Willamette Takes Over #9 in AFCA Coaches Poll

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

SALEM, ORE. -- For the second week in a row, the Willamette University football team moved up three spots in the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) NCAA Division III Poll. The Bearcats are #9 in this week's poll, released on Tuesday, Nov. 4, despite having an open date last weekend. Willamette is 8-0 overall and 4-0 in the Northwest Conference.

The #1 team in the country is still Mount Union College (Ohio), now 8-0, with 999 points in the poll. Mount Union received 39 of 40 first place votes and one second place vote. Wabash College (Ind.) moved up one spot to #2 in the poll, with an 8-0 record and 901 points. Muhlenberg College (Pa.) fell one spot to #3 at 8-0 and 900 points, just one point behind Wabash.

North Central College (Ill.), 8-0 overall, remained #4 with 887 points. Cortland State (N.Y.), 8-0, advanced from #6 a week ago to #5 this week. Millsaps College (Miss.) also moved up one position to #6 at 8-0 and 795 points. The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor (Texas), 7-1, picked up two spots to #7 in the rankings.

The defending national champion, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, took a leap of three positions to #8, with a 7-1 record and 715 points. Willamette is #9 with 622 points, and Case Western Reserve University (Ohio) is #10 at 8-0 and 621 points.

Willamette is one of 13 undefeated teams in this week's poll. Monmouth College (Ill.) is the only team with a 9-0 record. Monmouth will have an open date on Nov. 15.

WU has averaged 43.2 points per game this season. The 'Cats have gained 384.9 total yards and 264.5 rushing yards per contest. Deon Horne (Jr., TB, Issaquah, WA/Liberty HS) leads the team in rushing with 604 yards and eight touchdowns on 85 carries (7.1 avg.). Quarterback Grant Leslie (Sr., Bainbridge Island, WA/Bainbridge HS) has completed 67 of 119 passes (56.3%) for 904 yards and seven touchdowns.

The Bearcats will return to action on Saturday, Nov. 8 when they host the University of Puget Sound. Game time at McCulloch Stadium is set for 1 p.m. (PST). Willamette will close out the regular season with a home game against Menlo College on Saturday, Nov. 15. Kickoff against the Oaks is scheduled for 2 p.m. (PST).

Harmon Bruno scored on a blocked punt at Pacific Lutheran and blocked a punt leading to a Grant Piros score at Linfield.

Harmon Bruno scored on a blocked punt at Pacific Lutheran and blocked a punt leading to a Grant Piros score at Linfield.