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NAIA Football Weekly Report No. 7

October 10, 2013
By Alan Grosbach, NAIA Manager of Communications and Sports Information

NAIA Game of the Week
No. 22 Nebraska Wesleyan (3-2, 3-1 GPAC) at No. 15 Concordia (Neb.) (5-0, 3-0 GPAC)
Saturday, Oct. 12 | 1 p.m. CDT | Bulldog Stadium | Seward, Neb.
Live Video (Concordia)
• No. 22 Nebraska Wesleyan visits No. 15 Concordia (Neb.) in a key Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC) showdown Saturday in the NAIA Football Game of the Week. The Bulldogs enter the contest tied atop the GPAC standings with No. 1 Morningside (Iowa) with a 3-0 record, while Nebraska Wesleyan rests 0.5 games back at 3-1.
• Saturday marks the first time that Nebraska Wesleyan (3-2) and Concordia (5-0) will be playing each other as ranked teams since 2000.
• The contest is the 52nd meeting between Nebraska Wesleyan and Concordia dating back to 1958. The Prairie Wolves hold a 33-18 all-time record in the series and wins in two-straight, including a 16-6 victory a season ago.
• Over the past three meetings, the Nebraska Wesleyan defense has not allowed more than seven points in a game against the Bulldogs.
• Nebraska Wesleyan will be facing its fifth ranked opponent of the 2013 season on Saturday, while Concordia is facing its first. The Prairie Wolves are 2-2 in those four previous contests with wins coming against then-No. 17 Northwestern (Iowa) and then-No. 13 Doane (Neb.).
• Concordia and Nebraska Wesleyan both emerged on the NAIA scene this season after long droughts without being ranked in the Coaches’ Poll. Concordia’s No. 20 ranking on Sept. 23 marked the first Top 25 mention for the Bulldogs since 2002, while Nebraska Wesleyan made its way into the poll this week for the first time since 2009.
• Concordia posted its second-straight shutout with a 32-0 victory at Dordt (Iowa) last Saturday. The Bulldogs outgained Dordt, 372-195, and held the Defenders to only 131 yards rushing – more than 100 yards fewer than their season average. Defensive lineman Michael Gill led the defense with nine tackles (five solo), 2.5 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks.
• The Bulldogs enter Saturday with one of the NAIA’s top defenses, ranking among the top 10 nationally in seven categories – total defense per game (238.2), scoring defense per game (10.0), pass defense per game (129.0), pass defense efficiency (87.7), opponent first downs (75), opponent third down conversion (28.8 percent) and rushing defense per game (109.2).
• Concordia’s defense is yet to allow an opponent more than 299 yards of total offense this season. Additionally, the Bulldogs’ are the only program in the NAIA that has not allowed a rushing touchdown.
• Offensively, Concordia showcases a strong rushing attack that averages 221.2 yards per game – 14th in the NAIA. Three Bulldogs have at least 60 carries this season with tailbacks Bryce Collins and Trey Barnes leading the team with 77 attempts each. Additionally, Collins paces the squad with 336 rushing yards, while Barnes is the team leader in touchdowns with seven.
• Von Thomas leads the team with 1,090 total yards – 276 rushing and 814 passing – through five games. The dual-threat quarterback is completing 60 percent (78-of-130) of his passes with four touchdowns and two interceptions. Thomas had his best throwing performance of the season on Oct. 21 against Midland (Neb.) when he threw for 241 yards on 28 attempts.
• Looking ahead, Concordia is entering the toughest portion of its schedule with two games against ranked opponents – No. 20 Doane on Oct. 26 and No. 1 Morningside (Iowa) on Nov. 2 – over the next three weeks.
• Much of Nebraska Wesleyan’s success this season has been predicated on a stingy defense that has held its opponent to 10 points-or-less in three out of five games. The Prairie Wolves come into the weekend ranked 10th in scoring defense per game (18.4) and 14th in total defense per game (317).
• During its three-game winning streak, Nebraska Wesleyan has allowed only two offensive touchdowns.
• Defensive lineman Phil Latimer received NAIA Football National Defensive Player of the Week honors after leading the Prairie Wolves’ defense with nine tackles (five solo) and 2.5 tackles for loss in their win against Doane. As a unit, Nebraska Wesleyan held the Tigers to only 175 yards of total offense, including a season-low 40 yards passing.
• Offensively, Nebraska Wesleyan features a balanced attack led by quarterback Tyler Francis, who is averaging 193.8 passing yards per game. He set a new career-high last Saturday against Doane with 286 yards passing, including 192 yards in the fourth quarter.
• Running back Dustin Bryant, who is questionable this week after suffering an injury in the second quarter against Doane, leads the ground game with 404 yards rushing and three touchdowns on 86 attempts. He ran for over 100 yards in three of the first four games this season, including a season-high 148 yards against Northwestern on Sept. 28.
