Football | Sunday, November 14, 2004
Bearcats Face Occidental in First Round of NCAA DIII Football Championships
SALEM, OR — The Bearcats are in! The Willamette University football team was selected today to play in the NCAA football championships. The Bearcats will travel to Occidental College in California for a first round game next Saturday, November 20, at noon.
Ticket information can be obtained through the Willamette University Athletic Department later in the week.
Head Coach Mark Speckman (pictured left) and his team finished the regular season at 7-3 overall. Two of those losses came to teams ranked in Division III’s Top Ten all season (No. 2 Linfield and No. 8 University of Mary Hardin Baylor). The Bearcats beat two teams ranked in the Top 25 — Whitworth and Pacific Lutheran University.
Only seven at-large berths were granted this year. Twenty-one of the schools in the 28-team field received automatic bids for winning their conference championships. Willamette played one of the toughest schedules in all of Division III this season. Last week, Willamette was No. 7 nationally in strength of schedule.
Occidental College (8-1) is the champion of the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference for the second time in four years. Occidental’s Head coach is Dale Widolff.
The teams face only one common opponent this season — Lewis & Clark College. Occidental beat the Pioneers 31-6 early in the season while the Bearcats rolled to a 55-6 win over their Northwest Conference rivals.