NAIA Game of the Week
No. 4 Grand View (Iowa) (4-0) at No. 3 Saint Xavier (Ill.) (3-1)
Saturday, Oct. 5 | 1 p.m. CDT | Bruce R. Deaton Memorial Field | Chicago, Ill.
Live Stats | Live Video (Saint Xavier)
• A pair of the NAIA’s top teams take to the field Saturday when No. 4 Grand View (Iowa) takes its unbeaten record to No. 3 Saint Xavier (Ill.) in a key Mid-States Football Association (MSFA) Midwest League battle. The contest is the conference opener for both teams.
• Saturday’s matchup is the first-ever between the two sides, as Saint Xavier is in its first season back in the Midwest League after spending the previous six years as a member of the MSFA Mideast League. The Cougars previously played in the Midwest League from 1994 – 2006. Grand View has played in the Midwest League since joining the MSFA in 2009.
• Grand View, who opened the year ranked No. 19 in the Preseason Poll, boasts arguably one of the NAIA’s most impressive victories so far against NCAA Division I Drake (Iowa), Siena Heights (Mich.), defending national champion Marian (Ind.) and then-No. 2 Saint Francis (Ind.) en route to a 4-0 record on the year – the best start in program history.
• Last week against Saint Francis, Grand View was led by its defense. The Vikings held the Cougars to a season-low 193 yards of total offense and forced seven punts. Additionally, the Grand View front seven registered seven sacks en route to the 23-7 victory. Sophomore quarterback Derek Fulton led the offense with 353 total yards, including 306 passing. He connected with 10 different receivers in the contest with junior wide out Brady Roland leading the group with 10 catches for 82 yards.
• Fulton, who is in his second year as the starter for Grand View, continues to be the sparkplug for the Viking offense. He is a dual threat, completing 62.3 percent (86-of-138) of his passes for 913 yards – 19th nationally – and six touchdowns, while also leading the team with 232 rushing yards on 46 attempts. Fulton ranks 12th in the NAIA in total offense with 1,145 yards.
• Defensively, Grand View showcases one of the NAIA’s strongest units, ranking among the top 11 nationally in opponent third down conversion (24.1 percent), sacks (21), scoring defense per game (12.8), rushing defense per game (55.5), opponent first downs (55) and total defense per game (282.5).
• Four Grand View defenders have at least 20 tackles this season led by sophomore linebacker Zach Hollier’s 24 (18 solo). Senior linebacker Jason Gladfelder, who is tied for third with 21 tackles this season, leads the team in tackles for loss (9.0) and in sacks (5.5).
• The Vikings are yet to allow a team more than 100 yards rushing this season.
• Grand View is outscoring its opponents 53-14 over the last two weeks.
• Perennial powerhouse Saint Xavier has won two-straight – both coming against a then-ranked No. 22 team – since falling to NCAA Division II Indianapolis, 51-20, on Sept. 14, including a 37-25 victory against then-No. 22 St. Francis (Ill.) last weekend. The Cougar offense registered more than 400 yards of total offense for the third time this season with 496 yards from scrimmage, including 325 yards through the air. Redshirt freshman quarterback John Rhode paced the offense with a season-high tying 280 yards on 25-of-37 passing.
• Rhode, who has started the last two games for Saint Xavier after taking over for fifth-year senior Joe Gill, has thrown for 803 yards and four touchdowns this season. He is completing 64.9 percent (63-of-97) of his attempts and has been intercepted three times.
• Junior wide receiver Nick DeBenedetti has emerged as the primary target this season with 27 catches for 331 yards and two touchdowns. He is currently three yards shy of reaching the 1,000 yards receiving plateau for his career.
• Senior running back Nick Pesek, who has rushed for more than 1,000 yards the past two seasons, has been relatively quiet through the Cougars first four games this season. He enters the weekend with 57 carries for 220 yards and four touchdowns. His season-high performance came two weeks ago against Robert Morris (Ill.) when he ran for 92 yards and two scores.
• Defensively, Saint Xavier is allowing opponents an average of 414 yards of total offense – a program worst dating back to 2004 – and 27.5 points per game.
• Senior linebacker Zach Dolph leads the team in tackles with 38 (15 solo), while junior defensive lineman Greg Hayward paces the team in tackles for loss (7.5) and sacks (3.5).
Note – Portions of this information was provided by the Saint Xavier and Grand View Sports Information Departments
This Week Around the Top 25
• This week (Sept. 30 – Oct. 6) features 22 Top 25 teams in action in addition to the two programs featured in the NAIA Game of the Week. Those contests include:
o No. 1 Morningside (Iowa) at Midland (Neb.)
o No. 14 Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) at No. 2 Cumberlands (Ky.)
o No. 5 Georgetown (Ky.) at Faulkner (Ala.)
o No. 6 Saint Francis (Ind.) at No. 25 Siena Heights (Mich.)
o Graceland (Iowa) at No. 7 Benedictine (Kan.)
o Central Methodist (Mo.) at No. 8 Missouri Valley
o No. 9 Carroll (Mont.) – bye week
o No. 10 Ottawa (Kan.) at RV McPherson (Kan.)
o No. 11 St. Ambrose (Iowa) at No. 22 William Penn (Iowa)
o RV MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.) at No. 12 Baker (Kan.)
o No. 13 Doane (Neb.) at RV Nebraska Wesleyan
o Southwestern (Kan.) at No. 15 Tabor (Kan.)
o No. 19 Montana State-Northern at No. 16 Rocky Mountain (Mont.)
o No. 17 Concordia (Neb.) at Dordt (Iowa)
o Presentation (S.D.) at No. 18 Valley City State (N.D.)
o No. 20 Friends (Kan.) at Kansas Wesleyan
o No. 21 Montana Western at Eastern Oregon
o No. 23 Robert Morris (Ill.) at Marian (Ind.)
o Avila (Mo.) at No. 24 Peru State (Neb.)
