Kansas City, Mo. - Following its 31-0 victory over No. 13 William Penn University (Iowa) yesterday in the NAIA Football Championship Series First Round, the No. 4 ranked and 2011 NAIA defending national champion Saint Xavier University football team learned Sunday morning it will now face off against No. 7 University of the Cumberlands (Ky.) for the quarterfinals round of the 2012 NAIA Football Championship Series. The game is scheduled for a 1 p.m. start at Bruce R. Deaton Memorial Field in Chicago. The Patriots are members of the East Division of the Mid-South Conference (MSC). CU brings a 10-1 overall record to Deaton Field and finished in second place in the final MSC's East Division standings with a 4-1 conference mark trailing only No. 1 Georgetown College (Ky.) at 5-0.
"Cumberlands is an extremely talented football team and we have some familiarity with their program from our match-up a couple of years ago," said SXU football coach Mike Feminis. "They have an extremely talented rusher in Terrance Cobb and he was tough to contain as a freshman the last time we met, so I'm sure he will present our defense with even more of a challenge this time around. Our guys know that every postseason game is a huge test and we have to play at our best if we want to come away with the victory."
The two teams squared off at Deaton Field in the first round of the 2010 NAIA Football Championship Series with the Cougars coming away with a 66-19 victory. The game was close in the early goings with SXU holding a 14-13 advantage in the second quarter before three unanswered touchdown passes by former standout quarterback Anthony Kropp allowed the hosts to pull away for good. This is only the second quarterfinals appearance for the Patriots with its first coming during the 2008 season. Cumberlands lost that game to Mid-States Football Association (MSFA) Mideast League foe University of Saint Francis (Ind.), 31-20. Saint Xavier holds a 5-1 all-time record in the NAIA Football Championship Series Quarterfinals.
The Patriots have the NAIA's leading rusher in junior running back Terrance Cobb (#3) with 1,817 yards on the ground (165.2 ypg) this season. Cobb also leads the NAIA in total scoring with 150 points and is averaging a nation-best 13.6 points a game. In fact, Cobb scored all three touchdowns as a freshman in the last meeting between the two teams. The Patriots currently lead the NAIA in rushing yards per game averaging 344.5 yards a contest. The CU defense is led by junior linebacker Weston Hazelhurst. He has a team-best 98 total tackles (41 solos) and ranks second overall in the nation in tackles for losses (23.5).
Click here to see the NAIA's official quarterfinals pairings release...