HOMEWARD BOUND! USF To Host Azusa Pacific In Playoffs
2nd Seeded Cougars Face Azusa Pacific Cougars Next Saturday At Noon
History was made Sunday afternoon when the #4 University of Sioux Falls Football Team (11-0), which won its first-ever NSIC crown on Saturday, learned that they were selected the #2 seed and will host its first-ever NCAA DII first round playoff game at Bob Young Field.
USF, which is one of seven teams from Super Region 3 invited to the NCAA DII playoffs, will host to face #7 seed and GNAC conference champ Azusa Pacific, Calif., (9-2) at Bob Young Field at noon on Saturday, Nov. 19.
“This is a significant moment in Cougar history,” said USF head football coach Jed Stugart, whose team defeated 10-of-11 NSIC teams by double digit point total. “To win the league for the first time and earn our first home playoff game is very special and important. I am proud of our players and coaches who have committed to success here. They have worked hard and because they believe and love each other, they have a bond that enables them to embrace opportunities,” he said. “This is really exciting.”
It is the second straight appearance in the DII playoffs for USF, which was a four-time national champion at the NAIA level before moving up to DII in 2011. It is also USF’s third straight postseason appearance overall.
“This means a lot for the program and the school,” said USF Director of Athletics Josh Snyder. “We are excited about the opportunity to host a game at Bob Young Field. Our school, faithful alumni and students will embrace this moment,” he said.
The Cougars, which has won 11 straight games in a season for the first time at the DII level, navigated a difficult schedule with wins over four teams that finished 8-3 attests (Bemidji State, Winona State, Augustana and Minnesota State). Overall, USF had wins over five teams with .500 or better records. The Cougars were one of two NSIC teams selected to the playoffs as #5 Minnesota-Duluth (10-1), the North Division champs, will travel to face Emporia State (10-1) of the MIAA.
Two years ago, USF was left out of the postseason DII dance but has taken the challenge and won 20-of-23 games since winning the Mineral Water Bowl (42-14 over Central Oklahoma) in December 2014.
The #1 seed in Super Region 3 is MIAA champion Northwest Missouri State (11-0) which earned a bye and will face the winner of UMD and Emporia State. In the other matchup, #3 Harding (11-0) will host Central Missouri (9-2).
“What a special year this has been,” said Stugart, whose team has featured the third ranked offense (532.0 ypg) and second ranked rushing squad (323.2 ypg) in DII for most of the season. “We are ready to get to work and prepare for our biggest DII game in program history next Saturday.”
NCAA DII – Super Region 3 Playoff Matchups
#1 seed Northwest Missouri State (11-0), bye
#7 Asuza Pacific (9-2) at #2 Sioux Falls (11-0), Sioux Falls, S.D.
#6 Central Missouri (9-2) at #3 Harding (11-0), Harding, Ark.
#5 Minnesota Duluth (10-1) at #4 Emporia State (10-1), Emporia, Kan.