Game Time...13th-ranked Northwestern makes its 2013 season debut as they play (RV) Bacone College in a match-up of ranked teams. Kickoff at the Indian Bowl in Muskogee, Okla. is scheduled for 6pm. The Red Raiders are coming off a 2012 season where they finished with a 9-3 record, losing in the opening round of the playoffs to eventual national champion Marian (Ind.) 42-32. They ended the season ranked 12th in the final NAIA coaches' poll. Bacone earned votes in the 2013 preseason poll and was tied with Robert Morris (Ill.) for 27th. They are 1-0 this season. Listen live to the game via the KSOU broadcast at the following link: Listen Now! NAIA Football Report (PDF)
All-Time...This is the first ever match-up between the two teams. Northwestern has never played a team from the Central States Football League, the conference that Bacone plays football in.
Last Time Out...Kyle Kuban hooked up with David Chapman for a 25-yard touchdown pass on the first play of overtime in leading Bacone to a 37-31 overtime road win over McPherson (Kan.) last Saturday night.
Tied at 31 at the end of regulation, Bacone scored on its first possession of the overtime period as Kuban and Chapman connected for their second long touchdown pass of the game but had the extra point was blocked by McPherson. The Warriors defense sealed the victory when, on fourth-and-10, junior defensive back Chase Rettig intercepted a McPherson pass near the 10-yard line.
Bacone held the advantage in total yards (427-336) with a big edge in passing yards (356-197). The Warriors also forced five McPherson turnovers.
Kuban completed 18-of-37 passes for 306 yards and three touchdowns while also rushing for 41 yards on six carries. Bacone also played Karl Birkenfield under center and the senior completed 2-of-4 passes for 50 yards while rushing seven times, including a one-yard touchdown run in the first quarter. Chapman was the top target, catching six passes for 180 yards and two touchdowns, a performance that earned conference player of the week honors for the junior. Both Aaron McCoy and Roderick Mackey caught four passes out of the Warrior backfield and Jamaal Surrell had three catches for 74 yards and a score. Mackey led the rushing attack with eight carries for 45 yards and a touchdown.
Bacone fell behind 14-0 before a late touchdown run by Birkenfield put the score at 14-6 at the end of the first quarter. Nick Cannon converted a 41-yard field goal on the Warriors next possession to make it 14-9 but McPherson blocked a punt and returned it for a touchdown just before the half to give the hosts a 21-9 lead.
Both teams turned the ball over on their first possessions of the second half but Bacone then scored 22 straight points to take a 31-21 lead at the end of the third quarter. The Warriors' defense forced a fumble, setting up a short field and Mackey scored off a 12-yard run for the first touchdown. After a McPherson punt, Kuban and Chapman hooked up for an 80-yard touchdown pass on the first play and following the two-point conversion, put the score at 24-21. The final score of the third quarter came after Bacone's best drive, a 10-play, 80-yard drive, capped by a Kuban to Surrell touchdown pass. McPherson rallied with 10 points in the fourth to send the game into overtime.
Keshaun Malone led the defense with eight tackles and one forced fumble while Jercorey Quarterman recorded seven tackles.
Scouting Bacone...Hailing from Muskogee, Okla., the Warriors are members of the now, six-team Central States Football League for football and the Red River Athletic Conference for all other sports. A seventh team, Lyon, will join the league next year as Wayland Baptist and Oklahoma Baptist joined the league this year. Bacone played as an independent last year due to the lack of teams in the CSFL.
Bacone earned votes in the coaches' preseason poll, coming in tied for 27th with Robert Morris (Ill.), after finishing the 2012 season with a 6-3 record, 6-1 against NAIA teams. They were ranked 23rd in the final poll, the first time they appeared in the top 25 since 2004 season. Head coach Trevor Ruby is in his third season with the Warriors, taking over the program in 2011. Ruby had eight players off his 2012 team earn all-conference honors but had several graduate, including the offensive player of the year. Around 35 players return from last year's squad.
Offensively, Bacone averaged 30.7 points and 353 yards per game, relying on a ground game that churned out 203 yards per game. Kuban threw for 1,155 yards and nine touchdowns as the team's starter under center while Aron McCoy is the top returner at running back, totaling 437 yards and six touchdowns. Daniel Judkins returns at the tight end position, catching 10 passes for 115 yards and a score. The Warriors top receivers from 2012 graduated but Chapman, a transfer, and Surrell, who saw action in seven games last year, anchor this year's receiving corps. Three starters return on the o-line, led by Darrell Harmon at left tackle and Kirhee Quarles at guard.
The Bacone defense was among the nation's best in 2012, leading the NAIA in yards given up (243 per game) and third in points (13.6ppg). They totaled 36 sacks and were stingy against the run, giving up just 94 yards per game. Three all-conference players are gone from the 2012 defense but they return 14 players who appear on the Warriors' two-deep. Three linebackers return, Georgio Walton, Jeremy Sims and Jercorey Quarterman, while Chase Rettig and Montoya Waiters anchor the secondary.
Up Next...Northwestern heads on the road again next week as they travel to Crete, Neb. to play 20th-ranked Doane at 1pm.