The Spreadsheet: (Excel2003, 147kb)

Quick Note: Although this is technically week two for the NAIA, as they started a week earlier, we’re treating it as week one (with last week as week zero) just for consistency’s sake with the other divisions.  If you care, you can add a “1” mentally.

Saturday’s NAIA Game of the Week:
This game looked like it was going to be an ugly morass.  Six minutes into the third quarter, Montana Tech led 7-6.  Eastern Oregon had managed only 138 yards of offense and had punted seven times.  When the Mountaineers took over after an Oredigger punt at their own 1 and then immediately gave up a safety to fall behind 9-6, one might have been forgiven for throwing one’s hands up and heading back out to the tailgate.

But then, on the third play following the free kick Nathan Rudder intercepted Nick Baker and returned the ball to the Tech 4-yard line.  Four plays later, Eastern Oregon finally had the lead back, but it was then Tech’s turn to unload.  Pat Hansen scored on runs of 3 and 27 yards in the first five minutes of the fourth quarter to put the Orediggers up 23-13.

That’s when coach Tim Camp pulled the ripcord.  He benched Tyler Pine, who’d gone 13-22 for 108 yards through the first 50 minutes, and inserted sophomore Jason Simonis.  All he did was lob two touchdown passes, the second with only forty seconds remaining in the game, to regain the lead and seal a 26-23 win.

One might fear for the Mountaineers going forward based just the score; the circumstances of the game, however, indicate that perhaps EOU can actually exceed expectations if a change at quarterback in dire straits during their opener actually sparks the team to life.

It’s Bowden/Paterno All Over Again:
Let’s hope it doesn’t end the way that race did.  Kevin Donley of Saint Francis (IN) won his 256th career game on Saturday when the Cougars defeated D-III Wisconsin-Stevens Point.  That tied him with former Pacific Lutheran (now D-III) coach Frosty Westering for the NAIA record.  One win back at 255, however, is Dickinson State head coach Hank Biesiot; however, the Blue Hawks lost on Saturday to Rocky Mountain, preventing Biesiot from moving into the three way tie.  Biesiot has spent 37 years at Dickinson State; Donley is in his 15th year at Saint Francis, after stints at California (PA), Georgetown (KY), and Anderson (IN).  He’s been roaming NAIA sidelines for 34 years.  Odds are that Donley will win this race, as the Cougars are a perennial 10-win team while Dickinson State is taking on the challenge of a new and more competitive conference, but it’s good for NAIA football to have two great coaches in this position.  Donley will possibly take sole possession of the record on Saturday when his 6th-ranked Cougars take on #20 Saint Ambrose; if there’s an upset there, we’ll have our three-way tie as Dickinson State is very likely to defeat Montana-Western.

The 2013 NAIA Hall of Fame Class:
The NAIA has announced the inductees for this academic year.  To be honored for meritorious service at the NAIA Convention in Kansas City April 19-23 are Dr. Gerald Robert Burns of John Brown, Lowell Pitzer of the American Midwest Conference, and Dr. Arthur Wallace “Toby” Williams of Trevecca Nazarene.  The remaining ten inductees are all athletes and coaches, and will be honored at their sports’ respective championships over the year.  They are football players Pat Curran of Lakeland (now a D-III school), Kurtiss Riggs of Sioux Falls (now D-II), and Eddie Eviston of Georgetown (KY); baseball player Ted Ledbetter of Oklahoma City; tracksters Derrick Atkins and Aaron Cleare, both of Dickinson State; Moose Woltzen, men’s basketball coach at Lakeland; women’s basketball coaches Curt Frederickson of Northern State (now D-II) and George Wilson of College of the Ozarks; and Kyle Blaser, men’s golf coach at Oklahoma City.

The most notable inductee is Eviston, who was named NAIA Player of the Year three straight seasons from 1999-2001 and led Georgetown to the 2000-2001 NAIA Football championships after losing the championship game in 1999.

