Northwestern Oklahoma State University is a win away from guaranteeing itself a spot in the NAIA Championship Series. A loss could still allow NWOSU into postseason play, but a win will guarantee it. Southern Oregon doesn’t have the same hopes for this game. They can play spoiler and end the season on a high note. SOU began the season with two wins, but ran into a buzz saw and the Raiders find themselves 3-6 on the season. NWOSU began 0-2, but has reeled off seven straight to win the Central States Football League.
Last season Langston was the CSFL Champion. The Lions had to close the season at Azusa Pacific, an Independent similar to Southern Oregon. The Lions lost the game and it nearly cost them a position in the postseason. NWOSU doesn’t want that to happen and leave their postseason hopes in the hands of the voters.
Here is a look at the matchup position-by-position:
Brandon Baldwin was one of the high profile running backs entering the season. He has rushed for nearly 600 yards and six touchdowns this season in seven games played. He is also averaging 83 yards per game this season and has the longest rush from scrimmage for the Raiders, a 27 yard carry. C.J. Valdivia took over the game last week without Baldwin in the lineup and the freshman led the team to a win over Menlo. He carried the ball 29 times for 147 yards and a touchdown to defeat the Oaks. This could be a very good combination moving forward.
Nate Guillory will be on the opposite sideline for the Rangers. He was also a high profile back entering the season and has certainly lived up to his billing. Guilllory is just shy of 1,000 yards and has 11 touchdowns on the season. He is averaging 6.3 yards per carry and 107.6 yards per game. While he has carried the ball 154 times this season, his backup, Jared Jackson, has 127 carries this season as well. Jackson has added 518 yards and five touchdowns this season to compliment the effort of Guillory.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends:
Korey Williams has been the go-to guy for NWOSU. He has 69 receptions this season and nine touchdowns. He has also completed one pass this season for a 41-yard touchdown. Five other players have 10 or more receptions, while the group has combined for 20 touchdown receptions. Kent McDonald has added five of the touchdowns, including the longest passing play of the season of 57 yards.
Vance Beach is the leading receiver for the Raiders this season with 51 catches. He is tied with Danny Kennan for the team lead with five touchdown receptions. This group has had a tough season with struggling quarterbacks all season long. Keenan and Beach are the guys who will see most of the receptions on Saturday while Justin Avriett, Isiah Watson and Mike Springer could see some receptions as well.
It has been a tough year to be an SOU quarterback. Three guys have seen time as the signal caller and all have seen their share of struggles. In just one game Chris Kammel completed less than 50 percent of his pass attempts. Paul Sweeney and Mike McDonald have split time most of the season, but both players have thrown more interceptions than touchdowns this season. McDonald has had the most success, completing 53 percent of his passes and 877 yards. While quarterbacks have struggled this season they will need to be solid on Saturday to pick up a win.
Kyle Jech has been the main guy for the Rangers. He has completed more than 60 percent of his passes this season for over 1,500 yards. Add it 19 touchdowns and Jech has an efficiency rating of 134 this season. He has made a handful of mistakes this year, however, with 14 thrown interceptions. Jech has talented wide receivers to throw to and is opened up by the rushing attack of Guillory and Jackson.
The defense has been key for the Rangers this season with 82.5 tackles for a loss and 20.5 sacks. With 13 fumble recoveries and 16 interceptions the defense has found a way to get the ball back into the hands of the offense. They have also blocked four kicks this season. It’s been the linebackers and secondary that have led this defense this season. They will be all over the field on Saturday and force Southern Oregon into some tough positions.
Southern Oregon has had their share of success on defense as well. They have dropped the opposing quarterback 21 times this season and forced 11 fumbles and 11 interceptions. The Raiders defense will have to find a way to stop the run if they are going to win this game. They are facing one of the premier running backs in the country, but have surrendered 193 yards per game on the ground this season. Stopping the run is critical to this team’s success on Saturday.
Both teams have some playmakers on offense, but this season Northwestern Oklahoma State University has been more successful. Credit some of the struggles of SOU to the schedule they have played. The Raiders have only had four games this season involving NAIA opponents. The rest of the schedule has been made up of NCAA teams. It is tough to compare records and schedules when these two teams meet. As mentioned above, the Rangers are a win away from the postseason and if that doesn’t get them pumped for this game then not much will. Northwestern Oklahoma State should be inspired to play this game.
**Don’t forget to watch the NAIA Championship Selection Show on the Victory Sports Network this Sunday, November 14. The show is set to begin at 1:30 CT with selections around 2:00. Find out who is going where this postseason. Click here to watch the show.