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It has been six years since Georgetown College advanced to the NAIA Football Championship Series Quarterfinals, but a 21-7 home victory punched the Tigers (11-0) ticket for a second round game.
The No. 3 ranked team in the nation will host No. 9 Saint Francis (9-2). Kickoff is set for 1:30 pm Saturday at Toyota Stadium. Tickets are now on sale by contacting assistant athletic director Austin Sparks. General admission is $5, bleacher backs $12 and chair backs $15.
Saint Francis was ranked as high as No. 2 through the first three regular season polls after being tabbed No. 4 in the preseason. The Cougars lost in Week 4 to then No. 1 Saint Xavier, 42-31. Their only other loss came to Marian (11-0), which is currently No. 1.
USF started the postseason on the road at Missouri Valley and pulled off the 28-14 upset. Only other team to win on the road was St. Francis out of Illinois.
This is the seventh meeting between the Tigers and the Cougars in postseason. Georgetown won the first three matchups in 1999, 2000 and 2002. However, USF knocked GC out of the playoffs in 2003, 2004 and 2005. Overall the Tigers are 6-2 in the quarters, while the Cougars are 6-3.
There is an even deeper history for these two schools' head coaches. Current USF coach Kevin Donley led the Tigers from 1982-92 and is the second winningest coach at Georgetown behind current coach Bill Cronin. The Cougars win Saturday gives Donley 255 career wins, tying him for most wins by an active coach. He picked up 75 of those in Orange & Black. He also guided the 1991 team that won GC's first national title. On his staff was none other than Cronin. The veteran coach served as an assistant to Donley from 1982-92. GC was 75-33-1 during those years with one national championship.
When Donley left after the 1992 season, Cronin was named head coach at Madison Central High School in Richmond, KY. Over the next four seasons, the Indians went 26-18, including 11-1 in 1996, before Georgetown came calling for the veteran coach again.
Since 1997, Cronin is 144-34 with two national championships and two national championship runner-up finishes. His 144 wins puts him in the Top 5 on the win list for active coaches.
The first round win over Benedictine runs the Tigers playoff record to 21-8 during Cronin's tenure. But, following such prominence in the postseason from 1998-2006, the Tigers took a three year absence. This is the first time back in the quarterfinals since 2005 and first time hosting the post-Thanksgiving game since 2004. GC defeated MidAmerica Nazarene that season before losing to Saint Francis in the semifinals. Now the two storied programs and coaches will meet once again in the holiday game.
Something Cronin and company might be thankful for this year, the teams' stingy defense. Georgetown is ranked third this season allowing 12.3 points per game. The Tigers defense will be put to the test as the Cougars are No. 7 in scoring offense, averaging 39.6 points per game. The most GC has given up all season is 27 to Lindsey Wilson College.
The defense allowed no points in the first round, as the lone Ravens score came off a pick six in the opening seconds of the game. Quarterback Neal Pawsat shook off that miscue and went on to earn Offensive Player of the Game with 23-of-39 passing for 267 yards and two touchdowns.
Other quarterfinal matchups and tidbits:
NAIA Football Championship Series
Quarterfinals | Saturday, Nov. 26 | All Times Local and subject to change
• St. Francis (Ill.) (10-2) @ Marian (Ind.) (11-0), 1 p.m.
(All-time series in FCS: 0-0)
• Azusa Pacific (Calif.) (9-2) @ Carroll (Mont.) (11-1)&, 12:07 p.m.
(All-time series in FCS: Carroll leads 2-0)
• Saint Xavier (Ill.) (11-1) @ MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.) (10-1)&, 1 p.m.
(All-time series in FCS: 0-0)
& hosted a 2010 FCS Quarterfinal game
$ played on the road in the 2010 FCS Quarterfinal
2011 Championship Series Quick Facts
• Carroll (Mont.) leads this year's Quarterfinalists with 16 previous trips. Saint Francis (Ind.) is next in line with nine appearances.
• Defending national champion Carroll (Mont.) holds six NAIA National Championships, which ties former NAIA member Westminster (Pa.) for the second-most all-time. The seventh title would tie Texas A&I for the most in FCS history. Carroll is the only team that has won at least three-straight titles, winning four in-a-row from 2002-05.
• Marian and Georgetown head into the Quarterfinals with the NAIA's longest active win streak with 11-straight wins.
• There are five repeat Quarterfinalists that played in the 2010 FCS Quarterfinals: Carroll, Marian (Ind.), Saint Xavier (Ill.), Saint Francis and MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.).
• Three teams in this year's FCS have won at least one National Championship: Azusa Pacific (Calif.) (1), Carroll (6) and Georgetown (Ky.) 3).
• The FCS has four of the top-five active coaching wins leaders, including Saint Francis' (Ind.) Kevin Donley. In his 33rd season, Donley is now 255-116-1 and tied active wins leader, Hank Biesiot of Dickinson State (N.D.).
• Carroll (12) holds the longest active streak of postseason appearances, followed by Morningside (Iowa) (8) and Mid-America Nazarene (Kan.) (5).
• With the First Round victory on Saturday, Carroll earned its 37th postseason win and set the all-time mark. In 19 all-time trips, Carroll is 37-13.
• Three teams playing in the Quarterfinals are appearing in their Football Championship Series for at least the 10th time.
• Carroll, Georgetown (Ky.) and Saint Francis are this year's qualifiers with at least 10 wins all-time in the Football Championship Series.
• Of the teams that have made at least one previous FCS trip, St. Francis (Ill.) was the only program searching for its first victory. The Fighting Saints defeated Morningside, 21-17 on Saturday.
Since 2000, the home teams in the FCS Quarterfinals are 32-11 overall with all
four hosts schools winning this past year.
• The Mid-States Football Association Mideast Division (MSFA - Mideast) and Heart of America Athletic Conference (HAAC) landed the most squads in the FCS. The MSFA - Mideast is represented by Marian, Saint Francis and Saint Xavier (Ill.). Playing from the HAAC is Benedictine (Kan.), MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.) and Missouri Valley.
• Two teams finished the regular season with an undefeated record, Georgetown and Marian. That is the fewest since 2002.