The Same Old Top 25 (the first regular season poll is not released until 9/10):
#1 Saint Xavier 41, at Olivet Nazarene 12
– Cruise control.  The Saints host #7 Saint Francis (IL) this week.
at Portland State [FCS] 38, #2 Carroll (MT) 20
– Nothing to be ashamed of here for the Saints, as an 18-point loss to a decent NCAA Division I team is actually a pretty good result for an NAIA squad.  Carroll travels to Montana Tech on Saturday, and should win (though Tech did give #16 Eastern Oregon a scare).
#3 Marian (IN) 31, #11t Bethel (TN) 7 (Big River Bowl Series, Dyersburg TN)
– Marian had little problem knocking off Bethel, to nobody’s surprise.  Marian visits Siena Heights this week, while Bethel is idle before trying to get their first win of the year at Campbellsville on the 15th.
#4 Georgetown (KY) 77, at Bluefield 9
– Bluefield’s second football game since before World War II ended much more horribly than their first, as the Tigers ran wild.  Georgetown hosts Faulkner on Saturday, and should control that game handily.
#5 MidAmerica Nazarene 34, at Central Methodist 14
– The Pioneers didn’t overwhelm, but they still won handily.  They host #9 Missouri Valley this week, and it’ll be a doozy.
at #6 Saint Francis (IN) 39, Wisconsin-Stevens Point [D-III] 31
– Kevin Donley tied the NAIA coaching wins record in what wasn’t really an upset.  The Cougars host #20 Saint Ambrose on Saturday.
Ferris State [D-II] 35, at #7 Saint Francis (IL) 24
– A disappointing loss, but not a terrible one.  Saint Francis will visit #1 Saint Xavier this week, and may find themselves at 1-2.
at #8 Morningside 49, #17 Valley City State 7 (THU)
– A pretty convincing blowout, though the Vikings might have been a reach at #17 in the preseason poll.  Morningside hosts #10 Northwestern (IA) on Saturday, and anything could happen.  Valley City State will host Mayville State, and you’d expect a win, but maybe not now.
#9 Missouri Valley 27, at McPherson 13
– Solid win for the Vikings, who as noted visit #5 MidAmerica Nazarene this week for a huge game.
at #10 Northwestern (IA) 49, Southwestern (KS) 0
– Not a problem.  Northwestern visits #8 Morningside, as noted.
#11t Ottawa idle
– The Braves rested up, and will travel to Kansas Wesleyan on Saturday.  They should get on the right side of the ledger.
at #13 Benedictine (KS) 59, Sterling 0
– The Ravens obliterated Sterling, and will take a week off before visiting Graceland on the 15th.
#14 William Penn 54, Bethel (KS) 0
– Another brutal blowout.  The Statesmen host D-III Luther on Saturday.
at Drake [FCS] 28, #15 Grand View 8
– This loss may actually be troubling, as Drake is a non-scholarship program.  Grand View visits 0-2 Olivet Nazarene this week, and we’ll see if we can figure them out finally.
#16 Eastern Oregon 26, Montana Tech 23
– This game was much closer than it needed to be, and there have to be some concerns in La Grande.  The Mountaineers host Montana State-Northern Saturday.
#18 Baker 34, at Peru State 13
– Baker had no problem whatsoever handling a team that ran wild over Dakota State the previous week, and improve to 2-0.  They’ll host Evangel this week, and will likely remain unbeaten.
at #19 Cumberlands (KY) 21, Belhaven 10
– Not sure what to make of this one; Belhaven showed some promise last year, but Cumberlands should have looked better.  They’ll visit rivals #22t Cumberland (TN) Saturday.
#20 Saint Ambrose 43, Trinity International 6
– Never a doubt here.  Next up is #6 Saint Francis (IN), and the odds aren’t good.
at #21 Doane 41, Briar Cliff 28
– A bit of a tricky contest, this one.  Still, it was a two-touchdown win.  Doane hosts Dakota State this week.
Arkansas-Pine Bluff [FCS] 17, #22t Langston 14 (Deta Classic 4 Literacy, Little Rock)
– The battle of the Lions was a good one, with Langston coming oh-so-close to upsetting their FCS foe.  They’ll “host” Bacone on Saturday in Tulsa.
#22t Cumberland (TN) 31, Kansas Wesleyan 10 (Big River Bowl Series, Dyersburg TN)
– The other game in Dyersburg saw Cumberland post a convincing win, though everyone’s beating the KCAC this year.  Cumberland, as mentioned, hosts their rivals #19 Cumberlands (KY) this week.
#24 Bethany (KS) 13, Southwestern Assemblies of God 12
– The only member of the KCAC with a win after two weeks, and even they had to scratch and claw to get it… against an opponent of dubious quality.  Bethany hosts McPherson Saturday, and there could be no unbeaten teams left in the KCAC when that’s over.
Pikeville 14, at #25 Campbellsville 7
– Campbellsville succumbed in a real slog of a game, and suffered the only loss by a ranked team to an unranked NAIA opponent on the weekend.  They’ll host Union (KY) this week, and should right the ship.

Some other scores of interest follow.

at Incarnate Word [D-II] 19, Texas College 12
at Arkansas Tech [D-II] 16, Bacone 14
at Nebraska Wesleyan 25, Saint Mary (KS) 20
at Iowa Wesleyan 36, Siena Heights 34

Lesser Blowouts:
at Waldorf 43, Dordt 7
at Robert Morris (IL) 42, Olivet [D-III] 0
Taylor 46, at Anderson (IN) [D-III] 0

Defense Is an Optional Package:
at Lindenwood-Belleville 43, Avila 37

No Offense, But… No Offense:
no games between two unranked NAIA teams fit this trope this week. Hooray!