Mid-States Football Association Preview – Nov. 13

William Penn is one of three teams that could be Mid-States Football Association Midwest League champions at the end of the day on Saturday

‘Tis the season. The Championship season that is. The NAIA Championship Series will officially kick off next week, but for some teams the postseason is now. Four games this week in the MSFA will decide postseason hopes for six of the teams involved. For most of these games it is pretty cut and dry – win you’re in, lose you’re done. While there will be a lot of question marks entering this weekend, one thing is for sure – It’s do or die week in the NAIA!

 

The season will end after this week for…

Three games this week do not have postseason implications, but don’t think for a second they aren’t important games. Some of these teams have some serious questions moving forward and need to find some answers as they head into the offseason.

Waldorf at Quincy – 1:00
It has certainly been a tough year for these two squads. They have a combined record of 2-18 and both wins belong to Waldorf. Quincy has been able to put points on the board this season. This could be an interesting matchup for the two. This game will hardly grasp attention from NAIA fans around the country, but is important to the coaches and players involved. Quincy needs a win this week to have anything to smile about this season. It is at home.

PREDICTION: QU 52  WC 48

Saint Ambrose at Iowa Wesleyan – 2:00
Saint Ambrose had a win in the bag last week, but a late touchdown for Grand View changed the outcome. The Fighting Bees now have one game remaining and while it is pointless on the national level, they will be searching for a win. Iowa Wesleyan has struggled this season, but has one nice win over USF-IL. They would love to get another big win this week at home against SAU. While I think Saint Ambrose may have a sense of a hangover after a tough loss to GVU, I think they will right the ship earlier enough in this one that they will win this game. Michael Hayward has had a solid career at SAU and will be playing in his final game. He has three touchdowns left for this one.

PREDICTION: SAU 34  IWC 25

Olivet Nazarene at Malone – 2:00
Malone has put up a fight against some of the tougher teams in the conference, but have lost those games. Olivet Nazarene has arguably the toughest schedule this season in the entire country. And it has showed with a winless season. Six of the ten opponents this season were ranked at the time the Tigers met them. Add in that Taylor began the season ranked and Saint Francis (Ill.) has jumped into the rankings (and could make the postseason) since the two teams played three weeks ago. It has been a tough year, but they could end it nicely with a win on the road. The problem, though, is the game is on the road.

PREDICTION: MU 35  ONU 16

Games with postseason implications

Four games could change the postseason hopes one way or the other for six of the teams involved. It truly is “do or die” week for the teams below.

Taylor at Saint Francis (IN) – 12:00
A trap game a year ago for the Cougars and it could be this year as well. Saint Francis appears to be the better team in this matchup but you can bet the Trojans will be ready to play. Taylor knocked off a Walsh team that played right with USF. The Cougars have an advantage by playing this game at home. It is never easy to go into D’Arcy Stadium and get a win. Taylor needs to go into this game with the “we did it once, we can do it again” mindset, while Saint Francis will have the “it’s not going to happen again” demeanor. A loss would likely boot USF from the postseason with just two losses, while a win guarantees them a first round game.

PREDICTION: USF 31  TU 24

Walsh at Marian – 1:00
It’s pretty simple for Marian. Win and you’re in, lose and you’re not. The Knights have positioned themselves nicely for the postseason, but the postseason starts this weekend for MU. A loss and the season will come to a close. Walsh had things going well to start the season, but three losses later and Cavs need a miracle to get a shot at the postseason. Why not finish the season as the spoiler and with a win? The Marian defense is giving up just over 100 yards/game this season and they better be ready to play when Clinton Blossomgame and Dominic Williams, the leading rusher in the conference, come to town. Walsh has the second ranked rushing offense in the conference, while Marian boasts the third best rushing defense. The difference in this game could be in the passing game where the second ranked passer in the conference, Clay Coomer, will try to exploit a Walsh pass defense that is giving up 194 yards per game through the air, but also has a conference best 21 interceptions. Controlling the football is the biggest key to this game.

PREDICTION: MU 23  WU 17

Saint Francis (IL) at William Penn – 2:00
Saint Francis ca win the Midwest title with a win over William Penn. It will be a tough game on the road, but the Fighting Saints have big wins this season over McKendree and Saint Ambrose. They would love another one this week. William Penn is trying to stay in the postseason hunt as an At-Large, but need a win in order to do so. If the Statesmen win and McKendree loses, William Penn with be conference champions. Penn has to know they can only win their game and let the rest take care of itself. Saint Francis has flown under the radar most of the season and has snuck up on a few teams. The Fighting Saints are 5-1 at home this season and 2-2 on the road. This one is on the road.

PREDICTION: WPU 35  ISF 24

Grand View at McKendree – 2:00
Grand View had higher expectations entering this season. Some people were talking about the potential of making the postseason. It hasn’t turned out that way for the Vikings and while they will have to wait a year to try again they don’t have to wait to play spoiler. If McKendree wins they could be the conference champions. If they lose this game they will see the season come to an end this weekend. Grand View could still call this a successful season if they can win this game and finish on a four-game win streak. McKendree should be disappointed if it loses this game and does not make it to the postseason. The Bearcats returned some talented players from last season and were expected to be back in the postseason. While they still could be, it all comes down to this game.

PREDICTION: MU 24  GVU 21

Enjoy the games you attend this week. For some of you it will be the last one you go to this season and for others it will be a tune up for the postseason. Good luck to all teams involved. It is an exciting time of year to be a fan of football. The sad thing is it will be ending soon. Enjoy it now!

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