Note – Portions of this information was provided by the Nebraska Wesleyan and Concordia Sports Information Departments

This Week Around the Top 25
• This week (Oct. 7 – 13) features 19 Top 25 teams in action in addition to the two programs featured in the NAIA Game of the Week. Those contests include:
     o Hastings (Neb.) at No. 1 Morningside (Iowa)
     o No. 2 Cumberlands - Bye
     o No. 3 Grand View (Iowa) at Olivet Nazarene (Ill.)
     o No. 10 Saint Xavier (Ill.) at No. 4 Saint Francis (Ind.)
     o No. 5 Benedictine (Kan.) at Avila (Mo.)
     o No. 6 Missouri Valley at Graceland (Iowa)
     o Dickinson State (N.D.) at No. 7 Carroll (Mont.)
     o Saint Mary (Kan.) at No. 8 Ottawa (Kan.)
     o No. 21 Trinity International (Ill.) at No. 9 St. Ambrose (Iowa)
     o No. 11 Baker (Kan.) at Culver-Stockton (Mo.)
     o (RV) Campbellsville (Ky.) at No. 12 Georgetown (Ky.)
     o No. 13 Rocky Mountain (Mont.) - Bye
     o Kansas Wesleyan at No. 14 Tabor (Kan.)
     o No. 16 Valley City State (N.D.) at Mayville State (N.D.)
     o Kentucky Christian at No. 17 Lindsey Wilson (Ky.)
     o McPherson (Kan.) at No. 17 Friends (Kan.)
     o No. 19 Peru State (Neb.) at MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.)
     o Dakota Wesleyan (S.D.) at No. 20 Doane (Neb.)
     o No. 23 Faulkner (Ala.) – Bye
     o No. 24 Montana State-Northern – Bye
     o (RV) Robert Morris (Ill.) at No. 25 St. Francis (Ill.)
• Ranked teams finished last week with a 15-8 record:
     o No. 1 Morningside (Iowa) def. Midland (Neb.), 32-7
     o No. 2 Cumberlands (Ky.) def. No. 14 Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) 52-45
     o No. 4 Grand View (Iowa) def. No. 3 Saint Xavier (Ill.) 48-21
     o Faulkner (Ala.) def. No. 5 Georgetown (Ky.) 55-31
     o No. 6 Saint Francis (Ind.) def. No. 25 Siena Heights (Mich.) 28-17
     o No. 7 Benedictine (Kan.) def. Graceland (Iowa) 58-13
     o No. 8 Missouri Valley def. Central Methodist (Mo.) 48-17
     o No. 10 Ottawa (Kan.) def. (RV) McPherson (Kan.) 34-7
     o No. 11 St. Ambrose (Iowa) def. No. 22 William Penn (Iowa) 53-34
     o No. 12 Baker (Kan.) def. (RV) MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.) 37-20
     o (RV) Nebraska Wesleyan def. No. 13 Doane (Neb.) 20-19
     o No. 15 Tabor (Kan.) def. Southwestern (Kan.) 42-3
     o No. 16 Rocky Mountain (Mont.) def. No. 19 Montana State-Northern 23-13
     o No. 17 Concordia (Neb.) def. Dordt (Iowa) 32-0
     o No. 18 Valley City State (N.D.) def. Presentation (S.D.) 31-17
     o No. 20 Friends (Kan.) def. Kansas Wesleyan 45-22
     o Eastern Oregon def. No. 21 Montana Western 20-0
     o Marian (Ind.) def. No. 23 Robert Morris (Ill.) 21-19
     o No. 24 Peru State (Neb.) def. Avila (Mo.) 24-7
• In last week’s NAIA Football Game of the Week, No. 4 Grand View (Iowa) forced six Saint Xavier (Ill.) turnovers – five interceptions – to claim a 48-21 road win over the third-ranked Cougars. In addition to its defensive effort, Grand View tallied a season-high 581 yards of total offense – 283 rushing and 298 passing. Sophomore quarterback Derek Fulton received Mid-States Football Association (MSFA) Offensive Player of the Week honors after completing 63.3 percent (19-of-30) of his passes for 298 yards and three touchdowns. In addition to Fulton, second-string quarterback Dorian Ballentine rushed for a career-high 103 yards on 17 attempts, while wide receiver Taylor Goebel also set a career-high with 151 receiving yards. For the complete recap, click here.
• NAIA Football Game of the Week Composite Results
     o Week 1 (Aug. 31) – No. 16 William Penn (Iowa) def. No. 9 Bethel (Tenn.), 34-8
     o Week 2 (Sept. 7) – No. 4 Saint Xavier (Ill.) def. No. 2 Marian (Ind.), 31-24 (OT)
     o Week 3 (Sept. 14) – No. 20 Doane (Neb.) def. No. 13 Northwestern (Iowa), 34-27
     o Week 4 (Sept. 21) – No. 4 Carroll (Mont.) def. No. 19 Rocky Mountain (Mont.), 24-17
     o Week 5 (Sept. 28) – No. 10 Benedictine (Kan.) def. No. 24 Peru State (Neb.), 45-41
     o Week 6 (Oct. 5) – No. 4 Grand View (Iowa) def. No. 3 Saint Xavier (Ill.), 48-21
     o Week 7 (Oct. 12) – No. 22 Nebraska Wesleyan at No. 15 Concordia (Neb.)
