NAIA Game of the Week
No. 18 Baker (Kan.) (0-0) at No. 11 Ottawa (Kan.) (0-0)
Saturday, Aug. 25, Ottawa, Kan., 6 p.m. CDT, Peoples Bank Field
• Saturday's matchup between No. 11 Ottawa (Kan.) and No. 18 Baker (Kan.) marks the sixth time these two squads have played each other to open the season. Baker currently owns a 4-1 record in those meetings, including a 41-16 victory in 2011.
• This is the 81st meeting all-time amongst these two teams dating back to 1891. The Wildcats won the inaugural contest 40-0. Baker owns a 45-33-2 all-time record against the Braves.
• Ottawa enters Saturday looking for a strong start following a 2011 season that saw the Braves claim their second Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference (KCAC) championship in three years and a third-straight NAIA Football Championship Series appearance.
• Last season, Ottawa finished 9-3 overall and 4-1 in home contests. The Braves only home loss came against then-No. 9 Georgetown (Ky.), 21-19. Overall, Ottawa is 22-5 all-time at Peoples Bank Field.
• An offensive player to watch for Ottawa in 2012 is the versatile Shane Gimzo. Gimzo, a First Team All-KCAC utility selection in 2011, split time between wide receiver and quarterback for the Braves last season. He ranked third nationally in total scoring (144) and scoring per game (9.5), while ranking 27th in all-purpose yards (1,297).
• Defensively, the Braves return a pair of unanimous First Team All-KCAC selections in defensive back Donald Anderson and defensive end Zach Van Deusen. Anderson ended 2011 with 53 tackles (39 solo) and five interceptions (17th nationally), including interception returns for touchdowns against Kansas Wesleyan on Sept. 9 and McPherson (Kan.) on Oct. 15. Van Deusen led the team with 13.5 tackles-for-loss and was tied for the team-high with 4.5 sacks.
• Baker was the fourth-place finisher in the Heart of America Athletic Conference (HAAC) last season with a 7-3 overall record. The Wildcats were 2-2 in road contests with victories coming at Culver-Stockton (Mo.) and Graceland (Iowa).
• Quarterback Jake Morse, HAAC Co-Offensive Player of the Year in 2011, returns for his third season as the starter for the Wildcats. Morse completed 172-of-282 passes for 2,120 yards and 17 touchdowns a year ago, upping his career total to 3,427 yards, which is fifth all-time among Baker quarterbacks.
• In addition to Morse, Baker returns its scoring leader in junior placekicker Andrew Kimrey. Kimrey converted 40-of-44 PATs and 15 field goals (long of 47 yards) for 85 total points, which ranked fifth amongst kickers in the NAIA.
• Senior linebacker Ryder Werts anchors a Wildcat defense that ranked 11th nationally in rushing defense per game (98.4) last season. Werts, a four-year starter at Baker, led the team with 78 tackles (41 solo) - 29 more than the next highest Wildcat.
• Saturday's contest will be video-streamed live via the KCAC Digital Network. To access the video, click here.
• The NAIA Football Game of the Week is selected by fans via the official NAIA Facebook page - Play NAIA. Game of the Week voting will begin on Monday evenings with the winner posted Wednesday morning. Click HERE to visit the Play NAIA Facebook page.
This Week Around the Top 25
• This week (Aug. 20 - 26) features eight Top 25 teams in action in addition to the two squads featured in the NAIA Game of the Week. Those contests include:
o Friday - No. 2 Carroll (Mont.) at Montana State-Northern
o Saturday - No. 3 Marian (Ind.) at Olivet Nazarene (Ill.); No. 6 Saint Francis (Ind.) at Texas College; Concordia (Mich.) at No. 7 St. Francis (Ill.); UVa-Wise (Va.) at No. 11 Bethel (Tenn.); No. 13 Benedictine (Kan.) at Concordia (Neb.); No. 14 William Penn (Iowa) at Iowa Wesleyan; Graceland (Iowa) at No. 15 Grand View (Iowa)
• Perennial powerhouse and preseason second-ranked Carroll is the first Top 25 team to take the field in 2012. The Saints, winners of 12-straight Frontier Conference titles, travel to conference rival Montana State-Northern on Friday. In 2011, Carroll dropped just its second conference game since 2006 to Eastern Oregon, 41-33, on Sept. 10, 2011. However, the Saints rebounded to reach their eighth NAIA championship game in the last 10 years.
