Kansas City, Mo. - The No. 5 ranked Saint Xavier University football team will host No. 13 Bethel University (Tenn.) in the first round of the 2011 NAIA Football Championship Series when the official pairings were released by the NAIA national office Sunday afternoon. The game will take place at 1 p.m. (central) at Bruce R. Deaton Memorial Field in Chicago. Bethel won the Mid-South Conference West Division and holds an 8-2 overall record. It is the team's first appearance in the NAIA Football Championship Series since 2007.
"We thought for sure we'd get one of the MSFA Midwest League teams, so being paired up with Bethel is a little bit of a surprise," said SXU football coach Mike Feminis. "We're a little familiar with them since we played them in 2009 and 2010 and both of those games were very competitive. I haven't seen them yet this year but I know the Bethel teams we played were very talented. We're just excited to get the second season going and the chance to play at home at least one more time."
This will be the third all-time meeting on the gridiron between the two schools with the previous two coming in the season openers of both the 2009 and 2010 campaigns. SXU won the first game, 26-13, at Deaton Field in Chicago and then won a shootout, 49-32, in McKenzie, Tenn., to open last season. That meeting created nearly 1,100 combined yards of total offense between the two teams. The Wildcats have an all-time record of 2-2 overall in NAIA Football Championship Series play in two previous postseason appearances (2007 & 2006). Bethel is led by junior running back Cordarious Mann, who ranks No. 18 in the NAIA with 94.3 rushing yards per game.
To see more of the 2011 NAIA Football Championship Series pairings, please click here