The last time Augustana got beat was in the 1982 Stagg Bowl. Since then, the Vikings have won 24 consecutive games, including the last two Stagg Bowls. Last year's championship was the more remarkable of the two because the Vikings had just five returning starters. This season, coach Bob Reade welcomes back 14. So we'll go way out on a limb and predict that the Vikings will be the life of a third straight Stagg party.
Dayton noseguard Mike Harmeyer enjoys aerobic dancing and making sand castles with his feet. This is the guy coach Mike Kelly says is "just plain nasty"? Well, to be honest, he takes aerobics with his teammates. As for the sand castles, they're doctor's orders. Molding crude battlements and moats with his feet is therapy for a broken left ankle Harmeyer suffered in last year's playoff loss to Augustana. And a fateful fracture it was. With Dayton leading 13-8 in the fourth quarter, Harmeyer shot a gap, got doubled sideways and, in the bargain, cracked his left tibia. The Vikings drove 80 yards for a TD and won 14-13.
Dayton gave Baldwin-Wallace its only loss last year, 22-21, and the Yellow Jackets should be strong again with three All-Americas among the returnees, including linebacker Kert Bodicker. Occidental's football team would have fared quite well at this year's Division III outdoor track and field championships. Running back Vance Mueller (long jump, sprints) and defensive backs Doug Porter (pole vault, decathlon) and Todd Stoney (sprints) accounted for 33 of the school's 46 fourth-place points at the meet, and all three are back.
Forgive Wisconsin-LaCrosse's Tom Newberry if he's unimpressed by Occidental's track and field prowess. Perhaps the best offensive lineman in the division, Newberry won the discus and shot-put at the same meet. But Wisconsin-River Falls will win the Wisconsin State University Conference because it has 18 returning first-teamers.
Central of Iowa reached the division's championship game last season but won't be there in '85. The Flying Dutchmen will still be tough, though, behind immovable noseguard Rich Thomas. At Plymouth (N.H.) State, halfback Joe Dudek seems likely to surpass Walter Payton's NCAA touchdown record of 66. Dudek needs 13 TDs to be No. 1. After a season of "fiddling around with it," Ithaca quarterback Steve Kass has a hard grip on the Bombers' splitback veer option—and reality. "Even if I pitch or hand off," he says with resignation, "if the fakes are good enough, I should get hit." With 4.6 speed, Kass escaped enough hits last fall to score 10 touchdowns.
Hofstra linebacker Larry Galizia hits hard enough to have made 119 tackles last fall and to have been a quarterfinalist in the New York State Golden Gloves tournament in 1984. Anchoring the offense will be 6'3", 260-pound tackle Gary Hotra. Widener's best player is wide receiver John Roche, who runs a 4.5 40 and could be a pro in '86. The Pioneers, who have an unusually green secondary, open against a Norwich team that returns one of the division's top quarterbacks, Mike Gallagher.
Washington & Jefferson coach John Luckhardt must replace his quarterback, Mike John, who quit football to concentrate on academics. "A distinctly Division III problem," says Luckhardt, who isn't asking for pity. Among his 17 returning starters are DeWayne Jeter, the division's No. 3 kick returner in '84, and sophomore tailback A.J. Pagano, who scored 12 TDs.
Following doctor's orders was a day at the beach this summer for Dayton's Harmeyer.
7. Central (Iowa)
8. Washington & Jefferson
9. Wisconsin-River Falls