Olivet College football team to play Central (Iowa) in first round of NCAA Playoffs

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OLIVET, Mich. – The Olivet College football team will travel to play Central (Iowa) College in the first round of the 2007 NCAA Division III Playoffs. Kickoff from Ron and Joyce Schipper Stadium in Pella will be noon CT.

Olivet received the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association’s automatic berth to the playoffs. The Comets shared the league title with Hope College, as both teams finished the regular season with a 6-1 MIAA record. Olivet secured its first-ever bid to the playoffs by virtue of its 28-25 win over the Flying Dutchmen Nov. 10.

With a perfect 10-0 overall and 8-0 Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference record, Central received the IIAC’s automatic bid to the playoffs. The Dutch captured its record 29th league championship with a 17-14 win over Wartburg (Iowa) College.

The Comets, making their first-ever trip to the national playoffs, have several Lansing area players on the roster, who made significant contributions to the team.

On offense, senior Chris Smith (Dimondale/Holt) led the Olivet receiving corps with 56 catches for 783 yards and 10 touchdowns. His receiving yards broke the school’s single-season record. Along with a two-point conversion catch, Smith has a team-leading 62 points scored. Senior Ron Tyner (Grand Ledge) has started every game on the line at right tackle, while senior Adam Barr (Lansing/Holt) and sophomore David Norris (Dimondale/Holt) have seen significant playing time as back-ups on the line.

On defense, junior Michael Terranova (Lansing/Lansing Catholic) ranks third on the team in total tackles (67) to go along with four interceptions and four pass break-ups. Senior Marc Miller (Sunfield/Lake Odessa) began the year as the starting free safety before moving to a starting position on the line at the start of league play. The move paid off, as he has 53 total tackles, including a team-leading 14 for loss yardage and six quarterback sacks.

On special teams, sophomore Ryan Patten (Charlotte) has punted 54 times for 2,300 yards, a 43.1 average. His long punt was 58 yards and 12 have landed inside the opponent’s 20. Patten, who was selected as this week’s MIAA Special Teams Player of the Week, was ranked third in Division III in punting average.

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