NAIA Championship Series – Quarterfinal pairings
No. 8 University of the Cumberlands (KY) next challenger for No. 3, 11-0 USF Cougars
This time the Mid-South Conference is sending a champion.
The NAIA released Football Championship Series Quarterfinal pairings on Sunday and MSC East Division champion University of the Cumberlands will travel north from Williamsburg, Kentucky, to tackle No. 3 University of Saint Francis on Saturday, November 29, at noon.
The Patriots (10-1) have won 10 straight games since dropping their opener, is ranked No. 8 in last Sunday’s final regular season NAIA Top 25, and won the unofficial MSC championship game on Saturday with a 31-7 decision over MSC West Division and No. 12 Shorter College.
The Cougars improved to 11-0 for the sixth time in seven seasons with a convincing 58-3 win over 11th-ranked Union College (KY) on Saturday (November 22). Union finished second to the Patriots, who made the Bulldogs their fifth straight win with a 35-28 decision on October 11 at Union.
The Patriots run an option spread offense and 3-3 defense. John Bland is the head coach of the Patriots, is 24-8 at University of the Cumberlands in his third season and has a 29-13 career coaching record.
CU dropped its opening game of the season at Mars Hill 37-14. Mars Hill College (near Asheville, N.C.) is an NCAA Division II member. The Lions finished with a 7-4 record in the South Atlantic Conference. Since losing that first road game on September 6, the Patriots have won four straight road tests starting with a 22-20 win at then No. 24 Bethel College (MacKenzie, TN).
Travis Thurmond, a 6-foot, 215-pound senior linebacker for CU, was named MSC East Defensive Player of the Year last week. He was one of seven Patriots named to the first team and 13 more Patriots were honorable mention.
This will be the first meeting between USF and CU.
“They run the triple option, something we haven’t seen this year, so they will be a difficult challenge,” USF coach Kevin Donley said.
2008 NAIA Football Championship Series
Football Championship Series
Saturday, Nov. 29
#10 Northwestern Oklahoma State @ #1 Carroll (Mont.) (12-0), TBD
#9 Langston (Okla.) @ #2 Sioux Falls (S.D.), TBD
#8 University of Cumberlands (Ky.) @ #3 University of Saint Francis (Ind.), Noon
#7 Lindenwood (Mo.) @ #6 Morningside (Iowa), TBD
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