• In a battle of unbeaten teams, No. 2 Cumberlands (Ky.) knocked off No. 14 Lindsey Wilson (Ky.), 52-45. All-America running back Terrance Cobb led a Patriots offense that ran for 308 yards with 153 yards rushing and two touchdowns on 23 attempts. Lindsey Wilson’s offense was equally as dominant with 530 total yards, including 460 yards passing. Blue Raider quarterback Branden Cresap led the squad with a career-high 460 passing yards and five touchdowns. For the complete recap click here.
• For the second-straight week, Nebraska Wesleyan and Eastern Oregon knocked off ranked opponents. The Prairie Wolves, fueled by a strong defensive effort, scored 13 unanswered fourth quarter points en route to a 20-19 win against then-No. 13 Doane (Neb.). Running back Christopher McGinnis-Parker posted his second 180-plus yard rushing performance with 182 yards rushing on 27 carries, as Eastern Oregon shut out No. 21 Montana Western, 20-0. Both Nebraska Wesleyan and Eastern Oregon are back in action Saturday against ranked teams.
• Morningside (Iowa), who was the unanimous selection for the fourth-straight week, continues its reign at No. 1 after improving to 4-0 with a 33-7 win over Midland (Neb.) last Saturday. The Mustangs are looking to become the first team to last the entire season at No. 1 since former member and Great Plains Athletic Conference rival Sioux Falls (S.D.) accomplished the feat in 2009. Morningside returns to action Saturday against Hastings (Neb.).
• No. 2 Cumberlands (Ky.) and No. 3 Grand View (Iowa), who both claimed wins against ranked opponents last week, received program-best rankings this week.
• Four newcomers joined the poll this week – No. 21 Trinity International (Ill.), No. 22 Nebraska Wesleyan, No. 23 Faulkner (Ala.) and No. 25 St. Francis (Ill.). This is the first Top 25 ranking for Nebraska Wesleyan since 2009. The other three programs were ranked at some point earlier this season.
• 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 (0-5), 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 four-straight to improve to 4-2 on the year and currently rests tied atop the Mid-South Conference West Division with a 2-0 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 102-31 career record. Morningside returns to action Saturday when they travel to Midland (Neb).
• Austin Dodge of Southern Oregon, Trump Harrison of Faulkner (Ala.) and Phil Latimer of Nebraska Wesleyan 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.
• There are five remaining unbeaten teams – Grand View (5-0), Benedictine (Kan.) (5-0), Concordia (Neb.) (5-0), Cumberlands (Ky.) (5-0) and Morningside (4-0).
• Eight programs are currently winless.
• In possibly the NAIA’s most impressive offensive performance of the season, Faulkner (Ala.) set the national single-game high for the season with 712 yards of total offense in its 55-31 upset win against then-No. 5 Georgetown (Ky.). Eagles’ quarterback Josh Hollingsworth, who owns the NAIA single-game record with 637 passing yards against Union (Ky.) in 2011, threw for a season-high 503 yards in the contest. Thirty-five of Faulkner’s 55 points were scored in the third quarter as both sides combined for 63 points in the period. For the complete release, click here.

National Statistics (through games played on Oct. 6)
• 2013 Team Offensive Leaders
     o Scoring Offense per Game: Morningside (Iowa) – 53.8 points per game
     o Total Offense per Game: Faulkner (Ala.) – 600.7 yards per game
     o Rushing Offense per Game: Cumberlands (Ky.) – 380.4 yards per game
     o Passing Offense per Game: Southern Oregon – 421.5 yards per game
     o Turnover Margin per Game: Sterling (Kan.) – 2.0 turnovers per game
     o First Downs per Game: Morningside (Iowa) – 32.5 first downs per game
     o Third Down Conversion: Morningside (Iowa) – 59.2 percent (29-of-49)
     o Fourth Down Conversion: Three teams tied at 100.0 percent
• 2013 Team Defensive Leaders
     o Scoring Defense per Game: Concordia (Neb.) – 10.0 points per game
     o Total Defense per Game: Concordia (Neb.) – 238.2 yards per game
     o Rushing Defense per Game: Peru State (Neb.) – 54.4 yards per game
     o Passing Defense per Game: Graceland (Iowa) – 114.8 yards per game
     o Sacks: Faulkner (Ala.) – 28.0 sacks
     o Opponent Third Down Conversion: Faulkner (Ala.) – 22.9 percent (22-of-96)
     o Opponent Fourth Down Conversion: Waldorf (Iowa) – 15.4 percent (2-of-13)
• 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