Schedule note: NAIA Championship Series-First Round
@ Missouri Valley
NAIA Championship Series-Quarterfinals
|NAIA Football Championship Series-1st Round|
Sun, Nov 17 - Sun, Nov 17
|Venue:||Greg Mitchell Field|
Game Time...Northwestern College will play Missouri Valley in the NAIA Football Championship Series First Round on Saturday, Nov. 23. Kickoff is set for noon on Gregg-Mitchell Field in Marshall, Mo. Northwestern, ranked 12th in the NAIA, earned an at-large bid into the 16-team FCS with an 8-2 overall record. Seventh-ranked Missouri Valley were the Heart of America Conference (HAAC) co-champions with an 8-1 record, 8-2 overall. Watch/listen live to the game via the Missouri Valley webcast at the following link: Watch/Listen Now! or follow the live stats at this link: Live Stats! or listen to the KSOU broadcast at this link: Listen Now!
All-Time...This is just the second ever match-up between Northwestern and Missouri Valley as the teams first met in the second round of the FCS in 2006. Missouri Valley defeated the Red Raiders 33-26 in Marshall, Mo., ending the season for NWC with a 12-2 record.
Missouri Valley held a 24-13 halftime lead but Northwestern scored the only touchdown of the third quarter on a 41-yard touchdown pass from Craig Hector to Blake Reinke. The two-point conversion failed to make the score 24-19. A safety by the Vikings defense put the hosts back up by seven (26-19) but a three-yard touchdown run by senior Keith Sietstra tied the game at 26 with eight minutes left. Missouri Valley answered with the game-winning drive on its final possession, scoring on a 47-yard pass play with one minute left.
Scouting Missouri Valley...The Vikings were the HAAC co-regular season champions for the third consecutive year, finishing with an 8-1 league record and tied with #4 Baker (Kan.) and #8 Benedictine (Kan.). It was their 13th conference championship all-time. They are 8-2 overall, losing to 15th-ranked Ottawa 20-6 in the first game of the regular season. MVC also lost to Baker (13-10) at home on Oct. 26. Since then, the Vikings have won three straight games, defeating #24 Peru State, #8 Benedictine and Avila.
Missouri Valley is making its 11th trip to the FCS and has a 9-10 overall record in the NAIA postseason. They reached the championship game in 1974 and have made four trips to the semifinal, most recently last year in 2012. The Vikings are 6-4 in first round games and are one of nine teams in this year's field who also qualified for the FCS last season. They are making their third straight trip to the postseason.
Paul Troth is in his 12th season as the Vikings head coach, taking over in 2002 after a successful five year stint as the head coach at Huron University (S.D.). Troth is 127-52 all-time (heading into this year) at MVC, leading his teams to three conference titles and five FCS appearances. He was the HAAC coach of the year in 2012 after leading his team to a 12-1 overall record, losing to Marian (Ind.) in the national semifinals 20-17. Missouri Valley has finished in the top 20 in six of the last seven years under coach Troth.
Missouri Valley averages 28 points and 443 yards per game, ranking eight in the HAAC in rush (158ypg) and first in passing offense (286ypg). Sophomore Zack Dorton gets the start under center, replacing three-year starter, Bruce Reyes, who was injured last week in the win over Avila. Reyes led the conference in passing yards (267ypg) and total yards (282ypg), accounting for 19 touchdowns. Dorton is playing in his sixth game this year, completing 15-of-28 passes for 189 yards and an interception. The Vikings receiving corps is led by freshman Darrian Turk who ranks ninth in the league with 38 receptions for 424 yards and two touchdowns. Junior Jarrell Davis leads the team with 554 yards on 33 catches and five scores. Davis doubles as the team's kick returner, averaging 24 yards per attempt. Missouri Valley's running game is led by Malachi Daniels with 137 carries for 560 yards and eight touchdowns while James Tillman has 92 carries for 431 yards and eight scores. The Vikings o-line has given up 23 sacks this season, 10th most in the HAAC.
