With the conclusion of the 2023 NJCAA Division III Football regular season and the final poll being released, the NJCAA has announced the College of DuPage (IL) and Rochester Community and Technical College (MN) have been selected to play in the 2023 NJCAA Division III Football National Championship Game. The Chaparrals and Yellowjackets will face off at Bjarne Ullsvik Stadium on the campus of College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn, IL, on Saturday, December 2 at 12:00 PM CT. The championship game will stream on ESPN+ for the second consecutive year.
This matchup will be the second meeting between these two squads in the 2023 season. The Chaps traveled to Rochester on September 2nd and the two programs took part in a fantastic game. The game was tied at 14 going into the half before a Peyton O’Laughlin 30-yard touchdown pass broke the tie in the third quarter. The Chaps would go on to win 24-21.
DuPage was named the preseason No. 1 team following winning back-to-back Division III Football National Championships. The Chaparrals have remained the No. 1 team for the entirety of the 2023 season and finished the season with a 10-1 record. The Chaps’ only loss this season came to Division I Iowa Central, who was ranked within the top 5 at the time. The Chaps feature one of the best offensive attacks in the country. They lead the nation in total offense and points per game, averaging 35.5. They are in the top 5 in the country in both rushing and passing offenses. Quarterback Peyton O’Laughlin is tied for the nation’s lead in passing touchdowns with 16, while also throwing for 1,424 yards across 11 games. Jaden McGill leads the Chap backfield, rushing for 633 yards and nine touchdowns. DuPage features four different backs with at least 250+ yards on the season. Sophomore wideout Fabian Baez has been a favorite target of O’Laughlin, leading the team in catches (16), yards (338), and touchdowns (5). Sophomore defensive back Guy Goss was named 2022 NJCAA DIII Football Defensive Player of the Year after an outstanding season. Goss has put together another strong season for the Chaps. Goss leads the team in tackles with 61, along with a forced fumble, and five tackles for loss. The sophomore’s 47 solo tackles are third in the nation.
The Yellowjackets make their first NJCAA Division III National Championship game appearance, and second NJCAA Football Championship game in school history (2015). Rochester won the Minnesota College Athletic Conference (MCAC) title by defeating the defending MCAC Champions in North Dakota SCS by a 24-16 final. This was their second win over North Dakota SCS this season. The Rochester ariel attack has been one of the best in Division III. Quarterback Devin Watson has thrown for 1,623 yards and 15 touchdowns on the year. He has also only thrown four interceptions while maintaining a 55.3% completion percentage. Linebacker Martell Williams has given them a ton of juice off the edge, holding 22.5 tackles for loss, nine sacks, 4 forced fumbles, and a nation-leading 98 total tackles. Sophomore D-Lineman Mario Mendoza has also collected double-digit tackles for loss and 8.5 sacks. Williams and Mendoza each rank in the top 5 for sacks in the country.
Bjarne Ullsvik Stadium has played host to the Red Grange Bowl since 2016.
For all national championship updates, visit: 2023 NJCAA Division III Football Championship