Willamette and UW-Whitewater Set for Playoff Game on Nov. 29

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

SALEM, ORE. -- Willamette University (11-0) will host the University Wisconsin-Whitewater (10-1) in the second round of the NCAA Division III Football Playoffs on Saturday, Nov. 29 at McCulloch Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 12 p.m. (PST). The game is one of eight second round contests, with the winner advancing into the quarterfinals.

About the Willamette Bearcats

Willamette is ranked #6 in both the AFCA Coaches Poll and the D3Football.com Top 25. The Bearcats are 11-0 on the season and won the Northwest Conference title with a 6-0 record. Willamette opened the NCAA Playoffs with a 48-33 victory over Occidental College. The ‘Cats have averaged 253.6 rushing yards and 407.1 total yards per game.

Quarterback Grant Leslie (Sr., Bainbridge Island, WA/Bainbridge HS) has completed 98 of 170 passes for 1,629 yards and 16 touchdowns. He leads the NWC with a 166.84 passing efficiency rating. He has averaged 16.6 yards per completion. He was 12 of 21 for 248 yards and three touchdowns against Occidental.

Deon Horne leads Willamette in rushing with 865 yards and 11 TDs on 117 carries.Deon Horne (Sr., TB, Issaquah, WA/Liberty HS) continues to lead Willamette’s rushing attack. He has carried the ball 117 times for 865 yards and 11 touchdowns. He is averaging 78.6 yards per game and 7.4 yards per carry. Merben Woo (Sr., FL, Salinas, CA/North Salinas HS/Hartnell College) has gained 774 rushing yards on 91 carries. He is averaging an impressive 8.5 yards per rush.

Woo also tops the Willamette pass receiving list with 37 catches for 810 yards and eight touchdowns. Scott Schoettgen (So., WR, Columbia, CA/Sonora HS) had hauled in 22 passes for 463 yards and six scores. Woo has produced 21.9 yards per reception, while Schoettgen has averaged 21.0 yards per catch.

Freshman Mitchell Rowan (PK/P, Cotati, CA/Rancho Cotate HS) has set Willamette season records by converting 59 of 64 extra points. He also has made 5 of 8 field goals with a long of 40 yards. All three of his missed field goals have been from 40 yards or longer. Rowan has averaged 38.7 yards per punt and has placed 16 of 38 punts inside the 20-yard line.

Jose Green (So., TB, Downey, CA/Warren HS) has been WU’s top kick returning threat. He has gained 24.4 yards per kickoff return, including a 75-yard return for a touchdown against Lewis & Clark. Green also has averaged 9.4 yards per punt return. He scored on a 46-yard punt return versus Southern Oregon.

Tommy Grove tops the Willamette defensive chart with 104 total tackles this season.Inside linebacker Tommy Grove (Sr., Moccasin, CA/Sonora HS/Butte College) has made 104 tackles this season. He ranks first on the team in unassisted tackles (51) and is tied with Jack Bevins (Sr., ILB, Park City, UT/Park City HS) for the team lead in assists (53).

Bevins is second on the defensive chart with 95 total tackles. Marcus Ford (Sr., DE, Marina, CA/Seaside HS/Monterey Peninsula College) leads the Bearcats with 12.5 tackles for losses (68 yards lost) and 7.0 quarterback sacks (52 yards lost).

Willamette set a school record by scoring 423 points in the regular season. With 48 points in the opening round of the playoffs, the Bearcats have also set a school record for overall points in a season with 471. The previous scoring record of 470 points was set in 14 games by the 1997 NAIA national runner-up team.

About the Wisconsin-Whitewater Warhawks

UW-Whitewater is 10-1 on the season and ranked #4 in the D3Football.com Top 25. UWW is ranked #5 in the AFCA Coaches Poll. The Warhawks tied for the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference title with UW-Stevens Point at 6-1.

UW-Whitewater tied for the WIAC Championship.UWW is averaging 412.2 total yards per game, while earning 221.3 rushing yards per contest. Opponents have gained just 244.2 total yards per game against the Warhawks, who have allowed only 71.0 rushing yards per game.

The top rusher for Whitewater is Levell Coppage (Fr.) with 272 carries for 1,375 yards and 20 touchdowns. He is averaging 125.0 yards per game and has gained 5.1 yards per carry. Antwan Anderson (So.) has rushed for 566 yards on 82 carries (6.9 avg.).

Quarterback Jeff Donovan (Jr.) has been successful on 148 of 233 passes (63.5%) for 1,836 yards and nine touchdowns. He has thrown nine interceptions and has a passing efficiency rating of 134.73.

Aaron Rusch (So., WR) has caught 68 passes for 898 yards and six touchdowns. Jordan Wells (Jr., WR) has brought down 37 passes for 441 yards and one touchdown.

Place-kicker Jeff Schebler (Jr.) has put through 44 of 49 extra points and 17 of 19 field goals. His longest field goal covered 47 yards. His only misses have been from 39 and 47 yards. UWW punter Kris Rosholt (So.) is averaging 37.1 yards per punt, with 12 of 37 kicks inside the 20-yard line.

Aaron Samplawski (Fr., DB) has gained 29.2 yards per kickoff return. Rusch has averaged 7.6 yards on 23 punt returns.

The Warhawks’ tackle chart is led by Kyle Supianoski (Jr., LB), who has recorded 47 unassisted tackles on his way to 71 total tackles. Jace Rindahl (Sr., LB) is close behind with 70 total tackles (39 solo).

Up Next for the Winner: Quarterfinal Game on Road to Salem, Va.

The winner of the Willamette-Whitewater game will play the winner between Monmouth College (Ill.), 11-0, and Wartburg College (Iowa), 9-2. The quarterfinals will be played on Saturday, Dec. 6.

The NCAA Division III Playoffs will last for five weekends in a row -- three more after this weekend. Winners in each of the four Regional brackets will meet in the national semifinals, with the top two teams playing in Stagg Bowl XXXVI for the National Championship on Dec. 20 in Salem, Va.

Tickets and Parking Information

Tickets for the game will be on sale in the lobby of the Sparks Center on Tuesday, Nov. 25 as well as Wednesday, Nov. 26 from 11:30 a.m. (PST) until 2 p.m. Game tickets also will be sold the day of the game at McCulloch Stadium. All ticket purchases will be by cash or check.

The Willamette vs. UW-Whitewater playoff game will be played at McCulloch Stadium.Seating is general admission only, with adult tickets priced at $8 each and tickets for students with a current identification card priced at $4 each. Children ages 5 and under will be admitted free.

Tickets will be sold near the main entrance to McCulloch Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 29, starting at 9 a.m. (PST). The gates will open at 10:30 a.m. with the kickoff set for 12 p.m.

Several areas can be used for parking. The main parking area at Bush’s Pasture Park, located on Mission Street in front of McCulloch Stadium will be available. Additional parking will be in the lot on Cross Street, near the softball field in Bush’s Pasture Park. The Cross Street lot may be accessed from 12th Street heading south from Mission.

Also, the parking lot at the Sparks Center on the Willamette campus will be available on Saturday. The campus is located one full block north of Mission Street and the stadium (equivalent to about three short blocks), with the Sparks Center lot located near the corner of Bellevue and 12th Street.

Mike Reeves (left) and Marcus Ford (right) put pressure on the quarterback.

Mike Reeves (left) and Marcus Ford (right) put pressure on the quarterback.