Frostburg State will visit undefeated Wilkes College in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., on Saturday in both teams' first appearance in the NCAA Division III football playoffs.
The Bobcats (9-1) clinched their bid Saturday with a 47-23 romp over Methodist College in Fayetteville, N.C., while Wilkes was completing a 10-0 season with a 41-14 victory over city rival Kings (Pa.) College.
Frostburg will be the first Maryland team in an NCAA football tournament since Bowie State made the Division II field five years ago and lost to Portland State, 34-17.
Wilkes won two Lambert Bowls, emblematic of Eastern small-college supremacy, in 1966 and 1968, but that was before the playoff system was instituted.
The Colonels trailed in games only twice this year and had just one close call. They had to rally from a 7-3 deficit in the final two minutes to beat Lycoming, 9-7, going 81 yards for the winning score during a driving rainstorm.
In its 32-year history, Frostburg has never played Wilkes.
It could be a battle of the Bobcats' high-scoring offense (33 points a game) against a Wilkes defense that has permitted 73 points. Opponents averaged 73 yards rushing per game against the Colonels, whose leaders are linebacker Mike McCree (89 tackles) and end Jake Cole. (14 sacks).
The Wilkes offense is nicely balanced between passing and running and features the first 1,000-yard rusher in school history, Jason Smith, and sophomore quarterback Boo Perry (147 of 252, 2,252 yards, 18 touchdowns).