By Alan Grosbach, Associate Director of Athletics Communications and Media
Photo by Jeff Reed, Reinhardt Marketing Department
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – (Championship Schedule) Eight teams take the field Saturday in the 2017 NAIA Football Championship Series (FCS) Quarterfinals. The contests take place at four campus locations across the country. Semifinal pairings will be released on www.NAIA.org Saturday after the conclusion of all games.
Since 1997, host schools own a 219-68 record in the FCS, including a 58-21 mark in the quarterfinals. Last season, hosts were 3-1 in the round of eight.
The 62nd annual NAIA Football National Championship is scheduled for Saturday, December 16 at 6 p.m. EST in Daytona Beach, Fla. The City of Daytona Beach hosts the event at Municipal Stadium for the fourth-straight season. For fan and visitor information, click here.
2017 NAIA Football Championship Series – Quarterfinal Notes
• Defending national champion Saint Francis (Ind.) kept its repeat hopes alive with a 26-21 victory over Benedictine (Kan.) in the first round. However, the road gets tougher as the Cougars host Northwestern (Iowa) on Saturday.
• Morningside (Iowa) against Saint Xavier (Ill.) is the only quarterfinal match with past playoff history. The Mustangs are 2-0 all-time against the Cougars in the playoffs, including a 75-69, four-overtime victory in the 2015 first round. The other win for Morningside, which came in the 2012 semifinals, was by the score of 47-19.
• Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) is the only team among the teams in the round of eight that has never advanced beyond the quarterfinals. The Blue Raiders reached the quarterfinals in 2014 and 2016, but lost on both occasions.
• Lindsey Wilson, Morningside, Reinhardt (Ga.) and Saint Francis are all in the quarterfinals for the second-straight season.
• Five of the eight teams remaining in the field own at least one national title – Georgetown (1991, 2000, 2001), Northwestern (1973, 1983), Saint Francis (2016), Saint Xavier (2011) and Southern Oregon (2014).
• Team by team top first round performer:
o Georgetown (Ky.) – Daric Pugh, RB … set a career-high with 172 rushing yards and one touchdown in the Tigers’ first round game against Baker (Kan.) … rushing total ranks as the third-most among FCS running backs this season.
o Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) – Blake Ingleton, RB … set a career-high with 241 rushing yards and five touchdowns in the first round … his five rushing touchdowns ties an FCS single-game record … his rushing total is tied for the most in a single FCS game this season.
o Morningside (Iowa) – Conner Niles, WR … eight catches for 132 yards and three touchdowns … three touchdown receptions tied a season-best … eclipsed the 100-yard receiving mark for the seventh time this season.
o Northwestern (Iowa) – Jed Van Hof, DE … seven tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss and two sacks in the Raiders’ win over Langston (Okla.) … also had a forced fumble.
o Reinhardt (Ga.) – Dylan Wiggins, QB … threw for 366 yards and two touchdowns, while also rushing for 36 yards … completed 78.9 percent (15-for-19) of his passes … completed the longest pass of the first round, which was a 92-yard touchdown strike to Quannie Green.
o Saint Francis (Ind.) – Justin Green, RB … rushed for 191 yards and a touchdown in the Cougars’ victory … rushing total is the fourth highest among FCS games this season.
o Saint Xavier (Ill.) – Mike Ivlow, RB … ran for a 2017 NAIA FCS first round best 241 yards, including a long of 66 yards … third-straight game with 160-plus rushing yards.
o Southern Oregon – Tanner Trosin, QB … tallied a 2017 first round-best in total yards (469 yards) and passing yards (384) … threw four touchdowns … completed 71.4 percent of his throws …ran for 85 yards.
For more information on the 2017 NAIA Football Championship Series, click here.