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TOP 20 LOWER DIVISIONS

Aug. 25, 1997
Aug. 25, 1997

Table of Contents
Aug. 25, 1997

Faces In The Crowd
College Football 97

TOP 20 LOWER DIVISIONS

Division I-AA '96 Returning
Record Starters

This is an article from the Aug. 25, 1997 issue

1. Montana 14-1 8 Quarterback Brian Ah Yat threw 42 touchdown passes last season, a Big Sky record

2. William & Mary 10-3 15 Mike Cook was
the ECAC's top-ranked passer last year (148.6 QB rating)

3. Youngstown State 8-3 17 Linebacker
Kawonza Swan led the Penguins in tackles (80) as a freshman

4. Jackson State 10-2 14 Cornerback
Quincy Coleman heads up talented defense

5. Northern Arizona 9-3 17 Travis Brown
passed for 3,398 yards, most ever by Division I-AA freshman

6. Howard 10-2 16 Ted (Sweet Flight)
White's '96 passing stats: 2,812 yards, 36 TDs

7. Northern Iowa 12-2 11 Seven Gateway
Conference titles in a row, but Youngstown State is a new league
foe

8. Florida A&M 9-3 10 Quarterback Oteman
Sampson is a dual threat: 2,814 aerial yards, nine rushing TDs

9. Delaware 8-4 14 Courtney Batts and Eddie
Conti give Fightin' Blue Hens top I-AA receiving duo

10. Dayton 11-0 11 Quarterback Kevin Johns and DB
Gary McKinley help Flyers to 21st straight winning season

11. Troy State 12-2 10 Fullback Joe Jackson
rushed for 959 yards and 17 TDs in '96

12. Duquesne 10-1 18 No football scholarships,
no problem: Dukes unbeaten in '96 regular season

13. Furman 9-4 15 Solid defense anchored by end
Bryan Dalier (14 sacks last year)

14. Eastern Illinois 8-4 13 Mike Simpson returns
after completing a school-record 66% of his throws as a junior

15. Western Illinois 9-3 11 Quarterback Jeff
Hecklinski (1,904 passing yards in '96) is back

16. Southern 7-4 16 Running back Melvin
Williams, star in '95, returns after missing '96 with academic
woes

17. St. Mary's (Calif.) 7-3 13 Winners of 15
straight at home, Gaels counting on rifle-armed Sean Laird

18. Northwestern State 6-5 12 Demons defense
gave up 15.1 points per game last season, No. 12 in Division I-AA

19. Stephen F. Austin 7-4 13 Curtis James
expected to return to star form at DE after injury-plagued
junior season

20. Eastern Kentucky 6-5 13 Linebacker Britt
Bowen was solid as a brick last year: 122 tackles, 11 1/2 for
losses

Division II '96 Returning
Record Starters

1. Carson-Newman 12-2 18 Last season's runner-up looks to win first Division II title

2. Texas A&M-Kingsville 8-3 16 Jeremy Burnell averaged 5.5 yards a carry in '96 and was the team's top
receiver

3. Pittsburg State 8-3 15 Gorillas have rushed for an NCAA-best 44,195 yards since 1986

4. Northern Colorado 12-3 16 Defending champs will rely on tailback Billy Holmes (1,074 rushing yards in '96)

5. West Georgia 9-3 17 Toby Strange set Braves passing record (2,648 yards) and threw for 24 TDs

6. Nebraska-Omaha 10-2 18 Mavericks vaulted from ninth to first in the North Central Conference last season

7. Northwest Missouri State 11-2 14 Derek Lane seeks to fill rushing void (1,890 yards, 20 TDs) left by Jesse Haynes

8. California-Davis 8-5 13 All-America Josh Anstey is a monster at defensive end; witness his 15 sacks in '96

9. Clarion 11-3 13 Golden Eagles led division in scoring last year, averaging 43.5 points a game

10. Bloomsburg 10-2 11 Running back Irvin
Sigler should help bring second straight playoff appearance

11. Ferris State 10-2 10 Linebackers Sean McLafferty, Cade Prielipp and Jeff Fisher anchor the Huskies'
defense

12. Chadron State 10-2 14 Quarterback Trevor Moon, who passed for 2,025 yards and 16 TDs last season, returns

13. Catawba 9-2 14 Indians were only Division
II team to beat Carson-Newman in regular season last fall

14. Valdosta State 10-3 9 Blazers must replace Lance Funderburk, who passed for 4,226 yards, 38 TDs in '96

15. North Carolina Central 8-3 13 Eagles, coming off their best season since '88, will soar on strong defense

16. Grand Valley State 8-3 18 Lakers
snapped Ferris State's 42-game regular-season winning streak
last year

17. Central Oklahoma 9-3 14 Linebacker Johnny Luter (163 tackles a year ago) is the cornerstone of defense

18. Albany State 8-3 14 Wide receiver Vincent Huff (17.1 yards per catch in '96) is a breakaway threat

19. Western State 6-5 15 Linebacker Shane Carwin's 14.6 tackles a game led Rocky Mountain Conference

20. East Stroudsburg 6-4 17 Damian Poalucci, who passed for a school-record 3,831 yards in '96, is back

Division III '96 Returning
Record Starters

1. Mount Union 14-0 14 Purple Raiders, 80-6-1 in the '90s, poised to repeat as champions

2. Albright 9-1 19 Lions defense allowed 67.2 rushing yards per game in '96

3. Albion 9-1 11 Offensive juggernaut:
Britons averaged 538 yards, 50.8 points a game last season

4. Rowan 10-3 18 Profs itching for a rematch with Mount Union in title game

5. Simpson (Iowa) 10-1 22 Explosive Storm averaged 497.4 yards and 45.9 points a game in '96

6. Washington & Jefferson 8-2 19 Presidents' 11 consecutive conference championships is longest streak in nation

7. Lycoming 11-1 13 Linebacker Brett Zalonis: 154 tackles, 11 interceptions over last two seasons

8. Wisconsin-La Crosse 11-2 10 Eagles have won 89% of games, two national titles in '90s

9. St. John's (Minn.) 11-1 9 Coach John Gagliardi's 336 victories are second in NCAA behind Eddie Robinson's 405

10. Allegheny 10-1 10 Gators quarterback
Kyle Adamson completed 65.4% of passes in '96

11. Catholic 7-2 14 Wide receiver Jeff
Clay's 162.2 reception yards per game led Division III last season

12. DePauw 9-1 16 No tall tale: 6'6" Bernie
Haskins passed for 2,632 yards and 28 TDs last fall

13. Wisconsin-Whitewater 8-2 14 Warhawks stalwart Eddie McKennie averaged 6.9 yards per carry last season

14. College of New Jersey 8-3 17 Lions, led by linebacker James Reilly, are ready for big time

15. Illinois-Wesleyan 10-1 14 Titans star linebackers John Munch and Jeff Zigmant anchor terrific defense

16. Marietta 7-3 15 Dante Brown, Division III's best player, had 2,973 all-purpose yards in '96

17. Widener 7-3 18 Little big man: 5'2" Leon Payne rushed for 1,000 yards last season as a freshman

18. Wesley (Del.) 7-2 19 Three-time All-America Brandon Steinheim's 100-yard rushing streak is at 19 games

19. Wittenberg 9-1 13 Tigers have won more
games (572) than any other Division III team

20. Amherst 7-1 13 Jeffs' stingy defense
yielded a Division III-low 8.4 points per game in '96

COLOR PHOTO: ROBERT ROGERS [Football player]