Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

North Alabama Making Div. II Its Private Domain

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

North Alabama Making Div. II Its Private Domain

Article excerpt

Northwestern isn't the only team in purple uniforms making noise in college football this season.

Although North Alabama's roar has been louder and longer than the Wildcats', it still hasn't been heard.

North Alabama is two victories away from a third successive Division II national title. A semifinal victory Saturday over No. 3 Ferris State (12-0) would give North Alabama 40 wins in three years, a feat never before accomplished in college football.

"It's really amazing if you sit and think about it, I guess," said quarterback Cody Gross.

The Lions' resume is so staggering that coach Bobby Wallace has lost track of all the jewels. Here's a sampling of the Lions' three-year path of destruction:

National champions in 1993 and '94 with a 27-1 record. They outscored their opponents 1,005-430. The only loss came last year to I-AA Youngstown State, which was ranked No. 1 at the time.

A 12-0 record this season for a 39-1 mark over three years.

Ranked No. 1 in Division II for 27 consecutive weeks.

A 21-game winning streak that is second only to Nebraska's 24.

39-0 against Division II opponents.

24-0 at home.

16-0 against ranked opponents in Division II.

20-0 against Division II opponents outside the Gulf South Conference.

"I can't even keep up with it now," said Wallace, who once was an assistant at Division I powers Auburn and Illinois. "It takes a special group of young men."

The problem is, no matter how many numbers the Lions put up, they can't get any recognition. Big-time college fans would scoff at North Alabama's streak - if they've even heard of it - because it's been done at a lower level.

Wallace says football is football. "It's no different at all," said Wallace, who has 36 of 95 players on athletic scholarship. "We've got a lot players who can play at that level. The competition is there every week. …

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