There were several extremely impressive defensive performances in the first round of the D3 Football Playoffs. Six teams held their opponent to ten points or fewer, and three pitched shutouts. Let’s take a look at these
UW-Whitewater – 48
St. Norbert – 0
Reigning Champions UW-Whitewater created six turnovers in their 48-0 win over St. Norbert in the snow on Saturday. Junior linebacker Paul Foster and junior defensive lineman Tim Regan combined for three sacks and Foster added a forced fumble to his tally as well. Senior DB Ryan Winske ran an interception back for a touchdown for the second time in as many games, and junior DBs Vince Mason and Mickey Morgan added picks to the stat sheet as well.
It was the first loss of the year for the Green Knights, who averaged 33.4 points per game in the regular season, and the second shutout for Whitewater.
UW-Oshkosh – 48
St. Scholastica – 0
Around the same time, less than 100 miles north in Oshkosh, the WIAC champs put up a 48-0 shutout of their own. For UW-Oshkosh, it was over Upper Midwest champion St. Scholastica.
The Titans limited the Saints to just 32 rushing yards on 29 attempts, and sacked St. Scholastica quarterbacks (all four of them) a total of seven times.
They held the Saints to three first downs, and 15 completions on 42 attempts with four interceptions. St. Scholastica’s longest drive of the day was a 38-yard, 11-play effort that ended in a turnover on downs — one of three on the day. All in all, Oshkosh forced eight turnovers (three on downs, four interceptions, and a fumble). Domination.
Albright – 49
Norwich – 0
The final shutout was also the biggest scoring margin of the weekend. Albright beat Norwich 49-0 in the school’s first ever home playoff game. Norwich completed just nine of 26 pass attempts for 116 yards. They did manage to rack up 178 yards on the ground, but that was on 52 attempts. Albion forced four turnovers on downs and one more on a first-quarter fumble.
The most impressive aspect of this defensive performance was just how long they were on the field. Only three of Albright’s 14 offensive drives went longer than five plays. The Lions scored so quickly each time they got the ball, the defense hardly got to rest at all. Norwich held the ball for 34:45 but averaged just 3.8 yards per play.