Photo by Al Case, Ashland Daily Photo
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – (Championship Schedule) Four teams remain with a chance at a national title, as Saturday marks the semifinal round of the 2017 NAIA Football Championship Series (FCS). Winners advance to the 62nd annual NAIA Football National Championship, which is scheduled for Saturday, December 16.
Since 1997, hosts in the semifinals own a 28-12 record. Overall, home teams in the playoffs are 222-69. Semifinal action is being played out on the campuses of Saint Francis (Ind.) and Reinhardt (Ga.).
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, including ticket details, click here.
2017 NAIA Football Championship Series – Semifinal Notes
• All four semifinal teams enter Saturday with unbeaten records: Morningside (Iowa) (13-0), Reinhardt (Ga.) (11-0), Saint Francis (Ind.) (12-0) and Southern Oregon (12-0).
• Defending national champion Saint Francis, which is looking to become the first team to win back-to-back banners since former member Sioux Falls (S.D.) accomplished the feat in 2008 and 2009, hosts Morningside.
• Saint Francis and Morningside have met three previous times in the playoffs, including a 42-35
• The Cougars are in the
• Saint Francis running back Justin Green continues to be a key player in big games. Last week in a win against Northwestern (Iowa), the junior ran for 179 yards and one touchdown. In nine career playoff games, Green has rushed for 1,649 yards (183.2 per game) and 14 scores.
• Morningside returns to the semifinals for the first time since 2015. The Mustangs are 1-3 all-time in the round of four, with their only victory coming in 2012 against Saint Xavier (Ill.), 47-15.
• The Mustangs have been nothing short of dominant through the first two rounds of the playoffs, outscoring their opponents 105-14.
• Quarterback Trent Solsma has been stellar for Morningside in the playoffs. In the first round against Sterling, the Dakota Dunes, S.D., native threw for 255 yards and six touchdowns. Solsma backed that up with a 335-yard and four touchdown effort in the quarterfinals against Saint Xavier (Ill.).
• Morningside’s defense enters Saturday coming off a program record nine-sack performance against Saint Xavier.
• Reinhardt finds itself in the
• Reinhardt features the NAIA’s top defense, leading the country in pass defense (135.0), rushing defense (65.5), total defense (200.5) and scoring defense per game (12.0). The Eagles have held eight of their 11 opponents to two touchdowns or less.
• Reinhardt has only allowed more than 200 yards passing in a game one time and has only surrendered more than 102 rushing yards once.
• In their first two playoff games, the Eagles are outscoring their opponent 56-20.
• Reinhardt is the only team remaining that has never appeared in the national title game.
• Southern Oregon is in the semifinals for the third time in program history. The Raiders are 2-0 all-time in the round of four with wins coming at Saint Xavier in 2014 (62-37) and at Morningside in 2015 (30-27).
• Southern Oregon is led by an experienced quarterback in Tanner Trosin. Trosin, who helped the Raiders to the title game in 2015, has thrown for 7,758 yards and 50 touchdowns in 28 career games. This season, Trosin has led Southern Oregon to one of the NAIA’s most prolific passing attacks, averaging 347.8 passing yards per game. Individually, the senior quarterback paces the NAIA in total offense (4,496 yards) and total passing (4,129 yards).
• Sean Rogers anchors a defensive line that leads the NAIA averaging 4.5 sacks per game. The Portland, Ore., native paces the team with 11 sacks, which ranks fourth in the country this season.
• Reinhardt and Southern Oregon are meeting for the first time.
For more information on the NAIA Football Championship Series, click here.