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Monmouth draws Illinois Wesleyan in first round of playoffs



The waiting is over, the Monmouth College football team will meet Illinois Wesleyan in the first round of the NCAA Division III playoffs.


It’s only the fifth time the teams have met and the first time since 1974 when the Titans pulled out a 10-9 victory over the Scots. IWU owns a 2-1-1 lead in the series which began in 1898. The Titans took the second meeting that season 11-0 after a 0-0 draw in the inaugural contest. They didn’t meet again until 1923 when Monmouth won 19-7.


Illinois Wesleyan is ranked 17th in this week’s American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) poll, and the Scots are No. 23.


It’s the fourth trip to the playoffs for Monmouth (9-1) – the champions of the Midwest Conference – since 2005. The Fighting Scots ended the regular season with the division’s top ranked offense in terms of scoring (49.3) and yardage (556.7). Monmouth’s only loss – a 35-28 decision to Wartburg – came in the first game of the season. Since that time, the Scots posted a perfect 9-0 Midwest Conference mark to claim their third league crown in four years. The Scots have been held under 40 points just once since the opening game, but still posted a 10-3 win over MWC preseason favorite St. Norbert in Week 5.


The Titans (9-1) were the runners up in the CCIW and rolled up more than 344 yards of offense per game. Their defense has been stingy, allowing just over 11 points per game. IWU posted shutouts in two of their first three games as they won six straight to open the season.


Kickoff Saturday at Bloomington’s Tucci Stadium is set for noon. Tickets will be on sale at the gate and are $8 for adults, $6 for senior citizens over age 62 and $4 for students with IDs. Children under three are free. The gates will open at 10 a.m., and a Monmouth tailgate event is planned in the parking lot east of the Shirk Center (south of the football field). For fans unable to attend, live stats and audio will be available on the web at Fans should then select “Football” and click on the “2011 Schedule” link, then “Details” to access the feeds.