No. 4 Saint Francis to host No. 5 Morningside in NAIA quarterfinals

Saint Francis logo

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Fifth-ranked Morningside College will be making its way to Fort Wayne to tackle fourth-ranked University of Saint Francis on Sat., Nov. 26 in one of four NAIA Football Championship Series Quarterfinal games.

Tickets go on sale at the USF business office in Trinity Hall on Spring Street after noon on Mon., Nov. 21.

· Morningside secured its 11th trip to the FCS quarterfinals in the last 13 seasons with a 65-17 win over Tabor. The Mustangs are appearing in the FCS for the 13th-straight season, the longest active appearance streak in NAIA football.
· RB Tyler Kavan (5-11, 205, Sr.) carried 24 times for 176 yards and three touchdowns, while Dylan Loberg rushed for a pair of scores as Morningside posted an identical total of 306 yards rushing and passing. Tabor was limited to 253 total yards, including just 54 rushing yards on 39 attempts. Kavan has rushed for 100 or more yards in 6 times, 5 times in MC’s last 6 games.
· QB Trent Solsma (6-0, 215, So.) completed 22 of 30 pass attempts for 306 yards and four touchdowns for Morningside.

USF is in the quarterfinals for the 14th time in 16 NAIA FCS appearances. The 10-1 Mustangs are 17-12 in the NAIA FCS and are playing in their 11th quarterfinals game in the last 13 years.  USF is playing in its 14th quarterfinal game and is 7-6 in the quarterfinals. USF defeated No. 5 Montana Tech 42-20 last season at Bishop D’Arcy Stadium. The Cougars are 24-15 in the NAIA FCS.

This will be the third meeting between MC and USF. The Cougars eliminated the Mustangs 53-3 victory in the 2004 first round and 42-14 win in the 2005 semifinals. Both games were played in Fort Wayne, Ind.

The Mustangs have an all-time record of 17-12 in NAIA Championship Series competition and have advanced to at least the NAIA Semifinals each of the last four years and have made it to the NAIA Quarterfinals in 11 of the last 13 years. Morningside reached the NAIA Semifinals for the fifth time in school history last season, where it lost 30-27 against Southern Oregon University. Morningside’s best post-season finish came in 2012 when it lost 30-27 in overtime against Marian University in the Russell Athletic-NAIA Football National Championship Game in Rome, Ga.

USF jumped over MC to No. 2 in the Coaches’ Top 25 after the Mustangs lost to University of Wisconsin-Whitewater 35-21 on Sept. 24 in Whitewater, Wisc. That set up a rare regular-season No. 1 versus No. 2 clash between Marian and USF that MU won 35-21, the closest any team has come to the Knights this season. MC dropped from No. 2 to No. 6 after that loss. The Mustangs have won eight consecutive games since that loss and won the Great Plains Athletic Conference with an 8-0 record.

MC is 4-0 in games against NAIA Top 25 teams, 2-0 on the road. The Mustangs beat then No. 21 Concordia (Neb.) 55-13, then No. 3 Doane (Neb.) 69-7, at then No. 21 Midland (Neb.) 34-17 and at then No. 14 Dakota Wesleyan (S.D.) 39-6.

The Mustangs have 16 NAIA Top 50 Stats Top 5 rankings:

2016 Morningside Team Rankings
Ranks Number 1 in Division I in Pass Def Efficiency (80.000)
Ranks Number 1 in Division I in Opponent First Downs (140)
Ranks Number 1 in Division I in First Downs per Game (27.000)
Ranks Number 1 in Division I in Total Defense per Game (244.000)
Ranks Number 1 in Division I in Total Offense Yds per Game (577.400)
Ranks Number 1 in Division I in Scoring Defense per Game (11.400)
Ranks Number 1 in Division I in Opponent Penalties (421)
Ranks Number 2 in Division I in Scoring Offense per Game (52.500)
Ranks Number 2 in Division I in Opp 3rd Down Conv. (22.400)
Ranks Number 2 in Division I in 3rd Down Conv. (51.300)
Ranks Number 3 in Division I in Pass Efficiency (177.800)
Ranks Number 4 in Division I in Total Pass Offense (3816)
Ranks Number 4 in Division I in Pass Defense per Game (141.500)
Ranks Number 4 in Division I in Pass Offense per Game (346.900)
Ranks Number 4 in Division I in Total Scoring Offense (578)
Ranks Number 5 in Division I in Rushing Defense per Game (102.500)