• The 2012 NAIA Big River Bowl - Sept. 1 at Sawyers Stadium in Dyersburg, Tenn.
o Kansas Wesleyan vs. No. 22 Cumberland (Tenn.) at 12 p.m. CDT
o No. 11 Bethel (Tenn.) vs. No. 3 Marian (Ind.) at 5 p.m. CDT
o For more information on the Big River Bowl, click here.
• For a complete look at the 2012 NAIA football schedule, click here.
• For this week's NAIA Football Coaches' Top 25 Poll, click here.
Top 25 Poll Superlatives
Top 25 Consecutive Poll Leaders
|1. Saint Francis (Ind.)||156|
|2. Carroll (Mont.)||141|
|3. MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.)||69|
|4. Morningside (Iowa)||62|
|5. Saint Xavier (Ill.)||51|
|6. Ottawa (Kan.)||48|
|7. Missouri Valley||29|
|8. Marian (Ind.)||26|
|8. William Penn (Iowa)||26|
|10. Georgetown (Ky.)||20|
|1. Carroll (Mont.)||56|
|2. Sioux Falls (S.D.)||55|
|3. Georgetown (Ky.)||23|
|4. Northwestern Oklahoma State||11|
|5. Saint Xavier (Ill.)||9|
For the Record
• Defending national champion and top-ranked Saint Xavier (Ill.) starts the year on Sept. 1 at Olivet Nazarene (Ill.). The Cougars have won six-straight against the Tigers with an average margin of victory of 38.3 points. Since 2004, Saint Xavier is 6-2 in season openers with its only losses during the stretch coming at NCAA Division II Wisconsin-Whitewater, 24-9, in 2008 and at NCAA Division I Illinois State, 44-14, in 2004.
• Preseason No. 10 Northwestern (Iowa) enters 2012 with the nation's longest win streak of eight games. The Red Raiders, who have not lost since falling to Doane (Neb.), 20-8, on Sept. 17, open the year on Aug. 30 when they host Southwestern (Kan.). In last year's meeting, Northwestern dominated the Moundbuilders 47-13 with running back Brandon Smith scoring four of the Red Raider's seven touchdowns.
• There are four programs making their NAIA varsity debut in 2012: Lindenwood-Belleville (Ill.), made famous by the bright-red turf of its new field, Point (Ga.) and Wayland Baptist (Texas) will participate as part of the Independent grouping, while Bluefield (Va.) is a member of the Mid-South West Conference. Bluefield, who is reinstating its program for the first time since 1941, opens the season on Saturday against Pikeville (Ky.), while Lindenwood-Belleville kicks off on Sept. 1 against Avila (Mo.). Wayland Baptist is the last of the newcomers to officially start the season, hosting Adams State (Colo.) on Sept. 8. Point starts the year on Saturday against Edward Waters (Fla.).
• Dickinson State (N.D.) head coach Hank Biesiot is the active NAIA wins leader with 255 and is on the cusp of the all-time NAIA wins mark of 256. That record is owned by Frosty Westering at Pacific Lutheran (Wash.) from 1962-97. In his 36th season, Biesiot is 255-102-1. The Blue Hawks, now members of the Frontier Conference, open the year on Sept. 1 against Rocky Mountain (Mont.).
• Also within striking distance of Westering's record is Saint Francis (Ind.) head coach Kevin Donley, who owns a career mark of 254-116-1 in 33 seasons. Donley's Cougars open the season on Saturday at Texas College.
