Bearcats Remain #10 in Top 25

By Robert McKinney, Athletics Communications Director, (503) 370-6110

SALEM, ORE. -- The Willamette University Bearcats remain at #10 in this week's Top 25. Willamette is 9-0 on the season, 5-0 in the Northwest Conference. With one week left in the regular season, the Bearcats have clinched at least a tie for the NWC Championships and have also clinched at automatic bid into the NCAA Division III Playoffs.

Although Willamette remained at #10 following the Bearcats' 49-27 victory over the University of Puget Sound on Nov. 8, WU did garner 31 more points in the poll than a week ago. Last week, WU received 389 points and trailed #9 Wesley College (Del.) by 29 points. This week, the 'Cats received 420 points and were only one point behind Wesley, which stayed at #9.

In fact, the top 11 teams remained the same. The first change in the poll was at #12, where Case Western Reserve University (Ohio), 9-0, moved up one spot.

Mount Union College (Ohio) continued to hold the #1 position in the poll with a 9-0 record and 625 points. Mount Union received all 25 first place votes. North Central College (Ill.), 9-0, was ranked #2 with 582 points. Wabash College (Ohio) was #3 with a 9-0 mark and 533 points.

Millsaps College (Miss.), 9-0, retained the #4 spot with 521 points, while defending national champion University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, 8-1, was #5 with 507 points.

Muhlenberg College (Pa.) was #6 with a 9-0 record and 504 points in the poll. The remainder of the Top 10 featured Cortland State (N.Y.), 9-0, at #7 with 465 points; the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, 8-1, at #8 with 464 points; Wesley College (Del.), 7-1, at #9 with 421 points; and Willamette at #10 with 420 points. The #11 team, Hardin-Simmons University (Texas), 9-1, also kept its previous ranking.

Willamette is one of 11 undefeated teams in this week's poll. The Bearcats will host Menlo College at McCulloch Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 15 in WU's final regular season game of the year. Kickoff is scheduled for 2 p.m. (PST).

This season, Willamette has averaged 43.9 points per game while allowing 18.6 points per contest. The 'Cats have scored 395 points in nine games and have already broken the school record for points in a 10-game season. The previous record (376) was set by WU's national runner-up team in 1997, which played 10 regular season games.

Head Coach Mark Speckman and quarterback Grant Leslie have helped WU start the season 9-0.

Head Coach Mark Speckman and quarterback Grant Leslie have helped WU start the season 9-0.