Send this article to a friend Print RSS

Football Championship Series Semifinal Recap

December 03, 2011
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Carroll (Mont.) and Saint Xavier (Ill.) punched their ticket to the 56th Annual Russell Athletic-NAIA Football National Championship with semifinal victories today in the Football Championship Series. Carroll wiped out undefeated Georgetown (Ky.), 35-3, in Helena, Mont., and St. Xavier held on, 30-27, against top-ranked and undefeated Marian (Ind.) on the road.

Carroll heads to its eighth national title game, all coming since 2002. The Fighting Saints have won six national championships, including two of the last four events. St. Xavier will be playing in its first-ever trophy contest as the Cougars have lost the previous three years in the Semifinal round.

Since 2000, the Semifinalist home teams stand 20-4. St. Xavier becomes just the second school since 2004 to win on the road. Through the Semifinals this year, the hosts are 10-4.

The Fighting Saints relied on their fourth-ranked NAIA rushing attack and piled up 273 rushing yards in the blowout victory. Running back Chance Demarais added to his NAIA-leading total with 118 yards today, which was his ninth 100-yard output on the year. The Carroll defense held Georgetown to 241 yards of total offense. The Tigers entered the game averaging over 400 yards and nearly 35 points per game.

In Indianapolis, Ind., the game was not decided until the final seconds. St. Xavier strong safety Clayton Fejedelem intercepted quarterback Adam Wiese with eight seconds remaining in the end zone to send the Cougars to Rome, Ga., for the first time in school history. Cougar quarterback Jimmy Coy finished with 287 yards on 25-for-33 passing and three touchdowns. Wide receiver Wes Gastel notched a team-best six catches for 109 yards and the go-ahead touchdown with 13;01 remaining.

Marian’s No. 1-ranked defense had not allowed any opponent to score more than 14 points in any game this year. Overall, the Marian defense was the toughest to score on in the NAIA entering the game with a 5.5 points-per-game average (in 12 games). Despite being outgained 488-305, the St. Xavier offense capitalized on two Marian turnovers.

The National Championship is scheduled for Dec. 17 in Rome, Ga. Rome-Floyd County and Shorter (Ga.) University will host the event at Barron Stadium for the fourth-straight year. The event will be televised live on CBS Sports Television with kickoff slated for 4:30 p.m. EST. For ticket information, call 1-800-858-7601.

2011 CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES QUICK FACTS
• Carroll brings a 6-1 all-time National Championship record into the Dec. 17 event, with the only loss in 2008. St. Xavier is appearing in its first-ever title game.
• Defending national champion Carroll holds six NAIA National Championships, which ties former NAIA member Westminster (Pa.) for the second-most all-time. The seventh title would tie Texas A&I for the most in FCS history. Carroll is the only team that has won at least three-straight titles, winning four in-a-row from 2002-05.
• After a loss today, Marian and Georgetown will had the NAIA’s longest active win streak of 12 games snapped.
• Carroll (12) holds the longest active streak of postseason appearances, followed by Morningside (Iowa) (8) and Mid-America Nazarene (Kan.) (5).
• With the Semifinal victory today, Carroll earned its 39th postseason win and holds the most in NAIA playoff history. In 19 all-time playoff trips, Carroll is 39-13.
• Two teams finished the regular season with an undefeated record, Georgetown and Marian. That is the fewest since 2002.
• There are three teams from 2010 that are playoff regulars that did not earn a trip this year: Cumberlands (Ky.) (played in last four-straight playoffs), Dickinson State (N.D.) (played in 15 overall playoffs) and Northwestern Oklahoma State (played in 12 overall playoffs).