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2015 NAIA FCS First Round Recap

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November 21, 2015
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By Alan Grosbach, Manager of Communications and Sports Information
Photo by Gene Knudsen

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – (FCS Schedule) For the second-straight year, all eight hosts claimed victory Saturday in the first round of the 2015 NAIA Football Championship Series (FCS). The winners advance to the quarterfinals, which will be played out Nov. 28 at four campus sites.

Quarterfinal pairings will be announced Sunday at 12 p.m. CST on www.NAIA.org.

Since the NAIA returned to one division in 1997, host schools own a 200-59 (.772) record in the FCS, including a 120-32 (.789) mark in the first round. Undefeated first round host records have occurred three other times since 1997 – 1997, 2009 and 2014.

The 60th annual NAIA Football National Championship, presented by Waste Pro, is scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 19 in Daytona Beach, Fla. The City of Daytona Beach will host the event at Municipal Stadium for the second-straight season. For information on the NAIA’s partner hotels and details on the championship week schedule details, visit http://bit.ly/NAIARaceToDaytona2015. The game will be carried live on ESPN3 starting at 6 p.m. EST.

Game Notes
Game 1 – Morningside (Iowa) (11-1) def. Saint Xavier (Ill.) (7-4), 75-69 (4OT)
• Morningside (Iowa) survived a four-overtime thriller against Saint Xavier (Ill.), 75-69, in the highest combined scoring game in FCS history. The win puts the Mustangs at 2-0 all-time against Saint Xavier in the FCS with the first meeting coming in the 2012 semifinals.
• The previous combined scoring record was 113 points, which was accomplished twice (Lindenwood (Mo.) def. Lambuth, 65-48, in 2008 and Arkansas-Pine Bluff def. Western Montana, 60-53 in 1994).
• With the victory, the Mustangs advance to at least the quarterfinals for the 10th time in the last 12 seasons, including a current run of four-straight.
• The two teams combined for 1,353 yards of total offense, including 711 from the Mustangs.
• Ryan Kasdorf proved why he was recently named the Great Plains Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Year. The senior from Newhall, Calif., set the NAIA playoff record with 580 total yards. Kasdorf threw for 456 yards – the third time in his career that he has surpassed 400 yards passing – with six touchdowns and one interception. Additionally, he ran for a team-high 124 yards and one score.
• Despite the loss, Saint Xavier quarterback John Rhode also had a great performance. He tied the NAIA FCS record with seven touchdown passes and set a new career-high with 543 passing yards. Wide receivers Ryan Carroll and Stephen Simms were his top targets, as both tallied 12 catches. Carroll held the edge in yards with 209 and touchdowns with three, while Sims collected 181 yards and two scores.
• Saint Xavier – the automatic berth out of the Mid-States Football Association Midwest League – falls to 15-9 all-time in the FCS. The defeat also snapped a seven-game first round winning streak for the Cougars.
• Morningside avoided being the first top-ranked team to lose in the first round since Georgetown (Ky.) fell to Bethel (Tenn.), 45-44, in 2012.

Game 2 – Baker (Kan.) (11-1) def. Point (Ga.) (8-3), 68-21
• Baker (Kan.) cruised into the quarterfinals of the FCS with a 68-21 victory against playoff newcomer Point (Ga.). The Wildcats last advanced to the round of eight in 2013.
• Baker’s 68 points sets the program’s single-game playoff record for points in a game. The previous mark was a 56-29 win against former member William Jewell (Mo.) in the 1990 quarterfinals.
• Quarterback Logan Brettell, who was starting for only the second time this season, led the way for the Wildcats offense with a career-high 419 yards passing and school record tying six touchdowns. He completed 77.7 percent (28-for-36) of his throws in the game and was intercepted one time.
• Wide receiver Clarence Clark was the key guy for Brettell. The Phoenix, Ariz., native caught seven balls for 200 yards and four touchdowns. The performance is the fifth time that Clark has gone for more than 100 yards and at-least two touchdowns.
• Baker scored 48 of its 68 points in the second and third quarter.
• Points’ offense tallied 294 total yards – only the second time this season the Skyhawks have been held under 300 total yards.
• Point was making its first-ever appearance in the FCS. The Skyhawks received an automatic berth by winning their first-ever The Sun Conference championship.

Game 3 – Grand View (Iowa) (11-1) def. Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) (8-3), 16-13
• Freshman kicker Joey Nissen propelled the Vikings into FCS quarterfinals for the third-straight season with a 31-yard field goal in the final seconds to give Grand View (Iowa) a 16-13 win over Lindsey Wilson (Ky.).
• Nissen ended the game 2-for-2 on field goals.
• With the victory, Grand View improves to 6-2 all-time at the event and extends its current winning streak to 11 games – the longest active streak in the NAIA.
• Stingy defense highlighted the game, as neither offense recorded more than 274 yards of total offense. The Vikings limited Lindsey Wilson to a season-low 225 yards. Linebacker Jake Shoultz led the Viking defense with 10 tackles and one forced fumble.
• Viking running back Jordan Cheatem ended the afternoon with a game-high 82 yards rushing on 25 carries.
• Lindsey Wilson was appearing in the FCS for the second time in program history and second-consecutive season. The Blue Raiders are now 1-2 all-time in the event.

