By Alan Grosbach, Manager of Communications and Sports Information
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – (Complete Schedule) For the second-straight season, four of the NAIA’s top five teams in the final regular-season NAIA Football Coaches’ Top 25 Poll continue their quest for a national championship on Saturday in the semifinal round of the 2013 NAIA Football Championship Series (FCS). Unbeaten No. 1 Cumberlands (Ky.) and No. 2 Grand View (Iowa), who are both 12-0 on the season, are hosts for the round of four, while defending national runner-up No. 5 Morningside (Iowa) and six-time national champion No. 3 Carroll (Mont.) round out the quartet.
Saturday’s winners will advance to the 58th annual Russell Athletic-NAIA Football Championship on Dec. 21. For the sixth consecutive season, the game will be hosted at Barron Stadium in Rome, Ga., by the Rome-Floyd County Convention and Visitors Bureau. Kickoff is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. EST.
Since 2000, semifinal home teams are 21-5. Only three visiting teams have won in the semifinals since 2004, including 2012 national champion Marian’s (Ind.) 20-17 victory at Missouri Valley a year ago. Through quarterfinal play, host institutions are 10-2.
Morningside is making its second-straight appearance in the FCS semifinals and is the only repeat qualifier from last year. The Mustangs are 1-1 all-time in the semifinals. Morningside’s victory came last seasons when it knocked off Saint Xavier (Ill.), 47-19.
Carroll enters the round of four as the most experienced among the qualifiers with 12 appearances since 2000. In their most recent appearance, the Fighting Saints knocked off Georgetown (Ky.), 35-3, in Helena, Mont., in 2011. Carroll owns a 1-2 record all-time on road in semifinal games with is only win coming in 2002 against former-member Sioux Falls (S.D.), 20-17.
Grand View and Cumberlands are both playing in their first-ever FCS semifinals.
Both FCS semifinal games are the first-ever meeting between the two sides.
For more information on the NAIA Football Championship Series, click here.
2012 NAIA Football Championship Series Semifinal Game Notes
Carroll (Mont.) (12-1) vs. Cumberlands (Ky.) (12-0), 12 p.m. EST
• Cumberlands (Ky.) puts its unbeaten record on the line Saturday, when the Patriots host perennial powerhouse Carroll (Mont.). Cumberlands, who is playing in its first-ever semifinals, reached the round of four with a 28-14 win against Saint Francis (Ind.). Carroll is playing in its 12th FCS semifinal since 2000 and owns an 8-3 record during the stretch. The Fighting Saints knocked off Missouri Valley, 27-3, in the quarterfinals.
• Saturday will be the first-ever FCS meeting between Cumberlands and Carroll.
• Cumberlands ended the regular season ranked No. 1 in the NAIA Football Coaches’ Top 25 Poll, while Carroll ranked third.
• The Patriots showcase the NAIA’s best rushing attack, averaging 365.2 rushing yards per game this season, including a 405.5 yard per game average during the playoffs. Tailback D’Angelo Jordan and quarterback Adam Craig have been the focal point the for Patriots’ ground game all season. Jordan, who set a career-high with 270 yards in the quarterfinals against Saint Francis, has run for 1,072 yards this season and 10 touchdowns. Craig leads the team with 22 touchdowns, while ranking second on the squad with 992 yards.
• Cumberlands offense also ranks among the top 10 nationally in scoring offense per game (46.6), first downs per game (24.8), total offense per game (486.7) and pass efficiency (155.0).
• Defensively, the Patriots have surrendered an average of 418 yards of total offense in two FCS games. On the year, Cumberlands ranks 21st in the NAIA in total defense per game (336.3) and 11th in scoring defense per game (19.0).
• Much of Carroll’s success this season has been predicated on a strong rushing attack and a dominant defense. The Fighting Saints, who are vying for a seventh national crown, are second in the NAIA in scoring defense per game (14.8) and fourth in rushing defense per game (104.4). Carroll has held its two playoff opponents to a combined 173 yards rushing.
