Football Week 2 Preview Saturday, Sept. 21 at Washington University in St. Louis

Setting the Scene: Two weeks removed from an impressive season-opening performance, the Cardinals hit the road once again to begin the chase for a fourth straight conference title.

Series History: This is the seventh football meeting between the institutions. The Cardinals have won five of the previous six encounters, including all three meetings in St. Louis.

North Central won last year's game at Benedetti-Wehrli Stadium, 32-19, after taking a 22-0 lead into halftime. The Bears' comeback effort featured 66- and 40-yard touchdown passes from Johnny Davidson to Jason Singer, but the Cardinals' lead never dipped below 12 points as they outgained WashU, 577-367, and owned a nearly 14-minute advantage in time of possession.

Broc Rutter threw for 379 yards and three scores, setting a North Central single-game record with 35 completions. Andrew Kamienski caught a game-high nine passes for 130 yards and Ethan Greenfield gained 103 yards on 16 rushing attempts. DJ Warkenthien totaled 14 tackles and Jake Beesley intercepted two passes.

Davidson completed 30 of 43 passes for 300 yards and led the Bears' ground game with 43 yards on 11 carries. Singer made eight catches for 156 yards, while Jusin DiCarlo intercepted a pass and recovered a fumble.

National Rankings: North Central is ranked No. 5 nationally in the most recent NCAA Division III National Top 25 Poll released by D3football.com.

WashU moves into the Top 25 this week at No. 24, marking its highest-ever ranking in D3football.com's poll.

Four of the CCIW's 10 football programs are ranked among the Top 25 this week. The Cardinals and Bears are joined by 17th-ranked Wheaton and 18th-ranked Illinois Wesleyan.

Scouting the Bears: WashU got its season started with a bang on Sept. 7, routing Chicago, 43-7, to retain possession of the Founders Cup, the traveling trophy between the two teams.

The Bears rolled up 561 yards of offense, 406 of which came through the air. Davidson completed 26 of 38 passes for 341 yards and tossed five TD passes to four different receivers.

Senior linebacker Jarrod Huther recorded a game-high 15 tackles, including two of the team's 12 tackles for loss and a forced fumble, while another senior linebacker, Jeff Marek, made 11 total stops.

This Season for the Cardinals: North Central has been idle since opening the 2019 campaign with a 43-13 victory at Christopher Newport on Sept. 7.

The Cardinals scored three touchdowns in the first 10 minutes of play and dominated throughout, owning a 508-212 advantage in total offensive yards and going without a punt or a turnover all afternoon long.

Rutter completed 27 of 36 passes for 369 yards, throwing for three scores and running for another. He completed passes to nine different receivers, led by Kamienski (nine catches, 103 yards) and Blake Williams (five for 102).

Dakota Cremeens pounced on the ball in the end zone after a botched snap on a CNU punt attempt to collect North Central's first special-teams touchdown of the year, while Beesley and Isiah Ziegler intercepted passes for a defense which limited seven of the Captains' 11 possessions to four plays or less.

The Cardinals have won their last five season openers, three of which have come on the road.

Offensive Line Honored After Win: North Central's starting offensive line, consisting of left tackle Colton Bauknecht, left guard Sharmore Clarke, center Jarod Thornton, right guard Ricky Strba and right tackle Jake Fiedler, was honored with a selection to the D3football.com Team of the Week following the victory over the Captains.

This is the second straight year the Cardinals' line has received such a distinction, having been so honored following last season's 55-12 victory over Millikin. Bauknecht, Clarke and Strba were in that group as well.

Preseason All-America Honors: Clarke, Rutter, Kamienski and Tommy Hyland were named to the D3football.com Preseason All-America Teams, matching the largest representation the Cardinals have ever had.

Clarke was named to the First Team, while Rutter, Kamienski and Hyland were each selected to the Third Team.

Clarke and Hyland also appeared on the Lindy's Sports All-Division III Teams, and Clarke was also featured on Street & Smith's Preseason All-America Team.

CCIW Preseason Poll:The Cardinals were predicted to finish first in the CCIW this season by the annual Preseason Coaches' Poll released in early August.

North Central received seven of the 10 first-place votes to sit atop the poll ahead of Wheaton, Illinois Wesleyan, Washington and Carthage.

The poll was rounded out by Millikin, Augustana, Elmhurst, Carroll and North Park.

The Cardinals shared the 2018 CCIW title, bringing the championship trophy to Naperville for the third straight year and the 11th time in the last 13 seasons.

North Central Career Rankings: Rutter currently ranks second in the Cardinals' history in completions, yards, touchdowns, and pass attempts (1,068). He established new North Central single-season records for completions (269), attempts (385) and yards (3,539) in 2018.

Rutter needs just two TD passes to match the all-time record of 91 set by Kniss from 2003-2006. Kniss also holds the current career records for completions (707), attempts (1,260) and yards (10,226).

Kamienski sits fifth in receptions (129), seventh in receiving yards (1,738) and ninth in receiving touchdowns (15) and punt return yards (273), while Talha Ayhan ranks 15th in quarterback sacks (11.5).

Around the CCIW: Conference play begins for all 10 CCIW football teams this week.

Carroll travels to Carthage, while Millikin visits North Park, Elmhurst plays at Augustana and Illinois Wesleyan goes to Wheaton.

This Day in Cardinal Football History: 2002 vs. Colorado College – Trailing, 20-14, heading into the fourth quarter, the Cardinals scored on a trio of touchdown passes from quarterback Pete Brown to pull ahead for a 35-20 victory, the first of head coach John Thorne’s tenure on the North Central sideline. Brown threw four total TD passes in the game, three of which were caught by Brad Spencer.

The win over Colorado College was the first of six victories for John Thorne's 2002 team, which was the highest single-season total by a Cardinal team in 15 years at the time.

'Red Zone' Returns in 2019: Once again, fans of North Central College football can get an insider's look at the Cardinals' football program, as 'The Red Zone' highlight show returns for its 11th season on Naperville Community Television, Channel 17.

The show airs each Thursday at 8 p.m., Friday at 12:30 a.m., 10:00 a.m., 3:30, 7:00 and 9:30 p.m., Saturday at 12:30 and 10:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. It will feature interviews with coaches and players, highlights of the previous week's game, and a look ahead to the upcoming opponent.

Each show is viewable online at nctv17.com and is archived at youtube.com/northcentralsports as well as at northcentralcardinals.com.

Download the free North Central Cardinals app, available for iOS and Android devices, to receive up-to-the-minute news, scores and updates on your favorite North Central teams. Click HERE for more information.

Created By
Clark Teuscher


Steve Woltmann, Ben Leistensnider