By Alan Grosbach, Manager of Communications and Sports Information
Photo provided by Southern Oregon Athletics
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – (FCS Schedule) For the second-straight year, Marian (Ind.) and Southern Oregon claim road victories to earn a spot in the 60th annual NAIA Football National Championship, presented by Waste Pro, with wins today in the NAIA Football Championship Series (FCS) Semifinals. Marian was dominant in a 45-14 victory at conference rival Saint Francis (Ind.), while Southern Oregon overcame Morningside (Iowa), 30-27, in the game’s final minutes.
With the wins, Southern Oregon and Marian meet with the title on the line for a second-straight season. This is the first time that the same two teams have met in the championship game since Carroll (Mont.) and former member Sioux Falls (S.D.) locked horns in 2007 and then again in 2008. The Raiders won the 2014 installment, 55-31.
This is only the second time since the NAIA returned to one division in 1997 that both road teams won in the semifinals. Overall, host schools in the playoffs own a 202-63 (.762) record in the FCS, including a 27-11 (.711) mark in the four of four.
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.
Game 1 – Southern Oregon (11-2) def. Morningside (Iowa) (12-2), 30-27
• Defending national champion Southern Oregon kept its repeat title hopes alive Saturday with a 30-27 win at top-ranked Morningside (Iowa).
• The Raiders marched 75 yards, capped by a Tanner Trosin 4-yard touchdown run with 1:15 remaining, on what proved to be their final offensive possession of the contest. Morningside had an opportunity to tie the game, however its 40-yard field goal attempt was blocked as time expired.
• With the win, Southern Oregon improves to 2-0 all-time in the FCS semifinals. The Raiders have the opportunity to become the first team to win back-to-back titles since former member Sioux Falls (S.D.) accomplished the feat in 2008 and 2009. Prior to last year’s title run, Southern Oregon had never advanced beyond the quarterfinals.
• Forty-four of the games 57 points were scored in the second half.
• Trosin was the star once again for Southern Oregon, as the Folsom, Calif., native accounted for 467 total yards and three touchdowns. Trosin completed 27-of-39 attempts – one pass attempt shy of tying a season-high – for 391 yards, including a 27-yard touchdown strike to Zack Davis early in the third quarter. He also ran the ball a team-high 21 times for 76 yards and two scores.
• Wide receiver Matt Retzlaff, one of many key members still on the team from Southern Oregon’s 2014 title run, was Trosin’s favorite target with nine catches for 139 yards – both game-highs.
• Southern Oregon linebacker Devvon Gage record a game-best 13 tackles, including 1.5 tackles for loss.
• Morningside quarterback and Great Plains Athletic Conference Player of the Year Ryan Kasdorf had a solid performance despite the loss with 337 yards passing and one touchdown. He was intercepted once and sacked three times.
• The loss is the third-straight in the FCS semifinals for Morningside, which owns the NAIA’s longest active FCS appearance streak of 12. The Mustangs are 16-12 all-time in the playoffs.
Game 2 – Marian (11-2) def. Saint Francis (Ind.) (11-1), 45-14
• Marian advances to the national championship for the second-straight season and third time in the last four years with a 45-14 win over Mid-States Football Associate (MSFA) Mideast League rival Saint Francis (Ind.).
• Today’s contest was the 11th all-time meeting between the two clubs. Saint Francis won the regular season showdown, 45-42, on Oct. 3.
• With the win, the Knights improve to 13-3 all-time in the FCS and 3-1 in the semifinals.
• Marian blew the game open in the second quarter with 24 points.
• Wide receiver Krishawn Hogan, who is a two-time All-MSFA Mideast League First Team honoree, once again showed why he is one of the most dynamic athletes in NAIA football. The Indianapolis, Ind., native caught a game-high 10 passes for 149 yards and a touchdown, while also running the ball 13 times for 57 yards and five touchdowns. In three FCS games, Hogan owns an unprecedented 14 touchdowns, including 11 on the ground. He also boasts a streak of 10-straight game with 100-or-more receiving yards.
• Marian quarterback Hayden Northern was consistent throughout the contest, completing 21-of-27 passes for 254 yards and a touchdown.
• Saint Francis’ offense was led by quarterback Nick Ferrer, who tallied 347 passing yards – his sixth game this season with 300-or-more passing yards – and two touchdowns.
• Cougar wide receivers Seth Coate and Cameron Smith were Ferrer’s top targets. Coate led the team with nine catches for 122 yards, while Smith had six receptions for 112 yards. Coate accounted for both receiving touchdowns.
• Saint Francis running back Justin Green, who had been nothing short of dominant entering the semifinals, was held in check by the Knights’ defense. He was limited to 49 yards on only 11 carries. Green entered the contest averaging 234 rushing yards per game in the FCS.
• The Cougars, who entered the contest as the NAIA’s only remaining unbeaten team, fall to 23-15 all-time in the FCS. Saint Francis had previously never lost a semifinal game that was played on its home field.
Notes – Portions of the above information is credit of the participating institutions.