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UMAC, independent football preview

  • September 6, 2013 - 6:51 AM

A look at the Minnesota teams in the ten-member UMAC:

• St. Scholastica (8-3 overall, 7-1 UMAC in 2012): The Saints, who were voted No. 1 in the UMAC coaches preseason poll, have won 20 of their past 21 UMAC games and reached the Division III playoffs in each of the past two seasons. The Saints return 13 starters, including junior QB Tyler Harper, who threw 18 TD passes. The Eagles led the league in defense last season.

• Northwestern (8-3, 7-1): The Eagles, who tied St. Scholastica and Greenville for the UMAC title last season, were picked No. 3 in the preseason poll. The Eagles return 16 starters but will have to replace Josh Balzer, a three-year starter at QB, and their top four tacklers from last season.

• Minnesota-Morris (6-4, 5-3): The Cougars, coming off their best season since 2006, were picked No. 5 in the preseason poll. Senior WR Brendon Foss, who caught 54 passes in seven games, and junior LB Cody Hickman, who led the Cougars with 119 tackles, highlight 16 returning starters.

• Martin Luther (4-6, 2-6): The Knights, picked No. 8 in the preseason poll, return 12 starters but have several key losses on defense. QB Luke Rothe and RB Matt Olson, who earned starting berths as freshmen last season, return.

• Crown (2-8, 2-7): The Storm, picked No. 10 in the preseason poll, look to be improved with 17 returning starters. Coach John Auer welcomes 50 newcomers, giving the Storm its largest squad in school history, and the team will unveil its new stadium.

 

INDEPENDENT

• Macalester (6-4): The Scots are 16-12 over the past three seasons — their best three-year mark since 1985-87. The Scots have 12 returning starters among 30 returning lettermen, but coach Tony Jennison will have to replace 18 seniors — including QB Clark Bledsoe, the team MVP last season, and RB T. Joe Loiselle, the school’s career leading rusher.

JOEL RIPPEL

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