KANSAS CITY, Mo. – (Complete Schedule) Seven of the eight host schools emerged victorious Saturday in the 2013 NAIA Football Championship Series (FCS) First Round. The winners advance to the quarterfinal action on Nov. 30. Quarterfinal pairings will be announced at 10 a.m. CST Sunday on www.NAIA.org.
With a 7-1 record today, the host schools are now 85-27 in first round action since 2000. The last group to go unbeaten in first round play was in 2009 (8-0).
Tabor (Kan.) (10-2) was the only road team to claim victory today, as the Bluejays knocked off Benedictine (Kan.), 14-13. The Ravens scored the final touchdown of the game last in the fourth quarter when quarterback Bill Noonan connected with wide receiver Christian Haack. However, the ensuing point after attempt was blocked by Tabor’s Dylan Delk, which allowed the Bluejays to retain the lead. Tabor finished the game with 298 total yards, including 255 yards from the ground attack. Tailback Tyler Davis was the key performer for Tabor, ending the game with a season-high 94 yards rushing and one touchdown on 25 attempts. With the win, the Bluejays improve to 2-3 all-time in the FCS, while Benedictine falls to 4-12.
Top-ranked Cumberlands (Ky.) (11-0) kept its unbeaten record intact with a 56-28 victory against St. Ambrose (Iowa). The Patriots, who advance to their second-consecutive quarterfinals, outscored St. Ambrose, 28-8, in the second half, including a 14-0 spread in the fourth quarter. Cumberlands – the NAIA’s best rushing offense averaging more than 355 yards per game – eclipsed 400 yards rushing for the third time in the last four weeks with 412 yards on the ground, including 100-yard efforts from Hunter Lewis and Adam Craig. Lewis led the team with 143 yards, while Craig raced for 114 yards and a season-best five touchdowns.
Grand View (Iowa), the NAIA’s only other unbeaten team, improved to 11-0 with a 38-13 thrashing of Ottawa (Kan.). The win is the first all-time for the Vikings in the FCS. Grand View raced out to a 24-7 halftime lead before adding a touchdown on its opening drive of the third quarter to make it 31-7. Quarterback Derek Fulton threw for 87 yards, while rushing for 98 yards on 13 carries to lead the team. With the loss, Ottawa falls to 1-8 all-time in the FCS, including a 0-7 record in playoff road games.
With 40 combined playoff appearances and nine national titles between Carroll (Mont.) and Georgetown (Ky.), Saturday’s contest featuring the Fighting Saints and Tigers showcased two of the most storied programs in FCS history. Carroll emerged with a 38-28 win after trailing early by two scores. The Fighting Saints are now 16-5 all-time in the FCS first round and extend their current winning streak to 13-straight.
In arguably the most exciting finish of the day, Clarence Clark, who missed three previous field goal attempts in the game, connected on a 28-yard field goal as time expired to propel Baker (Kan.) to a 10-7 win over FCS newcomer Sterling (Kan.). The Wildcats were dominant on offense, outgaining the Warriors in total yards 426 to 196. However, Baker’s only touchdown of the day came late in the second quarter when quarterback Jake Morse connected with Clark on an 89-yard touchdown. The victory is the first for the Wildcats since 1993 when they defeated Doane (Neb.), 28-21, in the Division II championship.
Morningside (Iowa) advanced to the quarterfinals for the eighth time in the last 10 seasons with a 40-21 over Rocky Mountain (Mont.), who was making its first trip to the FCS since 1999. The Mustang offense led the charge once again, recording its fourth game with more than 600 yards of total offense this season with 685 total yards. Quarterback Ryan Kasdorf completed 20 of his 32 passes for 338 yards and two touchdowns, while running back Brandon Wegher raced for a season-high 277 yards on 33 attempts to lead the Mustangs into the quarterfinals.
Missouri Valley and Saint Francis (Ind.) moved on to a second and third-straight quarterfinal with victories over Northwestern (Iowa) and Faulkner (Ala.). With the win, the Vikings improve to 7-4 all-time in the FCS first round, while Saint Francis is now 12-2 in the first round and has won 12-straight.
For the sixth-consecutive season, the Rome-Floyd County Convention and Visitors Bureau will host the 58th annual Russell Athletic-NAIA Football National Championship on Dec. 21 at Barron Stadium in Rome, Ga. The event will kick off at 4:30 p.m. EST.
2013 Football Championship Series Quick Facts
- Perennial powerhouse Carroll (Mont.) is the only remaining team in the field with a national title. The Fighting Saints, who own six national championships, last crown came in 2010 when they defeated former-member Sioux Falls (S.D.), 10-7.
- Carroll extended its qualifier-best FCS first round winning streak to 13-straight with its win against Georgetown. The two teams had split their previous four FCS meetings.
- Eight teams have made at least 10 FCS appearances (including this year): Carroll (21), Georgetown (Ky.) (19), Northwestern (Iowa) (17), Saint Francis (Ind.) (14), Baker (Kan.) (13), Benedictine (Kan.) (12), Missouri Valley (11) and Morningside (Iowa) (10)
- There were nine repeat programs from the 2012 FCS First Round – Baker, Cumberlands (Ky.), Georgetown, Missouri Valley, Morningside, Northwestern, Ottawa (Kan.), Saint Francis and St. Ambrose
- There were two new teams appearing in their first-ever Football Championship Series: Faulkner (Ala.) and Sterling (Kan.). Both squads lost their first round contest. Last year, there were no newcomers.
- Defending national champion Marian (Ind.) is the first team to miss the playoffs the year following its national crown since former-member Findlay (Ohio) – 1997 national champion with a 14-7 win over former-member Willamette (Ore.) – in 1998.
- St. Ambrose’s 13 appearances are the most among the field for a team that has never appeared in the title game. The Fighting Bees lost in the first round for the second-consecutive season
- Morningside holds the longest active streak of postseason appearances with 10.
- Baker, Carroll, Georgetown, Northwestern and Saint Francis are this year’s qualifiers with at least 10 wins all-time in the Football Championship Series.
- The Heart of America Athletic Conference (HAAC) and Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference (KCAC) land the most squads in the 16-team field. The HAAC is represented by Baker, Benedictine and Missouri Valley. Qualifying out of the KCAC are Ottawa, Sterling and Tabor (Kan.).
- Two teams entered the FCS with an undefeated record, Cumberlands and Grand View, which ties the 2011 FCS as the lowest amount of unbeaten teams since 2002.