Willamette is Ranked #25 in AFCA Coaches Poll

Bearcats Conclude Season at 7-2 Overall, 4-2 in the NWC

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

SALEM, ORE. -- Willamette University has returned to the NCAA Division III Coaches Poll released by the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA). In the poll released on Monday, Nov. 18, the Bearcats were ranked #25 after finishing the season with a 7-2 overall record, including 4-2 (3rd place) in the Northwest Conference.

The #1 team remained the University of Mount Union (Ohio), 10-0, which received 38 of 42 first place votes and 1,046 points. The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor (Texas), 10-0, was listed at #2 with the final four first place votes and 1,027 points. Linfield College, 9-0, which won the Northwest Conference title, was ranked #3 with 952 points in the poll.

North Central College (Ill.), 10-0, held the #4 position with 913 points. The University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, 10-0,was #5 with 887 points and Bethel University (Minn.) was #6 with 842 points.

Willamette was ranked at #19 on Oct. 21, before losses to nationally-ranked Pacific Lutheran University and Linfield. PLU is now ranked #12 in the poll.

The Bearcats rebounded with a 21-17 win against Pacific University and a 62-20 victory over the University of Puget Sound. Pacific was not ranked, but received points in the poll for much of the season.

Led by senior quarterback Josh Dean (Dana Point, CA/Dana Hills HS), the Bearcats averaged 41.1 points and 471.9 total yards per game this season. Dean connected on 192 of 303 passes (63.4%) for 2,389 yards and 28 touchdowns. Dean averaged 276.6 passing yards per game.

Dean's top receiver was Derek Traeger (Jr., WR, Mount Angel, OR/John F. Kennedy HS), who hauled in 67 passes for 808 yards and 11 touchdowns.

In addition to a strong passing game, the Bearcats added 188.4 rushing yards per contest. Taylor Wyman (Jr., RB, Bellevue, WA/Issaquah HS) led the way with 555 yards on 87 carries (6.4 avg.). Wyman scored 10 rushing touchdowns. He also caught two touchdown passes, rushed for three 2-point conversions and passed for a pair of 2-point conversions.

Jack Nelson (Jr., ILB, Portland, OR/Jesuit HS) topped the Willamette defensive chart and the NWC statistics with 112 total tackles, 67 solo tackles and 45 assists. Tait Stephens (Sr., S, Sammamish, WA/Skyline HS) added 55 total tackles, including 39 solo tackles. The Bearcats intercepted a total of 13 passes and recorded 21 takeaways overall.

Tyson Giza (Sr., CB, Salem, OR/Sprague HS) led the NWC with 28.6 yards per kickoff return, as he brought back 20 kicks for a total of 573 yards. He scored two touchdowns on kickoff returns covering 85 and 84 yards. Giza also recorded a team-high four interceptions.

The AFCA will release a final NCAA Division III Coaches Poll at the conclusion of the NCAA Playoffs in December.

AFCA COACHES POLL
NCAA Division III Poll
American Football
Coaches Association
Released on November 18, 2013
Derek Traeger led Willamette with 67 catches for 808 yards and 11 touchdowns.

Derek Traeger led Willamette with 67 catches for 808 yards and 11 touchdowns.