W&J Ranked In Sporting News Division III Football Preseason Top 25
WASHINGTON, Pa. -- Sporting News College Football Yearbook released the first NCAA Division III Preseason Top 25 poll recently and Washington & Jefferson was listed as the magazine’s No. 19 ranked team.
The Presidents return 13 starters (8 offense, 5 defense) from last year’s 8-3 squad which won the program’s 22nd Presidents’ Athletic Conference championship. W&J earned the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA playoffs, but lost at Johns Hopkins 42-10 in the first round.
Senior wide receiver Alex Baroffio (Bethel Park, Pa./Bethel Park) leads the group of returnees after producing 78 catches for 679 yards and five touchdowns last season. Baroffio, who owns a 23-game streak with at least one reception, enters his senior year with 178 catches, leaving him only 15 shy of becoming the school’s career leader.
Senior safety B.J. Monacelli (Cassadaga, N.Y./Cassadaga) is the returning tackle (59) and interception (3) leader, while junior defensive end Jon Lowery (Pittsburgh, Pa./North Allegheny) racked up a team-high 7.5 sacks last fall.
Linfield (Ore.) is the preseason No. 1 team according to TSN, while defending national champion Mount Union is second. Wisconsin-Whitewater, St. Thomas (Minn.), Mary Hardin-Baylor (Texas), Wesley (Del.), Wittenberg (Ohio), Wisconsin-Oshkosh, Johns Hopkins (Md.) and North Central (Ill.) round out the top 10 teams.
The PAC has two teams ranked as Waynesburg is 22nd following its 10-1 campaign in which the Yellow Jackets won the ECAC Southwest Bowl. W&J and Waynesburg meet in the PAC Backyard Brawl on Nov. 10 at Cameron Stadium (1:30 pm).
Washington & Jefferson and 11th-year Head Coach Mike Sirianni (93-21 record, .816) start the 2013 season with three-straight road games. The Presidents open at Wooster on Sept. 7 (7:00 pm) before traveling to St. John Fisher (1:00 pm) and Grove City (7:00 pm) the next two weeks. The home opener also corresponds with Homecoming Weekend at the college as W&J entertains Thiel at 2:00 pm. Six of W&J’s games this season feature 7:00 pm kickoffs.