DIII National Semifinal Preview: Mary Hardin-Baylor vs. Wisconsin-Whitewater

GAME: No. 4 Wisconsin-Whitewater at No. 2 Mary Hardin-Baylor

WHEN: Saturday at 2:30 p.m. at Crusader Stadium in Belton, Texas. The game will be televised on ESPN3.

WHY IT MATTERS: The winner of this game will advance to the Stagg Bowl NCAA DIII national championship game in Shenandoah, Texas on Friday, Dec. 14. This game features two storied college football programs with each team relying on their stout defense. UMHB is in the national semifinals for the third straight season, fourth time in six years, and eighth time in program history. The Cru will be trying to earn their fourth appearance overall and third straight appearance in the Stagg Bowl. Wisconsin-Whitewater is appearing in their 11th national semifinal game in program history and their first national semifinal since 2015. The Warhawks will be trying to earn their 10th appearance in the Stagg Bowl and their first since 2014. Wisconsin-Whitewater has won six national championships in program history. The Warhawks currently own the second-longest active winning streak in NCAA DIII with 18 consecutive victories. The Cru and Warhawks meet for the sixth overall time and their fourth meeting in the national semifinals. UMHB will try to earn their first-ever win over Wisconsin-Whitewater as the Warhawks won the last meeting 16-15 in the 2013 national semifinals also played at Crusader Stadium. 

INSIDE THE STATS: Both teams rely heavily on their defense. Wisconsin-Whitewater has only allowed 225.8 total yards per game this season while Mary Hardin-Baylor has only allowed 209.9 yards per game. The Warhawks are allowing 3.4 yards per play and 0.130 points per play while the Cru are only allowing 3.3 yards per play and 0.118 points per play. Both teams also feature balanced offenses as Wisconsin-Whitewater averages 204.4 passing yards and 254 rushing yards per game. The Warhawks are averaging seven yards per play and 0.673 points per play. UMHB averages 215.2 passing yards per game and 249.7 rushing yards per game. The Cru are averaging 7.2 yards per play and 0.887 points per play.

COMPUTER SCORE PREDICTION: Mary Hardin-Baylor 35, Wisconsin-Whitewater 24 

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