By Sean Greene 4:16pm, November 30, 2012 - Updated 4:26pm, November 30, 2012
VIDEO: Sean Greene speaks with Mike DrassGameDay Preview - No. 5 Wesley at No. 2 Mary Hardin-Baylor
Where: Tiger Field - Belton High School - Belton, TX
When: 1:00pm (EST)
Broadcast: 1150AM WDEL, WDEL.com and WDEL Mobile App - Sean Greene and Jason Bowen
What: NCAA Division III Football Tournament Quarterfinal - UMHB Bracket Championship
Who: #2 Wesley (10-1, Independant) at #1 UMHB (12-0, ASC Champions)
On the Line: National Semifinal Game with winner of #1 Mt. Union and #9 Widener
Series History: Wesley leads 4-3 (Last Meeting, UMHB 32, Wesley 25 - Sept. 15, 2012)
NCAA Tournament History: Wesley 20-8, UMHB 20-10
Coaches: Wesley - Mike Drass (177-48-1, 20th year), UMHB - Pete Fredenburg (145-33, 15th year)
Another year, another post-season meeting between the South Region schools. The teams will meet for the 7th time, and the 5th time for a region championship, Saturday. Wesley broke onto the national stage by upsetting the defending national champions 46-36 in the 2005 2nd round. The Wolverines are 3-1 against the Cru in this round, winning in 2006 and 2010 in Dover and 2011 in Belton, while falling in Dover in 2007. The game in week three this year is a big reason why this contest is being played in the Lone Star State and not in the First State.
Players to Watch:
The Offensive Line - The run game was non-existent in the regular season meeting, with the combination of running and sacks leading to minus-four net yards. They must open up some holes to help Wesley improve in time of possession and give Justin Sottilare the time he needs to let his receivers make big plays. The addition of freshman Devin Filliben appears to have infused new energy into the line, only time will tell.
Matt Barile - (WR - 5'8" Junior - 34 catches, 486 yards receiving) - Matt's best game of 2012 took place in the September meeting, when he caught 7 passes for 115 yards and two touchdowns. His 5 catch, 136-yard effort last year in Belton was a big reason Wesley was able to hold on, including a 56-yard reception in the 2nd half which turned out to be Wesley's only points in the second half.
LaDarril Bailey (QB - 5'11" Senior - 39 total touchdowns, 3 interceptions) - His numbers read a lot like Shane McSweeny's did a year ago, including an incredible 26-3 touchdown-interception ratio. His accuracy has improved over the years all the way to 71 percent this season, and oh yeah, he is lightning quick as a runner with 842 yards and 13 more touchdowns. Wesley must keep him contained in the pocket, but even then, he has weapons.
Silvio Diaz (DT - 6'0" Junior - 47 tackles, 15.5 for loss) - Recorded three critical sacks in the first meeting. His presence inside has made it virtually impossible for Wesley to get a traditional running game going. Wesley's guards and center Tim Putman must do a better job against an All-American, which is certainly easier typed than done. His presence also keeps blockers off of linebacker Javicz Jones, who might be the best defensive player in Division III.
Wesley Will Win If: They continue to play mistake free football. Wesley turned the ball over twice in the first meeting, and it could have been worse with four fumbles. The Wolverines have turned the ball over three times this year, including the early touchdown to Mount Ida. If the turnover margin is even, the game will likely follow.
Wesley Will Lose If: They can't contain Bailey. Wesley has faced a lot of very fast quarterbacks in recent years, including Bailey three times. Usually the defense does a fantastic job of not letting the quarterback's legs beat them. Bailey's arm is very good, but his legs are even better.
UMHB Will Win If: They average 4 yards a carry. Between Bailey, Darius Wilson, and fullback Elijah Hudson the Cru have three of the top runners in the country. Wesley held that group to a collective 3.4 yards a rush in the first meeting. If UMHB can break some longer runs this time, that could help an offense which doesn't need any more octane in the tank.
UMHB Will Lose If: They don't get more production from their receivers. No receiver had more than 2 catches with the exception of running back Darius Wilson in the 1st meeting. Wilson responded with 6 catches for 76 yards and a touchdown, but getting more out of receivers like Geoff Myles and Caleb Moore could make it easier for Wesley to stymie the pistol game and keep it close.
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