NAIA Game of the Week
No. 10 Benedictine (Kan.) (3-0, 1-0 HAAC) at No. 23 Peru State (Neb.) (3-0, 1-0 HAAC)
Saturday, Sept. 28 | 6 p.m. CDT | Auburn High School Stadium | Auburn, Neb.
Live Stats | Live Video (Peru State) | Live Audio (Peru State)
• First-place in the Heart of America Athletic Conference (HAAC) is up for grabs as the conference’s remaining two unbeaten teams take to the field Saturday when No. 10 Benedictine (Kan.) visits No. 23 Peru State (Neb.). Due to the ongoing renovation at the Bobcats’ historic Oak Bowl, the contest will be played at Auburn High School in Auburn, Neb.
• Currently, five teams (Benedictine, Peru State, No. 9 Missouri Valley, Central Methodist (Mo.) and Evangel (Mo.)) – all in action Saturday – are tied atop the HAAC standings with 1-0 records.
• Saturday marks the 31st meeting between the two sides and the first featuring two ranked teams since 1994. Benedictine owns a 16-14 edge in the all-time series, including its current run of eight-straight victories.
• In 2012, the Ravens scored 35 unanswered points to open the game en route to a 49-7 victory over Peru State on Sept. 22. Quarterback Bill Noonan completed 10-of-14 passes for 148 yards and a then-season-high four touchdowns, while tailback Cameron Fore led the ground attack with 65 yards and a touchdown on nine carries. Defensively, Benedictine held Peru State to a season-low 242 yards of total offense. Safety Ashton Stephens led the effort with 15 tackles and one forced fumble.
• Benedictine, who climbed four places to No. 10 in the most recent NAIA Football Coaches’ Poll, opens the season 3-0 for the fourth-straight year. Two of the Ravens’ three victories came at O’Malley Field at Larry Wilcox Stadium in Atchison, Kan.
• The Ravens enter Saturday fresh off a 42-28 win over then-No. 8 Baker (Kan.). Benedictine, who entered the contest riding a seven-game losing streak against the Wildcats, tallied 685 yards of total offense as the two teams combined for 1,229 yards. Noonan set a new program single-game record with 457 passing yards. He completed 61.4 percent (27-of-44) of his throws, including three touchdowns. Additionally, Fore ran for a season-high 171 yards and two scores, while wide receiver Christian Haack caught six balls for 138 yards.
• Benedictine is outscoring its opponent 100-52 this season, including a 43-13 spread in the fourth quarter
• Benedictine features one of the NAIA’s most prolific offenses, ranking ninth in passing offense per game (304.7) and 10th in total offense per game (505).
• Noonan, who is in his third season under center for the Ravens, is completing 62.1 percent (64-for-103) of his passes for 914 yards – ninth in the NAIA – and five touchdowns. He also ranks among the top 15 nationally in total offense per game (295.7) and total offense (887). Noonan currently ranks fifth on Benedictine’s all-time passing list with 5,134 yards, trailing fourth-place Bill Lindquist (1995-98) by only 118 yards.
• Fore has received the bulk of the carries through three games this season, racing for 375 yards and four touchdowns, including a season-high 171 yards last weekend against Baker.
• Defensively, Benedictine ranks 14th in scoring defense per game (17.3) and has been especially tough against the run this season, allowing opponents 121.7 yards per game – 19th in the nation.
• A trio of Ravens own more than 20 tackles, led by Andrew Jones’ 24 (13 solo). He is tied for third on the team with 2.5 tackles for loss.
• Peru State is off to its first 3-0 start, dating back to 2004, following a 21-7 victory at Graceland (Iowa) last Saturday. The win was also the Bobcats’ first as a member of the HAAC.
• The Bobcats are 1-0 as the home team this season and have outscored their opponents 121-49.
• Against Graceland, Peru State tallied 209 yards of total offense with 196 of that total coming from the rushing game. Ethan Bray paced the Bobcats with a season-high 102 yards on 19 carries, followed by Marcus Spearman’s 42 yards on five attempts. The defense shined throughout the game, forcing three Yellow Jacket turnovers and holding Graceland to a season-low five yards rushing.
• Peru State showcases a hard-nosed defense that ranks within the top 12 nationally in rushing defense per game (47.7), opponent first downs (37), total defense per game (247.7), pass defense efficiency (100.3) and scoring defense per game (16.3).
• Linebacker Jake Kelley leads the team with 18 tackles (six solo). Defensive lineman Zach Lempka, linebacker Cody Piotrowski and defensive lineman Jon Draeger are second with 17 tackles each.
• Peru State’s offense is predicated on a strong rushing attack. The Bobcats are averaging 262.0 yards rushing per game this season, which ranks eighth in the NAIA. Quarterback Tyler Audsley leads the team with 272 yards and seven rushing touchdowns, while tailback Ethan Bray is second on the squad with 247 yards and three scores.
• When called on to throw, Audsely is completing 61.1 percent (22-of-36) of his passes for 238 yards and two touchdowns. He set a career-high with 165 passing yards against Southwestern (Kan.) on Sept. 14.
