We're four days into the month of October, and about a third of the way through the D3 football regular season. Before we really get into the swing of things it's time to look back at the first month of fall, and give you a chance to pick the D3 Football Team of the Month of September.
Take a look through the nominees below, and vote in the poll at the bottom of the page. We'll leave it open until noon Pacific time on Friday.
BR-14 Heidelberg (4-0)
The Student Princes are 4-0, out to their best start since 2013. It's a huge rebound from a 6-4 finish in 2016, which featured two losses in the first three games.
The biggest win so far, at least from a momentum perspective, was the 47-21 trouncing of John Carroll, a team Heidelberg hadn't beaten since 2012. Quarterback Tyler Stoyle put up 317 yards through the air, mostly to Tony Morris and Demetrius Magee, as the defense picked off five passes.
This weekend, the BR-14 Heidelberg squad faces the toughest test the OVC has to offer: Mount Union. The Student Princes haven't beat the Purple Raiders in 28 tries. Will this be the year?
BR-23 Trine (4-0)
[credit]Senior quarterback Evan Wyse stiff-arms a would-be tackler. (Trine Athletics)[/credit]
Like Heidelberg, Trine is out to their first 4-0 start in a while. The last time the Thunder started a season with four straight wins was 2010, when they went 10-0 in the regular season and extended their run to the D3 football playoffs.
The Thunder boast the No. 5 scoring offense in D3 football at 47.3 points scored per game. Perhaps even more impressively, their rush attack averages 335.5 yards per game — more than 79 D3 football teams have gained in total offense this season.
BR-10 Brockport (5-0)
[credit]Tori Langseder/Brockport Athletics[/credit]
The Golden Eagles are undefeated, and hold a half-game lead over reigning Empire 8 champions Alfred for the top spot in the conference standings. They already scored a big win over St. John Fisher, the team they tied for the second best record in the conference last year.
Brockport has more than doubled up their opponents' total yardage this year, averaging 514 yards per game on offense and allowing just 235.8 on defense. [divider]
BR-5 Hardin-Simmons (4-0)
Junior wide receiver Reece Childress is Hardin-Simmons' leading receiver this year with 23 catches for 408 yards and six TDs. (Hardin-Simmons Athletics)[/credit]
So far so great for Hardin-Simmons. Four wins in four games have carried the Cowboys up into the BennettRank Top 5 for the first time, and they now they have a chance to cement that position with a win over reigning D3 football champions BR-1 Mary Hardin-Baylor. The Cowboys were the last team to beat the Crusaders in the regular season — back on Halloween of 2015.
This time Hardin-Simmons comes in boasting the No. 1 scoring offense in D3 football — averaging a staggering 68 points per game so far. It's safe to say that whichever team wins on Saturday will be the favorite, and maybe the lock, to win the American Southwest Conference title. The game has been nominated for D3 Football Game of the Week.[divider]
BR-21 UW-La Crosse (4-0)
Senior WR Ryan Kruser has 18 catches for 122 yards this season. (Jim Lund/UW-La Crosse Athletics)[/credit]
With one more win, UW-La Crosse will have matched their highest win total since 2006, the last time they made the D3 football playoffs. Two more wins would guarantee the first above .500 season in a decade. You could say it's been a good start for the Eagles.
Head coach Mike Schmidt's team has pretty much picked up in his second season where they left off in his first, winning ballgames. The Eagles boast the No. 1 pass defense in the division, allowing just 73 passing yards per game and 4.17 yards per attempt.
The schedule gets more difficult now, with only conference games remaining, but the Eagles should feel great about their start, and where the program is headed. [divider]