The key to Hofstra's stunning 10-0 regular season was wardrobe. Not the team's, but that of assistant trainer John Devine. "He wore his wild Hawaiian shirt while taping before each home game, and we took it with us on the road when he didn't come," says coach Mickey Kwiatkowski. "We won each time." When the shirt was inadvertently left behind for the playoffs, the Flying Dutchmen lost 51-19 to Union. Little All-America defensive back Tim Feldman (10 interceptions in '83) will lead a seasoned team back to the playoffs, and this time Hofstra will bring the shirt.
Dayton's offensive line is known as the Moving Company. "After we had some big games, rushing [four times the Flyers got more than 350 yards, with a high of 516]," says guard Terry Steele, "some of the guys started calling us the Hogs, after the Redskins. We didn't think that was very original." Steele had Moving Company T shirts printed up, and the Flyers won six of their last seven games. Dayton has the toughest schedule in the division, but not to worry: 10 of 11 starters return from a defense that allowed only 11.3 points per game in '83.
After making 117 tooth-rattling tackles last fall, Canisius senior linebacker Jim Gill, a poli sci major, spent the summer turning out braces, retainers and false teeth at an orthodontics company in Buffalo. He's back, and so is sophomore tailback Michael Panepinto, who wasn't called upon last season until the Golden Griffins were facing their fourth defeat in their first five games. The 5'5", 155-pound Panepinto went on to rush for 554 yards as Canisius won its final four starts.
Wisconsin-LaCrosse's 18 returning first-teamers include a future pro, tight end Don Kindt, and quarterback Bob Krepfle. After recuperating from a shoulder injury that sidelined him for four games in '83, Krepfle threw for 509 yards in one game and 371 in the next. Union quarterback Dan Stewart, beginning his fourth year as a first-teamer, has thrown at least one TD pass in 22 straight games. The Dutchmen, who have 20 returning starters, didn't give up a single rushing touchdown during the '83 regular season.
Worcester Tech was 8-0 in '83 but was shortchanged at playoff time: 8-1 Union received a bid over Tech on the basis of its tougher schedule. The Engineers outrushed their opponents 319.1 yards to 64.5 and outscored them 225 to 56. The most important returnee is tailback Mike Carbone, the No. 3 rusher in the country last fall with 1,123 yards. Happily, the division playoffs have been expanded from eight to 16 teams, and Tech's schedule now includes Union.
Once again Carnegie-Mellon will field two offensive units. If the "white" team drives for a score, it stays in the game; if not, the "go" unit gets a chance, with the same reward. Coach Chuck Klausing calls it his "incentive plan." Last year the two units combined for 258.3 rushing yards a game. In all, 17 offensive "regulars" return. Defensively, Carnegie-Mellon allowed fewer points (5.3 per game) than any team in the division, and most of the D is back, too.
In 1982 Jim Chapman took over a Case Western Reserve team that had lost 22 games in a row, and he guided the Spartans to a 5-3 finish. Last year the Spartans went 8-1 as the defense, led by linebacker Fred Manley's 118 tackles, yielded only 11.9 points a game. With an eye toward this season, Chapman's 1983 Christmas card to the players read 9-0 AND NUMBER I IN THE NCAC [Ohio's new North Coast Athletic Conference] AND NCAA.
Hope's hopes ride on the arm of Greg Heeres, the No. 6 passer in the division in '83 and No. 2 in '82. Occidental has two threats, tailback Vance Mueller, the No. 2 scorer in the nation who ran for 14 touchdowns and won the division long-jump title with a leap of 24'1", and safety Doug Porter, a two-time Division III decathlon champ.
Coach J.R. Bishop directs a flying circus at Wheaton (Ill.), and his son Keith wings it. Last fall Keith threw for 3,274 yards and 24 TDs. Bishop College in Dallas has David Parker, who has passed for 6,104 yards in three years. However, the most efficient passer in the division is Joe Shield of Trinity (Conn.), who connected on 135 of 238 attempts (56.7%) for 2,185 yards and 19 touchdowns in '83.
3. WORCESTER TECH
9. CASE WESTERN RESERVE