Note – Portions of this information was provided by the Benedictine and Peru State Sports Information Departments
This Week Around the Top 25
• This week (Sept. 23 – 29) features 21 Top 25 teams in action in addition to the two programs featured in the NAIA Game of the Week. Those contests include:
o No. 2 Saint Francis (Ind.) at No. 7 Grand View (Iowa)
o No. 3 Carroll (Mont.) at Eastern Oregon
o No. 4 Cumberlands (Ky.) at RV Pikeville (Ky.)
o No. 5 Saint Xavier (Ill.) at No. 22 St. Francis (Ill.)
o No. 6 Georgetown (Ky.) at Kentucky Christian
o No. 8 Tabor (Kan.) at Sterling (Kan.)
o No. 9 Missouri Valley at Culver-Stockton (Mo.)
o No. 10 Benedictine (Kan.) at No. 23 Peru State (Neb.)
o Concordia (Mich.) at No. 11 St. Ambrose (Iowa)
o Bethel (Kan.) at No. 12 Ottawa (Kan.)
o Avila (Mo.) at No. 13 Baker (Kan.)
o Midland (Neb.) at No. 14 Doane (Neb.)
o RV Montana State-Northern at No. 15 Montana Western
o RV Faulkner (Ala.) at No. 16 Lindsey Wilson (Ky.)
o Nebraska Wesleyan at No. 17 Northwestern (Iowa)
o No. 18 Rocky Mountain (Mont.) at No. 21 Montana Tech
o No. 20 Concordia (Neb.) at Dakota State (S.D.)
o No. 24 Trinity International (Ill.) at RV Robert Morris (Ill.)
o No. 25 William Penn (Iowa) at Taylor (Ind.)
• Ranked teams finished last week with a 12-11 record:
o No. 1 Morningside (Iowa) def. Dordt (Iowa), 79-14
o No. 2 Saint Francis (Ind.) def. No. 7 St. Ambrose (Iowa), 38-37
o No. 4 Carroll (Mont.) def. No. 19 Rocky Mountain (Mont.), 24-17
o No. 5 Saint Xavier (Ill.) def. No. 22 Robert Morris (Ill.), 41-10
o No. 14 Benedictine (Kan.) def. No. 8 Baker (Kan.), 42-28
o No. 9 Grand View (Iowa) def. No. 16 Marian (Ind.), 30-7
o No. 10 Tabor (Kan.) def. Saint Mary (Kan.), 45-16
o No. 11 Missouri Valley def. No. 15 MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.), 33-9
o RV Montana Western def. No. 12 Montana Tech, 29-22
o No. 13 Ottawa (Kan.) def. Bethany (Kan.), 41-15
o Trinity International (Ill.) def. No. 17 St. Francis (Ill.), 41-39
o No. 18 Doane (Neb.) def. Hastings (Neb.), 62-7
o Truman State (Mo.) (NCAA Division II) def. No. 20 William Penn (Iowa), 24-23
o No. 21 Northwestern (Iowa) def. Dakota Wesleyan (S.D.), 49-42
o Reinhardt (Ga.) def. No. 23 Faulkner (Ala.), 28-24
o No. 24 Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) def. No. 25 Pikeville (Ky.), 35-26
• In last week’s NAIA Football Game of the Week, No. 4 Carroll (Mont.) defeated No. 19 Rocky Mountain (Mont.), 24-17. The Fighting Saints were led by a rushing attack that tallied a season-high 291 yards and a strong defense that forced Rocky Mountain’s offense to be one dimensional. Carroll running back Dustin Rinker led the team with 29 carries for 164 yards and a touchdown, while quarterback Dakota Stonehouse tallied a team-high 250 yards of total offense, including 109 on the ground. Rocky Mountain quarterback Bryce Baker shined in the loss, throwing for 384 yards and two touchdowns.
• In another key Top 25 matchup last week, No. 2 Saint Francis (Ind.) held off No. 7 St. Ambrose (Iowa), 38-37. After pulling within one point with 3:37 remaining in the fourth quarter, the Bees failed on a 2-point conversion to keep Saint Francis in the lead. St. Ambrose had a second opportunity to win, however the 41-yard field goal attempt fell short. Cougar running back Antoin Campbell had a career-high four rushing touchdowns and 197 yards. He also set a program record with 37 carries. Quarterback Josh Miller, who received National Offensive Player of the Week honors for his performance, also set a career-high with 412 yards on 25-of-37 passing.
• Morningside (Iowa) remained atop the NAIA Football Coaches’ Top 25 poll after starting the season 3-0 with wins over Valley City State (N.D.), Nebraska Wesleyan and Dordt (Iowa). The Mustangs, who have a bye this week, tallied 314 points and all 14 first-place votes en route to becoming the unanimous selection.
• Five newcomers joined the poll this week: No. 15 Montana Western, No. 19 Valley City State (N.D.), No. 20 Concordia (Neb.), No. 23 Peru State (Neb.) and No. 24 Trinity International.
