Today: St. Ambrose University hosts the Southern Oregon University Raiders in an NAIA Football Championship Series opening-round game at 1 p.m. at Brady Street Stadium.
Twitter updates: @TJ_DA
Tune in: KALA radio (88.5hd2 or 106.1-FM) or through the Internet at sau.edu/athletics – click on football and the 2012 schedule for the listen now link.
Rankings: SAU finished No. 8 in the final NAIA Coaches poll and SOU was 10th. The two teams have never faced each other.
How they got here: Both teams earned their conference's automatic berth into the playoffs. SAU shared the Mid-States Football Association Midwest League crown with a 5-1 record. SOU shared the Frontier Conference title with Montana Tech, but took the title with last Saturday's 48-26 victory over Montana Tech. … Both teams have had success this season against ranked foes. SAU is 4-1 vs. Top 25 teams and the Raiders are 3-1.
Playoff histories: This is SAU's 12th NAIA playoff appearance and has a 3-11 record; the Bees are 1-3 in home playoff games. The Bees are in the playoffs for the first time since 2008. … This is SOU's fourth playoff trip, but first since 2002. The Raiders have a 3-3 record, having won in the first round in each trip, all at home. They are 0-2 in playoff road games.
On SOU: The Raiders come in with video game-like offensive statistics, but a defense that is giving up 441.7 yards and 32.5 points per game. The Raiders have some defensive numbers that are very similar to SAU's in that they have 77 tackles for loss (to SAU's 76) and both teams have 26 sacks. SOU is +5 in turnovers, SAU is just +2. … On offense, sophomore QB Austin Dodge has set SOU records and leads the nation in passing yards (4,326), total offense (4,419), TD passes (36), completions (292) and attempts (447). Senior WR Patrick Donahue leads the NAIA in all-purpose yards (1,944) and has an SOU record with 86 receptions.
On SAU: A victory would give the Bees the fourth 10-win season in program history (1950, 1987, 2008). … Junior QB Eric Williamson has thrown a single-season record 34 touchdowns this season and is in the top five in single-season passing yards (2,626) and completions (198). HE is nursing a sprained ankle that Coach Mike Magistrelli said is doing better than he expected. … Fr. WR Zach Grant has set a single-season record for TD catches (16, also second on the career TD catch list behind Michael Hayward's 33) and is No. 2 in receiving yards (1,132; 160 behind Hayward) and receptions (87; one behind Hayward).
-- By Tom Johnston, email@example.com
By the numbers
SOU SAU 54.4 ppg off. 33.1 32.5 Ppg def. 16.3 657.0 off. Yds/game 437.4 441.7 def. Yds/game 323.5
Today is Sunday, Sept. 21, the 264th day of 2014. There are 101 days left in the year.
1864 -- 150 years ago: We hear that Col. Reynolds has employed C.D. Merrill to drill for water to supply the Rock Island Barracks. 1889 -- 125 years ago: Billy Catton, famous billard player, returned to Rock Island with a view to making this city his home in the future. 1914 -- 100 years ago: The belief is growing that a great decisive battle of the World War was being fought at Verdun, a strong fortress of France on the Meuse near the French frontier, according to a London dispatch. 1939 -- 75 years ago: William Stremmel, 91, Rock Island's last Civil War veteran, died. 1964 -- 50 years ago: Workmen of the Midwest Wrecking Co., Clinton, have begun razing the historic old office building of Deere & Co., 1325 3rd Ave., Moline. The site will be used by the Deere Plow Works for its shipping and receiving department. 1989 -- 25 years ago: East Moline developer Jim Massa says the financial package for the proposed $34.5 million Quad City International Motor Speedway is down to making sure "all the i's are dotted and t's are crossed. Finalizing this will give the green light to see if NASCAR and CART, the auto racing sanctioning bodies, approve race dates.