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2017 NAIA Football Game of the Week — No. 7

October 12, 2017
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Potential playoff implications on are the line Saturday, as No. 16 Arizona Christian hosts Oklahoma Panhandle State in a key matchup out of the Central States Football League (CSFL). Kick off between the two teams is scheduled for 7 p.m. MST at Shadow Mountain High School in Phoenix, Ariz.

The Aggies enter Saturday with a 4-1 overall record and a 3-0 mark in the CSFL, while Arizona Christian is 0.5-game back with a 3-1 record in the league – 5-1 overall. Oklahoma Panhandle State is currently in a three-way tie atop the CSFL standings with Langston (Okla.) (3-0 CSFL) and SAGU (Texas) (3-0 CSFL). The contest marks the first-ever meeting between the two clubs.

Saturday’s Game of the Week was chosen using a Facebook fan vote. Nominees are posted on Tuesday with the winner of the contest revealed Wednesday morning.

Live Video:  
Live Stats – provided by Arizona Christian
Twitter: @ACUFirestorm and @OPSUAthletics
Hashtags: #NAIAFootball

No. 16 Arizona Christian (5-1)
2017 Team Rankings (Top 15)
No. 1 - Punt Yds per Att (45.600)
No. 5 - Total Sacks Against (5.000)
No. 6 - Sacks Against (0.800)
No. 7 - Punt Returns Yds per Att (18.000)
No. 14 - First Downs per Game (23.800)
No. 15 - Total Scoring Offense (229)

Arizona Christian Players to Watch
Offense – Ryan Esslinger, QB … ranks No. 18 nationally in total offense (1,599 yards) … has thrown for at least one touchdown in six-straight games … completing 65.1 percent of his passes (138-for-212) … tossed 15 touchdowns, while only being intercepted four times … set a season-high with 285 passing yards on September 23 against NCAA Division III Whittier (Calif.).
Defense – Austin Schleier, LB … leads the team with 39 tackles (20 solo) … ranks third on the team with 3.5 tackles for loss … set a season-high with 10 stops on September 30 at SAGU (Texas) … had five tackles last weekend against Lyon (Ark.).

Oklahoma Panhandle State (4-1)
2017 Team Rankings (Top 15)
No. 2 - Pass Def Efficiency (90.500)
No. 4 - Penalty Yds per Game (97.200)
No. 4 - Total Defense per Game (272.000)
No. 6 - Opp 4th Down Conv. (22.200)
No. 7 - Sacks By (3.600)
No. 7 - Total Sacks By (18.000)
No. 7 - Opponent First Downs (82)
No. 9 - Pass Defense per Game (160.800)
No. 10 - Opp 3rd Down Conv. (29.200)
No. 10 - Scoring Defense per Game (20.200)
No. 13 - Rushing Defense per Game (111.200)

Oklahoma Panhandle State Players to Watch
Offense – D.J. Scott, QB … completed 60 percent (54-of-90) of his passes for 583 yards this season … thrown four touchdowns, while also being intercepted four times … set a season-best with 269 yards passing and 308 yards of total offense in Oklahoma Panhandle State’s 31-8 win over Bacone (Okla.) on September 16.
Defense – Dominick Bell, LB … leads a defense that ranks within the top 10 in total defense, pass defense and scoring defense with 28 total tackles (20 solo stops) … ranks second on the squad with five tackles for loss, including three sacks … recorded a season-high 10 tackles in the Aggies season opener against NCAA Division III McMurry (Texas) on August 31.

Other Top 25 Contests*
Saturday, October 14
(1) Saint Francis (Ind.) at Siena Heights (Mich.)
MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.) at (2) Baker (Kan.)
Union (Ky.) at (3) Reinhardt (Ga.)
(4) Morningside (Iowa) at Briar Cliff (Iowa)
(5) Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) at Kentucky Christian
(RV) Peru State (Neb.) at (6) Grand View (Iowa)
(7) Southern Oregon at Eastern Oregon
Texas College vs (8) Langston (Okla.)
Trinity International (Ill.) at (10) Saint Xavier (Ill.)
(11) Montana Tech at Carroll (Mont.)
(12) Benedictine (Kan.) at Graceland (Iowa)
Taylor (Ind.) at (13) Marian (Ind.)
(14) Southeastern (Fla.) at Faulkner (Ala.)
(15) Sterling (Kan.) at Bethany (Kan.)
Oklahoma Panhandle State at (16) Arizona Christian
Dakota Wesleyan (S.D.) at (17) Northwestern (Iowa)
Waldorf (Iowa) at (18) Dickinson State (N.D.)
(19) Hastings (Neb.) at (RV) Dordt (Iowa)
(21) Concordia (Mich.) at Missouri Baptist
Wayland Baptist (Texas) at (22) SAGU (Texas)
Southwestern (Kan.) at (23) Tabor (Kan.)
Bethel (Tenn.) at (24) Cumberland (Tenn.)
Friends (Kan.) at (25) Kansas Wesleyan

*Schedule generated from institutional submission to the NAIA’s SIDHelp system.

Championship Information

NAIA Football Championship
Sports Rules - Football