• Ranked teams finished last week with a 14-9 record:
o No. 7 Grand View (Iowa) def. No. 2 Saint Francis (Ind.), 23-7
o Eastern Oregon def. No. 3 Carroll (Mont.), 35-31
o No. 4 Cumberlands (Ky.) def. RV Pikeville (Ky.), 59-3
o No. 5 Saint Xavier (Ill.) def. No. 22 St. Francis (Ill.), 37-25
o No. 6 Georgetown (Ky.) def. Kentucky Christian, 49-7
o Sterling (Kan.) def. No. 8 Tabor (Kan.), 46-45 (OT)
o No. 9 Missouri Valley def. Culver-Stockton (Mo.), 29-6
o No. 10 Benedictine (Kan.) def. No. 23 Peru State (Neb.), 45-41
o No. 11 St. Ambrose (Iowa) def. Concordia (Mich.), 66-0
o No. 12 Ottawa (Kan.) def. Bethel (Kan.), 69-34
o No. 13 Baker (Kan.) def. Avila (Mo.), 63-17
o No. 14 Doane (Neb.) def. Midland (Neb.), 42-0
o RV Montana State-Northern def. No. 15 Montana Western, 33-21
o No. 16 Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) def. RV Faulkner (Ala.), 37-30
o Nebraska Wesleyan def. No. 17 Northwestern (Iowa), 22-8
o No. 18 Rocky Mountain (Mont.) def. No. 21 Montana Tech, 13-6
o No. 20 Concordia (Neb.) def. Dakota State (S.D.), 24-0
o RV Robert Morris (Ill.) def. No. 24 Trinity International (Ill.), 33-26
o No. 25 William Penn (Iowa) def. Taylor (Ind.), 21-10
• In last week’s NAIA Football Game of the Week, No. 10 Benedictine (Kan.) scored 21 unanswered points in just over 10 minutes to earn a 45-41 road win over No. 23 Peru State (Neb.). Quarterback Bill Noonan, who was named the Heart of America Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Week for his performance, led the offense for Benedictine with 473 yards passing and three touchdowns. He completed 66 percent (33-of-50) of his throws and set a new program single-game record with 33 completions. Peru State finished the contest with a pair of 100-yard rushers in Tyler Audsley and Ethan Bray. Audsley led all ball carriers with a game-high 116 yards rushing on 23 attempts, including two touchdowns, while Bray was second with 113 yards on 13 attempts with two scores. With the win, Benedictine opens the season 4-0 for the third-straight year.
• Eastern Oregon knocked off No. 3 Carroll (Mont.), 35-31, in arguably the largest upset to this point in the season. The Mountaineers entered the contest with a 0-4 record and had lost six-straight dating back to last season. Carroll appeared to be in complete control after scoring a touchdown to open the third quarter to take a 24-7 lead. However, Eastern Oregon would answer with 21-straight points to claim victory. Mountaineer tailback Christopher McGinnis-Parker was the game’s key performer, registering a career-high 187 yards rushing on 31 carries. He scored four touchdowns on the day – three rushing and one receiving.
• Morningside (Iowa) retained its No. 1 ranking for the fourth-consecutive week. The Mustangs, who received 14 first-place votes and 314 point, were inactive last week and return to Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC) action on Saturday at Midland (Neb.).
• No. 2 Cumberlands (Ky.) and No. 4 Grand View (Iowa), who both claimed key wins last weekend, received a program-best ranking this week.
• Four newcomers joined the poll this week: No. 19 Montana State-Northern, No. 20 Friends (Kan.), No. 23 Robert Morris (Ill.) and No. 25 Siena Heights (Mich.). For Siena Heights, the Top 25 mention in the first in program history.
• Northwestern (Iowa) – previously No. 17 – dropped out of the poll for the first time since Oct. 2011 to snap a streak of 23-straight mentions. The Red Raiders lost to Nebraska Wesleyan, 22-8, this past weekend to drop to 2-2 on the year and 1-2 in the GPAC. Montana Tech (No. 21), St. Francis (Ill.) (No. 22) and Trinity International (Ill.) (No. 24) also fell out.
• 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 (0-4), who is playing in its first football season since 1940, and Warner (Fla.) (0-5) are currently winless on the season. Conversely, Reinhardt (Ga.) has won three-straight to improve to 3-2 on the year and currently rests tied atop the Mid-South Conference West Division with a 3-0 mark in the league.
• 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 Saturday when they travel to Midland (Neb).
• Kris Lehmann of Sterling (Kan.), Christopher McGinnis-Parker of Eastern Oregon and Spencer Nolen of Saint Xavier (Ill.) 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.
National Statistics (through games played on Sept. 28)
• 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.) – 398.5 yards per game
o Passing Offense per Game: Southern Oregon – 394.0 yards per game
o Turnover Margin per Game: Doane (Neb.) – 2.3 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: Missouri Valley – 11.7 points per game
o Total Defense per Game: Georgetown (Ky.) – 223.7 yards per game
o Rushing Defense per Game: Georgetown (Ky.) – 24.3 yards per game
o Passing Defense per Game: Graceland (Iowa) – 84.8 yards per game
o Sacks: Faulkner (Ala.) – 24.0 sacks
o Opponent Third Down Conversion: Missouri Valley – 18.2 percent 6-of-33)
o Opponent Fourth Down Conversion: Three 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