It has been 29 years since a Hillsdale College football team has made it through the regular season unscathed. In 1982, the Chargers reeled off 12 straight before losing to Mesa State 18-9 in the second round of the NAIA playoffs.
You have to pretty much pencil in a loss here or there and it really doesn't matter that much who beats you. If you expect to be a contender for league titles and D2 playoff berths, you can't let it happen much though.
Even after a shocking defeat by Ohio Dominican two weeks ago, Hillsdale finds itself in a position now to take over sole possession of 1st place with a win over Wayne State. Ironically, it was a win over Wayne State that clinched that a share of the 1992 league title.
Hillsdale got some help last week when Ashland knocked off previously unbeaten Wayne State, creating a 3-way tie at the top with Hillsdale, WSU, and Ashland at 5-1 in league play. Last night, Hillsdale and Wayne State got a lot of help from Saginaw Valley (and quite a bit from Ashland's disinterested performance) as the Cardinals blew out the Eagles 27-6 in front of a national television audience.
A win over Wayne would put the Chargers at 6-1 and drops Wayne into the muck of two loss teams hoping the leader somehow stumbles along the way.
Even with a win, no ring is secure, shared or otherwise. Hillsdale still faces Northwood, Findlay, and Tiffin. As we saw in the ODU game, everyone is dangerous. Playing in Findlay is especially dangerous, as it was the Oilers who ended Grand Valley's home winning streak this year, forcing 6 turnover. Five of those came on 5 straight possessions.
Hillsdale will need a great effort this week. When I talked to offensive coordinator Nate Shreffler, he said Wayne is "probably one of the most complete teams we have seen all year."
Game time is 1:30 PM at Muddy Waters Stadium in Hillsdale.
Friday, October 21, 2011
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