posted November 13, 2006

Hope Draws Mount Union in NCAA Football Playoffs

HOLLAND -- It will be a David versus Goliath showdown when MIAA champion Hope meets defending national champion Mount Union in a first round game of the NCAA Division III playoffs on Saturday, Nov. 18 in Alliance, Ohio.

The pairings for the 32-team tournament were announced Sunday. Mount Union (10-0), champions of the Ohio Athletic Conference (OAC), is seeded first in the North Region while Hope (7-3), as champion of the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association, is seeded eighth.

The game will start at noon ET. There will be no advance sale of tickets.  The football stadium gates at Mount Union will open at 10:30 a.m.  Admission is $8 for adults and $4 for students with an ID.

This season Mount Union out-scored its opponents 497-80 averaging 514 yards of total offense per game while holding its opponent to an average of 173.7.

Mount Union will be making its 15th consecutive appearance in the NCAA playoffs. The Purple Raiders have won the Division III title eight times since 1993. A year ago Mount Union defeated UW-Whitewater 35-28 at the Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl. Since the 1992 season, the Mount Union is 148-2 in regular season play.

Hope will be appearing in the playoffs for the fourth time in school history. This year's team lost its first three games, but rallied to win the next seven to gain their fifth MIAA crown in 12 seasons under coach Dean Kreps. Two of the three teams to defeat Hope this season, Central, Iowa (10-0) and Wheaton, Ill. (9-1), will also be competing in the playoffs.

The Flying Dutchmen will be seeking their first-ever NCAA playoff win. In 1986 Hope lost in the first round to eventual national champion Augustana, 34-10. Fourteen years later (2000) on a snow-covered Holland Municipal Stadium field, Hope lost to Hanover, Ind. 20-3. In 2003, in a game with 1,057 yards of total offense, host Wheaton defeated Hope, 55-45.