plenty of sense here, but Geneva’s made a little noise as it transitions to Division III. With two sure wins (Morrisville State, Becker) to follow before the season-defining clash with Wesley, the Sea Gulls could get caught looking ahead.
Pat’s take: No. 5 Wheaton. Kyle Bradley and/or Sean Norris will be getting his first taste of the Little Brass Bell game and the two were sacked a combined seven times last week against Millikin. North Central will have a first-year starter at quarterback as well, but has the home field and perhaps a bit of a chip on its shoulder.
Paul’s take: No. 4 St. John’s. I feel like I’m really going out on a limb here but it might just be St. John’s. St. John’s is always a class act but they were less than impressive last Saturday versus a 2-2 Carleton team. STJ didn’t score its first points until nearly halfway through the fourth quarter and can’t afford such a sluggish start this Saturday. St. Olaf is an offensive force so far this year ranking fourth in the nation in total offense, passing and scoring. Can the Johnnies defense stop the Oles’ offense? The game’s in Collegeville and I’m sure the Oles would love to ruin the homecoming festivities.
They’ll be on your radar
Keith’s take: My alma mater Randolph-Macon. In a rare show of favoritism, my Yellow Jackets (4-1) play a big game for the first time in years, as ’06 playoff participant Carnegie Mellon (2-2) visits for homecoming. I’ll be in Texas serving the greater Division III community, but my heart will be in Va. thinking maybe, just maybe, my boys are legit.
Paul’s take: Occidental. They might just be a candidate for another top 25 spoiler as they take on 25th ranked Redlands at home Saturday night. This team’s gone 31-4 in the last 3+ seasons and squeaked out a 28-27 win at Claremont-Mudd-Scripps last weekend. I just don’t know if Redlands has what it takes to beat the Tigers on their home turf. Sure Redlands is 3-0 but one of their wins is over Haskell Indian Nations (WHO?!?!?). The balanced Occidental offensive attack might be too much for the Bulldogs.
Pat’s take: Carnegie Mellon. No, just kidding, Keith. Redlands. These guys are about as under the radar as you can get and still be in the Top 25. Admittedly, last week’s 12-0 win against Chapman doesn’t exactly inspire confidence in the offense, which put up 24 points against Whitworth in the season opener. Redlands’ Haskell Indian Nations win isn’t against an impressive opponent, but then again, Occidental’s opening three opponents are 1-10.
Who has a bigger weekend, Jarvis Thrasher vs. HSU, Nate Kmic vs. Ohio Northern or Matt Penz vs. St. John’s?
Keith’s take: Kmic. Larry Kehres leans on him in big games, and we could see the Purple Raiders’ all-time rushing leader get 30 more carries in an attempt to wear down a pretty good defense.
Paul’s take: Waynesburg freshman running back Robert Heller. I know I’m cheating but this kid leads all of D-III in rushing and should clear the 1,000 yard mark in his fifth collegiate game. I don’t care about the fact that he’s getting almost 40 carries a game; he’s a beast.
Of the three choices, I hope it’s not Nate Kmic. If he has the biggest weekend, it means MUC controls the game and this spotlight game won’t be much of a contest. I’ll go with Jarvis Thrasher simply because he’s done big things in his first two meetings with HSU. Why change now? To control the clock and limit the effectiveness of HSU’s Justin Feaster, the Crusaders will give Thrasher plenty of touches. He feasts in order to table Feaster’s effectiveness. I can’t believe I went there.
Pat’s take: Matt Penz. But that doesn’t mean St. Olaf comes out of Collegeville with a victory.
Who is more likely to stay unbeaten, Pacific Lutheran, UW-Stevens Point or Coe?
Keith’s take: UW-Stevens Point. Although Coe is the only one with a home game here, UW-Platteville, the Pointers? opponent, comes in reeling from three consecutive defeats and may prove an easier mark than either Dubuque or Whitworth.
Paul’s take: UW-Stevens Point. PLU plays at Whitworth which is no easy task. Coe plays at home and has only given up 23 points on the season. UW-SP plays on the road in the WIAC (never a fun proposition) but they face a UW-Platteville team that hasn’t been able to get things together yet this season. UW-SP hasn’t lost to Platteville in the 21st century. That has to count for something.
Pat’s take: Pacific Lutheran. It’s all about the mustaches. Plus, we’re sending Adam Johnson out for the Oct. 20 Pacfic Lutheran/Linfield game and I want to make sure it’s as meaningful as possible!