• MidAmerica Nazarene – previously No. 15 – dropped out of the poll for the first time since 2006 to snap a streak of 83-consecutive mentions. Similarly, last week’s No. 16 Marian (Ind.) snaps a streak of 40-straight mentions dating back to the 2010 Preseason Poll. Robert Morris (Ill.) (No. 22), Faulkner (Ala.) (No. 23) and Pikeville (Ky.) (No. 25) also fell out of the Top 25.
• To view the most recent 2013 NAIA Football Coaches’ Top 25 Poll, click here.
For the Record
• Rocky Mountain (Mont.) and Jamestown (N.D.) were the first college football teams to play a regular season game in 2013, as the two sides squared off August 23 at Connors Stadium in Miles City, Mont. Quarterback Bryce Baker tossed three touchdowns to rally the Battlin’ Bears to a 34-20 victory. Baker passed for 265 of Rocky Mountain’s 495 yards of total offense. He also rushed for one score.
• Three new programs made their NAIA debut in 2013: Oklahoma Baptist, who is playing in its first football season since 1940, and Warner (Fla.) are currently winless on the season. Conversely, Reinhardt (Ga.) improved to 2-2 on the year with a 28-24 win over then-No. 23 Faulkner (Ala.).
• Future NAIA football programs are: College of Idaho (2014), Missouri Baptist (2014), Southeastern (Fla.) (2014), Arizona Christian (2014) and Lyon (Ark.) (2015). Since 2008, the NAIA has added 16 varsity programs (portions of this information from the National Football Foundation).
• Concordia (Mich.) earned its first-ever varsity program win when they knocked off NCAA Division III Alfred State (N.Y.), 35-21, on Sept. 14. The Cardinals began varsity football in 2011.
• Morningside (Iowa) head coach Steve Ryan notched his 100th career victory when his top-ranked Mustangs defeated Nebraska Wesleyan, 48-10, on Sept. 14. Ryan, who is in his 12th season, currently ranks 10th on the NAIA’s active coaching wins list with a 101-31 career record. Morningside returns to action Oct. 5 when they travel to Midland (Neb).
• Josh Miller of Saint Francis (Ind.), JerSean Walder of Doane (Neb.) and Mike Phillips of McPherson were named as this week’s NAIA National Football Players of the Week. To read the complete release, click here.
• Grand View (Iowa) and Pikeville (Ky.) earned week-one victories against NCAA Division I FCS opponents. Grand View, whose win is its first-ever against a NCAA Division I school, knocked off Drake (Iowa), 21-16. Viking quarterback Derek Fulton had a career day, completing 26-of-40 passes for 291 yards and one touchdown en route to the win. Propelled by 100-yard efforts by Seth Millar and Marquis Terrell, Pikeville took down Morehead State (Ky.), 13-10. Both sides finished with 300-plus yards of total offense, but three Morehead State turnovers played a key role in Pikeville’s season-opening victory.
• Five individuals set 2013 individual game highs last week:
o Points – Derek Elliott, Valley City State (N.D.) – 31 points
o Rushing Touchdowns – Derek Elliott, Valley City State (N.D.) – 5 rushing touchdowns
o Receptions – Sam O’Donnell, St. Ambrose (Iowa) – 15 receptions
o Receiving Yards – Anthony Muilenburg, Dakota Wesleyan (S.D.) – 251 receiving yards
o Receiving Touchdowns – Matt Retzlaff, Southern Oregon – 4 receiving touchdowns
National Statistics (through games played on Sept. 21)
• 2013 Team Offensive Leaders
o Scoring Offense per Game: Morningside (Iowa) – 61.0 points per game
o Total Offense per Game: Morningside (Iowa) – 606.7 yards per game
o Rushing Offense per Game: Cumberlands (Ky.) – 373.0 yards per game
o Passing Offense per Game: Rocky Mountain (Mont.) – 399.5 yards per game
o Turnover Margin per Game: Three tied – 3.0 turnovers per game
o First Downs per Game: Morningside (Iowa) – 32.7 first downs per game
o Third Down Conversion: Morningside (Iowa) – 68.6 percent (24-of-35)
o Fourth Down Conversion: Five teams tied at 100.0 percent
• 2013 Team Defensive Leaders
o Scoring Defense per Game: Carroll (Mont.) – 8.5 points per game
o Total Defense per Game: SAGU (Texas) – 187.7 yards per game
o Rushing Defense per Game: Trinity International (Ill.) – 13.7 yards per game
o Passing Defense per Game: Graceland (Iowa) – 83.0 yards per game
o Sacks: Faulkner (Ala.) – 21.0 sacks
o Opponent Third Down Conversion: Saint Xavier (Ill.) – 20.5 percent (8-of-39)
o Opponent Fourth Down Conversion: Four tied at 0.0 percent
• For a complete look at the 2013 NAIA statistical leaders, click here.
Looking Ahead to the National Championship
The 58th annual NAIA Football National Championship will take place at Barron Stadium in Rome, Ga., for the sixth-straight season. The 2013 championship will be contested Dec. 21 at 4:30 p.m. EDT. The NAIA Football Championship Series is scheduled for Nov. 23, 30 and Dec. 7 at campus sites.
NAIA Football National Championship Visitor Information – Click HERE