Wolves jump to third in regional rankings

Wolves jump to third in regional rankings
Monday, October 31, 2016 | by Randall Stewart, Director of Athletic Communications

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Newberry is ranked No. 3 in the latest Super Region 2 rankings from the NCAA, representing the team’s highest spot in the rankings since 2006.

The Wolves entered last Saturday’s contest with Lenoir-Rhyne as the fifth-ranked team in the region, but moved up two slots after clinching at least a share of the South Atlantic Conference championship, setting a school record with 729 yards of offense, and establishing a new conference record with 39 first downs in a 53-14 drubbing of the Bears.

Valdosta State fell from second to seventh in the rankings after a surprise 38-20 loss on the road to Florida Tech, the only team to defeat Newberry this season, on Saturday night. The Wolves also leapt over Tuskegee, which fell from third to fourth despite a 42-14 win over Central State. Tuskegee must obtain a waiver from the NCAA or schedule a game on Nov. 12 to be eligible for this year’s playoffs due to having just nine games on the schedule this season.

North Alabama retained its No. 1 ranking by defeating Delta State 49-19 on Saturday afternoon, while UNC Pembroke moved from fourth to second after defeating West Virginia State 44-14. West Alabama, Florida Tech, and Valdosta State follow the Wolves to make up the rest of the top seven. West Georgia, North Greenville, and Wingate round out this week’s rankings.

The top seven teams in the final regional rankings will advance to the 2016 Division II Football Championship. Newberry would host a first-round playoff game on Nov. 19 if it remains in the top four and could clinch a potential second-round home game by finishing in the top two.

The Wolves were ranked No. 1 in the region for several weeks during an 11-2 campaign in 2006. Top seeds receive a first-round bye in the current playoff format.

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