The Vikings boast the top defense in the NAIA, giving up just 11.4 points and 219 yards per game. They have given up 10 points or less four times this season and only one team, Ottawa, scored 20 or more points. MVC ranks first against the run, holding teams to 67 yards per game, and leads the HAAC with 29 sacks. Senior linebacker Danny Reyes leads the team with 57 tackles and Ty Phillips, a junior defensive end, has 54 stops and a team-high 22 tackles for a loss. Phillips earned first team all-conference honors last year and leads the team with eight sacks. Andrew Huhman, a second team all-conference pick in 2012, is second on the team with 4.5 sacks from the linebacker position. Cornerback Tyler Davis, a three-time all-conference pick on defense and as a punt returner, leads the team with three interceptions and has 26 tackles. Davis is ninth in the NAIA in punt returns, averaging 13.8 yards per attempt.
Northwestern News and Notes...The Red Raiders closed the season with six straight wins to finish second in the GPAC with a 7-2 record, 8-2 overall. They climbed all the way to 12th in the final NAIA coaches' poll, the highest ranking of the season for NWC. Northwestern has four wins over teams that were/are ranked: Bacone, Dakota Wesleyan, Concordia and Morningside.
Northwestern is making its 17th trip to the FCS, the third most appearances among this year's field. The Red Raiders are 20-14 all-time in postseason, winning the title in 1973 and 1983 and finishing as the runner-up three times. They are making their second straight trip to the FCS, the first time since 1984-1985 that the Red Raiders qualified in back-to-back years. Northwestern owns a 13-3 record in the first round.
Kyle Achterhoff is in his fifth season as the team's head coach and 16th overall season as a coach within the Red Raiders program. He is 33-10 (heading into this season) all-time at NWC, and owns the best winning percentage in the program's history. Achterhoff guided Northwestern to a 9-3 overall record last year, losing in the first round of the FCS to eventual national champion Marian 42-32. 14 starters and 36 letterrwinners return off last year's team.
Northwestern averages 36.5 points and 441 yards per game, ranking among the NAIA's leaders in both categories. They have a balanced attack, churning out 188 yards rushing and 253 through the air. Senior Davis Bloemendaal, a three-year starter and three-time all-conference selection, directs the Red Raider offense at quarterback. Bloemendaal has completed 180-of-309 pass attempts for 2,501 yards and 28 touchdowns, second best in the GPAC. The senior ranks third all-time at NWC in both passing yards (6,690) and touchdowns (68). Two Northwestern receivers, Ben Green and Brice Byker, are among the top receivers in the GPAC. Green, a first team all-conference selection, posted the 11th most receiving yards in a single season and most since the 1996 season. Green ranked third in the GPAC with 53 catches for 829 yards and a team-high 12 touchdowns. Byker, a second team all-GPAC pick, totaled 47 catches for 706 yards and eight touchdowns. Jacey Hoegh, a two-time all-conference pick, posted 31 catches for 423 yards and three scores. Senior Theo Bartman led the ground game with 684 rushing yards, eight most in the GPAC. He averaged nearly five yards per carry and totaled eight touchdowns. Bartman, a two-time first team all-conference pick, ranks eighth all-time with 2,615 rushing yards and 30 touchdowns. Also a pass-catching threat, Bartman has 33 catches for 422 yards and five touchdowns. The Red Raiders o-line allowed 22 sacks and is led by Tyler Janota, a first team all-conference selection.
The Raider D gives up 26 points and 410 yards per game this season, ranking fifth in the NAIA with 34 sacks. Senior Isaiah Twitty was second in the GPAC with 82 tackles, including 16 stops for a loss of 62 yards. Twitty, a first team all-GPAC pick, had 8.5 sacks and five forced fumbles. Greg Hegstad ranked fourth in the GPAC with 58.5 tackles and Nate Van Ginkel posted 49.5 tackles. Both players were all-conference selections. Sam Van Ginkel, a first team all-GPAC pick, had 8.5 sacks and 24 tackles while Jermaine Ambrose earned second team all-GPAC honors with 35 tackles from his defensive back spot.
# 5 | Quarterback/Punter
Senior from Orange City, Iowa
# 8 | Safety
Senior from Rock Valley, Iowa
# 25 | Running Back
Senior from Rock Valley, Iowa
# 34 | Linebacker
Senior from Chesapeake, Va.
# 73 | Offensive Line
Junior from Goliad, Texas
# 15 | Wide Receiver
Senior from Sioux Center, Iowa
# 31 | Defensive Back
Junior from New Orleans, La.
# 44 | Linebacker
Junior from Sanborn, Iowa
# 85 | Wide Receiver
Junior from Sioux Falls, S.D.
# 11 | Tight End
Senior from Elk Horn, Iowa
# 7 | Defensive End
Freshman from Rock Valley, Iowa