• Saint Xavier (Ill.) quarterback Jimmy Coy returns for his senior season looking to defend his title as NAIA passing leader. Coy finished 2011 with 4,261 yards - 324 yards more than second-ranked Josh Hollingsworth of Faulkner (Ala.) (3,937). Hollingsworth, who returns to Faulkner for his junior season, led the nation with 43 touchdown passes, while Coy was second with 42
• In addition to Coy, the NAIA will see the return of leading rusher Chance Demarais of Carroll (Mont.). Demarais, the 2011 Rawlings-NAIA National Football Player of the Year, tallied 1,805 yards and 19 touchdowns on 333 carries in 2011. For his career, the senior running back has churned out 2,592 yards in 27 games - an average of 96.0 yards per contest.
• Friends (Kan.) defensive lineman Dexter Davis looks to repeat as the nation's sack leader in 2012. Last season, Davis finished tied for the lead with Brandon Smith of MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.) with 14 sacks.
• Team Offensive Leaders from 2011
o Scoring Offense: Saint Xavier (Ill.) - 666 points
o Total Offense per Game: Faulkner (Ala.) - 519.5 yards per game
o Rushing Offense: Azusa Pacific (Calif.) - 3,915 yards
o Passing Offense: Saint Xavier (Ill.) - 4,902
o First Downs per Game: Faulkner (Ala.) - 30.2 first downs per game
• Team Defensive Leaders from 2011
o Scoring Defense per Game: Marian (Ind.) - 7.4 points per game
o Total Defense per Game: Marian (Ind.) - 208.9 yards per game
o Rushing Defense per Game: Marian (Ind.) - 72.4 yards per game
o Passing Defense per Game: Missouri Valley - 132.0 yards per game
o Sacks: Carroll (Mont.) - 42 sacks
• For a complete look at the NAIA statistical leaders, click here.
List of NAIA Schools Participating in Football - Click HERE
NAIA Football Winningest Active Coaches - Click HERE
NAIA Football All-Time Winningest Coaches - Click HERE
NAIA Regular-Season Record Book - Click HERE
Looking Ahead to the National Championship
The 57th annual NAIA Football National Championship will take place at Barron Stadium in Rome, Ga., for the fifth-straight season. The 2012 championship will be contested on Dec. 17. The NAIA Football Championship Series is scheduled for Nov. 17, 24 and Dec. 1 at campus sites.
NAIA Football National Championship Information - Click HERE
National Championship Superlatives
Most Postseason Appearances
|1. Carroll (Mont.)||20||39-14||2011|
|T2. Georgetown (Ky.)||17||24-14||2011|
|T2. Westminster (Pa.)*||17||31-11||1997|
|4. Sioux Falls (S.D.)*||16||36-12||2010|
|T5. Dickinson State (N.D.)||15||6-15||2010|
|T5. Northwestern (Iowa)||15||20-13||2006|
|T5. Pacific Lutheran (Wash.)*||15||24-12||1996|
|T5. Lindfield (Ore.)*||15||16-12||1994|
|T9. Findlay (Ohio)*||13||21-9-1||1997|
|T9. Central Arkansas*||13||12-10-2||1992|
|1. Carroll (Mont.)||39-14|
|2. Sioux Falls (S.D.)*||36-12|
|3. Westminster (Pa.)*||31-11|
|T4. Pacific Lutheran (Wash)*||24-12|
|T4. Georgetown (Ky.)||24-14|
|6. Findlay (Ohio)*||21-9-1|
|T7. Northwestern (Iowa)||20-13|
|T7. Carson-Newman (Tenn.)*||20-6-1|
|9. Saint Francis (Ind.)||19-12|
|T10. Linfield (Ore.)*||16-12|
|T10. Texas A&I*||16-1|
Programs with Most National Championship Titles
|1. Texas A&I*||1959, 69-70, 74-76, 79||7|
|T2. Carroll (Mont.)||2002-05, 07, 10||6|
|T2. Westminster (Pa.)*||1970, 76-77, 88-89, 94||6|
|4. Carson-Newman (Tenn.)*||1983-84, 86, 88-89||5|
|T5. Findlay (Ohio)*||1979, 92, 95, 97||4|
|T5. Sioux Falls (S.D.)*||1996, 2006, 2008-09||4|
* Former NAIA Institution
For the complete NAIA Football National Championship Record Book - Click HERE