Nothing better than being home for the holidays. That’s the situation for fourth-ranked University of Saint Francis this coming weekend when the Cougars play host to the fifth-ranked Montana Tech Orediggers on Sat., Nov. 28, at noon at Bishop D’Arcy Stadium/Kevin Donley Field.
The Cougars, 10-0 and the only undefeated team in NAIA, advanced to one of four NAIA Football Championship Series Quarterfinal Round games with a 37-26 win over 12th-ranked Reinhardt University on Saturday. The Orediggers, 10-1, earned a quarterfinal berth with a 44-10 win over Dickinson State (N.D.) on Saturday. The Orediggers have won eight consecutive games since losing at Eastern Oregon 33-21 in La Grande, Ore., on Sept. 19.
This will be USF’s first home game in the 18-year history of the program against a member of the Frontier Conference. USF is looking for its first win against an FC opponent in the Cougars’ fifth opportunity. All four losses have been against Carroll College either on the road or at a neutral site, the most recent 23-7 at CC in 2007.
MT won the Frontier Conference Championship for the second time under Head Coach Chuck Morrell with a regular season-ending 24-17 win over Montana Western on Nov. 14.
Plans for ticket sales at USF will be announced sometime Monday.
Montana Tech (10-1) def. Dickinson State (N.D.) (8-3), 44-10
• Montana Tech avenged a 30-13 first round loss in the 2004 FCS with a dominant 44-10 triumph over Dickinson State (N.D.).
• The Frontier Conference champion Orediggers advance to the quarterfinals for the first time since 2005 and improve to 4-7 all-time in the event.
• Running back Nolan Saraceni was the story on offense for Montana Tech. He posted his ninth game of at least 100 yards rushing with 163 yards and three touchdowns on 23 attempts. Backfield battery mate Clay Cavender also had a strong performance with 67 yards rushing and two touchdowns.
• Montana Tech outgained Dickinson State, 514-296, in total offense for the game.
• Dickinson State was making its 16th all-time appearance – the most among the qualifiers – in the FCS. The Blue Hawks, who were the winners of the North Star Athletic Association championship, end the season with an 8-3 mark and fall to 5-16 all-time in the FCS.
Since 1997, host schools in the playoffs own a 200-59 (.772) record in the FCS, including at 53-18 (.746) mark in the quarterfinals. Last season, hosts went 2-2 in the quarterfinals. This was the first time multiple road teams had won since 2007.
The 60th annual NAIA Football National Championship, presented by Waste Pro, is scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 19 in Daytona Beach, Fla. The City of Daytona Beach will host the event at Municipal Stadium for the second-straight season. For information on the NAIA’s partner hotels and details on the championship week schedule details, visit http://bit.ly/NAIARaceToDaytona2015. The game will be carried live on ESPN3 starting at 6 p.m. EST.
2015 NAIA Football Championship Series Quarterfinal Pairings
Saturday, Nov. 28 | Campus Sites | Times TBA
Game 1 – #8 Tabor (Kan.) (11-1) at #1 Morningside (Iowa) (11-1)
Game 2 – #7 Southern Oregon (9-2) at #2 Baker (Kan.) (11-1)
Game 3 – #6 Marian (Ind.) (9-2) at #3 Grand View (Iowa) (11-1)
Game 4 – #5 Montana Tech (10-1) at #4 University of Saint Francis (Ind.) (10-0), NOON
Quarterfinal Team Notes
• The University of Saint Francis (Ind.) boasts the most quarterfinal appearances among the group with 12. The Cougars also boast the most all-time FCS wins among the qualifiers with 22.
• Grand View (11-1) enters Saturday with the longest active winning streak at 11 games. USF and Tabor are next with 10-game streaks.
• USF (10-0) is the only remaining unbeaten team in NAIA football. Last season, no unbeaten teams were in the playoffs – the first time since 1994.
• USF (Ind.) (15), Baker (Kan.) (14), and Morningside (12) lead remaining teams with most qualifications.