Game 4 – Saint Francis (Ind.) (10-0) def. Reinhardt (Ga.) (9-2), 37-26
• Saint Francis (Ind.) – the only remaining unbeaten team in NAIA football – overcame sloppy weather conditions to improve to 13-2 all-time in the FCS first round with a 37-26 win against Reinhardt (Ga.). All-time the Cougars are now 22-14 at the event, which is the most wins among the qualifying teams.
• Saint Francis has now won 12-straight first round games.
• The Cougars defense forced Reinhardt into a season-high tying five fumbles – four lost.
• Saint Francis limited the Eagles’ running game, which entered the FCS averaging an NAIA-best 360.6 yards per game, to only 240 yards on 59 attempts.
• Saint Francis running back Justin Green was the key performer for the club. The Griffin, Ind., native ran for a career-high 251 yards and three touchdowns.
• Reinhardt, which is only in its third year on intercollegiate football, was appearing in the FCS for the first time in program history. The Eagles were one-of-three teams representing the Mid-South Conference West Division.

Game 5 – Montana Tech (10-1) def. Dickinson State (N.D.) (8-3), 44-10
• Montana Tech avenged a 30-13 first round loss in the 2004 FCS with a dominant 44-10 triumph over Dickinson State (N.D.).
• The Frontier Conference champions advance to the quarterfinals for the first time since 2005 and improve to 4-7 all-time in the event.
• Running back Nolan Saraceni was the story on offense for Montana Tech. He posted his ninth game of at least 100 yards rushing with 163 yards and three touchdowns on 23 attempts. Backfield battery mate Clay Cavender also had a strong performance with 67 yards rushing and two touchdowns.
• Montana Tech outgained Dickinson State, 514-296, in the contest.
• Dickinson State was making its 16th all-time appearance – the most among the qualifiers – in the FCS. The Blue Hawks, who were the winners of the North Star Athletic Association championship, end the season with an 8-3 mark and fall to 5-16 all-time in the FCS.

Game 6 – Marian (Ind.) (9-2) def. Campbellsville (Ky.) (8-3), 44-7
• Defending national runner-up Marian (Ind.) kept its unbeaten first round record intact with a dominant 44-7 win against Campbellsville (Ky.).
• The Knights, who are appearing in their fifth all-time FCS, improve to 11-3 all-time, including a 5-0 mark in the round of 16.
• Marian never trailed in the contest, scoring 16 unanswered points to open the game. The Tigers scored their only points on a 64-yard interception return for a touchdown by Marquis Cain.
• Quarterback Hayden Northern and wide receiver Krishawn Hogan were unfazed by the snowy weather conditions. Northern threw for better than 300 yards for the fifth time this season with 312 yards and a touchdown on 20-of-35 attempts. Hogan led the Marian receiving corps with six catches for 151 yards. He hauled in the Knights’ only passing touchdown of the game, while also running for three.
• The Marian defense held the nation’s second-ranked passing offense to only 150 yards.
• With the loss, Campbellsville bows out of the FCS in the first round for the second-straight season. The Tigers fall to 1-4 all-time in the playoffs.

Game 7 – Southern Oregon (9-2) def. Kansas Wesleyan (10-2), 52-8
• Southern Oregon improved to 6-0 all-time in the FCS first round in dominant fashion Saturday evening in a 52-8 win against Kansas Wesleyan.
• The Raiders look to become the first team to repeat as national champion since former member Sioux Falls (S.D.) accomplished the feat in 2008 and 2009.
• Southern Oregon scored all 52 points consecutively before Kansas Wesleyan lit its side of the scoreboard with 5:51 left in the fourth quarter.
• Dual threat quarterback Tanner Trosin led a dominant Southern Oregon offense with 365 yards passing and three touchdowns against the Coyotes. He completed 81.3 percent (26-for-32) of his throws in the contest. Trosin also ran for 90 yards – second-best total in the game – and a touchdown.
• Running back Louis Macklin tallied a season-high 130 yards rushing on 12 carries, including a 71-yard touchdown scamper in the fourth quarter.
• Overall, the Raiders outgained Kansas Wesleyan, 691-303. Southern Oregon’s 691 yards of total offense is a new season-high.
• Defensively, Southern Oregon sacked the Kansas Wesleyan quarterback five times, including three by Sam Woods and two from Sean Rogers.
• Kansas Wesleyan had previously been limited 25-points-or-less only once this season – 14-7 against Tabor (Kan.) on Oct. 17.
• Kansas Wesleyan is now 0-3 all-time in the FCS. This year’s appearance was the first for the Coyotes since 2002.

Game 8 – Tabor (Kan.) (11-1) def. Doane (Neb.) (9-2), 16-14
• Tabor (Kan.) prevailed 16-14 against Doane (Neb.) in a battle of two of the NAIA’s top defenses.
• With the win, the Bluejays, who were hosting their first playoff game in school history, push their winning streak to 10 games. The run is second to only Grand View’s (Iowa) current 11-game streak.
• Tabor is now 3-4 in five appearances in the FCS.
• Tabor was outgained in the contest, 303-249, however won the turnover battle, capitalizing on six Doane miscues.
• Running back D’Marco Smith led the Bluejay ground game with 74 yards, while quarterback Simon McKee threw for 160 yards and one touchdown.
• The loss is the second-straight for Doane, which won nine in-a-row to open the year. The Tigers were making their first FCS appearance since 1999, which snaps the longest drought among the qualifying teams that had at least one previous trip.

Notes – Portions of the above information is credit of the participating institutions.

Championship Information

NAIA Football Championship