• Offensively, the Fighting Saints are led by dual-threat quarterback Dakota Stonehouse and tailback Dustin Rinker. Stonehouse leads the team with 3,228 total yards this season, including 2,445 through the air. He’s completing 64.4 percent (170-of-264) of his passes and has accounted for 33 touchdowns – 26 passing and seven rushing. Rinker is the squad’s leading rusher with 1,767 yards and 15 touchdowns. The senior has eclipsed 100 yards in 10 games this season, including a season-high 220-yard effort against Rocky Mountain (Mont.) on Nov. 9.
|Category (National Rank)||Carroll||Cumberlands|
|Scoring Offense||35.8 (11th)||46.6 (3rd)|
|Total Offense||429.7 (18th)||486.7 (5th)|
|Rushing Offense||241.2 (9th)||365.2 (1st)|
|Passing Offense||185.3 (48th)||121.5 (NR)|
|Third Down Conversion||40.7% (25th)||53.8% (2nd)|
|Scoring Defense||14.8 (2nd)||19.0 (11th)|
|Total Defense||314.8 (12th)||336.3 (21st)|
|Rushing Defense||104.4 (4th)||118.3 (10th)|
|Pass Defense||210.5 (46th)||218.1 (NR)|
|Sacks||41.5 (4th)||31.0 (12th)|
Morningside (Iowa) (11-1) vs. Grand View (Iowa) (12-0), 1 p.m. CST
• Similarly to Cumberlands, Grand View puts its unbeaten record on the line Saturday against defending national runner-up Morningside (Iowa). Grand View advanced to its first-ever semifinals with a 44-24 comeback win against Tabor (Kan.), while Morningside – the only road team to win in the quarterfinals – downed Baker (Kan.), 36-28.
• Saturday is the first-ever meeting between the two Iowa schools.
• Grand View ended the regular season ranked No. 2 in the Coaches’ Poll, while Morningside ranked No. 5.
• Arguably the most balanced team in the FCS, Grand View ranks among the top 10 nationally in 12 statistical categories, including rushing defense per game (2nd; 80.6), total defense per game (2nd; 267.8), scoring defense per game (3rd; 16.0), scoring offense per game (9th; 37.8) and total offense per game (10th; 457.7).
• Quarterback Derek Fulton has been one of the keys to the Vikings’ offensive success this season. He leads the team in both rushing – 595 yards on 137 attempts – and passing – 2,839 yards and 24 touchdowns. Wide receiver Brady Roland has been his primary target with a team-best 64 catches for 933 yards and nine touchdowns. Roland has two 100-plus yard receiving performances this season, including a season-high 173-yard effort against NCAA Division I FCS Drake (Iowa) on Aug. 29.
• Defensively, Grand View is led by defensive lineman Jason Gladfelder and linebacker Dudley Bickham. Bickham is the team leader with 68 tackles (52 solo), while Gladfelder paces the squad with 20 tackles for loss, including 11.5 sacks.
• The Mustangs are in the FCS semifinals for the third time in school history. Morningside owns a 1-1 record with a 47-19 win against Saint Xavier (Ill.) last season and a 42-14 loss against Saint Francis (Ind.) in 2005.
• Morningside quarterback Ryan Kasdorf leads an offense that ranks first in scoring offense per game (49.3) and second in total offense per game (576.7) with 3,869 yards of total offense this season. He is completing 68.8 percent (223-of-324) of his throws for 3,335 yards and 42 touchdowns. In addition to Kasdorf, wide receiver Kyle Schuck has been a force for Morningside this year. The Great Plains Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Year is averaging 112.8 receiving yards per game and has 21 touchdowns.
• Defensively, Morningside is sixth nationally in rushing defense per game (110.6) and seventh in scoring defense (18.3). Zac Schleuger paces the team with 101 tackles (37 solo).
|Category (National Rank)||Morningside||Grand View|
|Scoring Offense||49.3 (1st)||37.8 (9th)|
|Total Offense||576.7 (2nd)||457.7 (10th)|
|Rushing Offense||272.2 (5th)||216.2 (15th)|
|Passing Offense||304.5 (6th)||241.5 (21st)|
|Third Down Conversion||55.4% (1st)||44.7% (14th)|
|Scoring Defense||18.3 (7th)||16.0 (3rd)|
|Total Defense||300.7 (10th)||267.8 (2nd)|
|Rushing Defense||110.6 (6th)||80.6 (2nd)|
|Pass Defense||190.1 (25th)||187.2 (23rd)|
|Sacks||23.0 (29th)||45.0 (1st)|