Week 1 is in the books for D3 Football, people. Here are five takeaways from what turned out to be a pretty wild opening weekend.
1. Oshkosh Picked Up Right Where It Left Off
Aside from a rather miraculous play that made the game appear closer than it really was, Oshkosh dominated JCU, despite QB Brett Kasper throwing for just 34 yards. That’s because running back Dylan Hecker was plowing through defenders like a battering ram en route to a 186 yard, three-touchdown day.
The final 23-17 tally suggests a tight contest, when, in reality, JCU was lucky to be just six points down late in the fourth quarter.
2. Mount Union Needs Better Competition
We see this every year: the Purple Raiders crushing far inferior opponents left and right in games that are entirely unwatchable for casual fans. Mount Union destroyed NC Wesleyan 58-0 in a remarkable effort on both sides of the ball that proved, once again, that the road to the championship is paved in purple and black. And that storyline doesn’t appear to be letting up anytime soon.
3. Whitewater’s Offense is Still Lacking
While Oshkosh features a powerful run game capable of overcompensating for lackluster QB play (at times), the Warhawks simply have nothing to offer offensively, which was a huge problem last season as well.
On Saturday, it was more of the same as Whitewater put up just 10 points against unranked Illinois Wesleyan’s 17.
Whitewater’s defense is strong enough to keep them in every game, but unless a miracle happens, this team might be looking at another early playoff exit.
4. Delaware Valley is a Team to Watch
One of the more surprising victories was Delaware Valley’s 24-19 triumph over Wesley. And it wasn’t even that close, as the Wolverines needed a touchdown late in the fourth quarter to close what was a 12-point gap.
The Aggies accomplished a similar feat last season when they trumped Wesley 21-14 in the season opener, and rode that victory to a 9-2 overall record. Keep an eye on these boys. Another step forward might just land them a playoff berth.
5. Don’t Panic
Remember, it’s only Week 1. Yes, there were a lot of notable upsets. Springfield beat Western New England 37-27, Ithaca played Alfred closer than expected, UW-Platteville narrowly squeezed by George Fox, Brockport bested Hobart, plus the aforementioned losses to Wesley and Whitewater … but, again, remember, this is Week 1. Teams have an entire offseason to prepare for these games, making upsets far more likely. The top dawgs will still be standing at season’s end.
Sometimes they just need a little time to warm up.
BONUS — How the Hell Did St. John’s Score 98 Points?
Forget my grumbles about Mount Union, this was the most lopsided win I’ve ever seen. St. John’s dominated from start to finish, and totaled 560 total yards of offense — 337 on the ground — in the victory.
Three QBs, six running backs and five receivers scored a touchdown, while David Franta hauled in a pick-six. The only teammate that didn’t contribute was the mascot.
On the other side, St. Scholastica totaled just 52 yards of offense, including -7 rushing yards. Ouch.