Willamette Jumps five spots to #19 in AFCA Coaches Poll

Bearcats Lead Nation with 392.2 Passing Yards per Game

By John Lind, Assistant Athletics Communications Director

SALEM, ORE. -- Willamette University is ranked #19 this week in the NCAA Division III Poll released by the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) on Monday, Oct. 15. The Bearcats improved their place in the standings after being ranked #24 in last week's poll.

The Bearcats own a 6-0 record following a 56-20 win over Northwest Conference opponent Lewis & Clark College on Saturday, Oct. 13. Willamette is ranked #1 in NCAA Division III in passing offense with 392.2 passing yards per game.

Quarterback Josh Dean (Jr., Dana Point, CA/Dana Hills HS) is second on the individual national rankings in Division III with 372.33 passing yards per game. Dean has completed 178 of 259 passes (68.7%) for 2,234 yards and a school record 27 touchdowns. He threw for five touchdowns and ran for one touchdown in th win over Lewis & Clark.

In this week's AFCA Poll, the #1 team is the University of Mount Union (Ohio), 6-0, with 41 of 42 first place votes and 1,049 points. The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor (Texas), 6-0, is ranked #2 with the remaining first place vote and 1,007 points. The University of St. Thomas (Minn.), 6-0, is listed at #3 with 955 points.

Linfield College, 5-0, is ranked #4 with 918 points. University of Wisconsin-Whitewater holds the #5 ranking with 852 points.

The AFCA Poll voted three new teams into the Top 25 this week. Salve Regina University (R.I.) made the cut for the first time in school history at #24 and is currently touting a 7-0 record. Wittenberg University (Ohio) snuck back in at #23 after a 41-17 win against the University of Chicago (Illinois). Rowan University (N.J.) was off this week, but with a 5-1 record returned to the poll at #22 for the first time since the 2010 season.

Linfield and Willamette are the only Northwest Conference teams in the rankings this week, although Pacific Lutheran University received votes totaling seven points. Overall, the poll included 13 undefeated teams, plus 11 teams with one loss and one team with two losses.

The Bearcats will play Pacific Lutheran University in Puyallup, Wash. this Saturday (Oct. 20) in an NWC game. Kickoff set for 12:30 p.m. (PDT).

AFCA Coaches Poll
NCAA Division III Poll
American Football Coaches Association
Released on October 15, 2012
Jake Knecht leads the Bearcats with 41 catches for 557 yards and 10 touchdowns.

Jake Knecht leads the Bearcats with 41 catches for 557 yards and 10 touchdowns.