The University of the Cumberlands (UC) Patriot football program earned a statement victory on Saturday as they upended the #9 MidAmerica Nazarene University Pioneers by a score of 42-24. The #7 Patriots did this with a rushing offense that continues to give each of their opponents' trouble. After soaking in the victory on Saturday evening, the Patriot coaching staff and players are back up and ready for work on Sunday as they learned who their next opponent will be in the NAIA FCS Quarterfinals.
UC will now make the trip to Chicago, Illinois as they will now take on the #4 ranked St. Xavier University (SXU) Cougars. The Cougars earned a share of the Mid-States Football League East Division Championship as they went 9-1 overall this season and 4-1 in conference play. Their only loss of the season came at the hands of the University of St. Francis (Ind.) by a score of 25-13.
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 early as SXU held 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 will be only the second quarterfinals appearance for the Patriots with its first coming during the 2008 season. The Patriots lost that game to Mid-States Football Association (MSFA) Mideast League foe University of Saint Francis (Ind.), 31-20.
St. Xavier Coach Mike Feminis commented, "Cumberlands is an extremely talented football team and we have some familiarity with their program from our match-up a couple of years ago. They have an extremely talented rusher in Terrance Cobb (Knoxville, TN) 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 Cougars currently have the #2 passing offense in the country as they average 325.3 yards per game and 3,578 yards passing on the season. They also have the #3 scoring defense in the country as they average allowing only 13.3 points per game.
Cumberlands Head Coach John Bland commented, "St. Xavier is a tough team in all phases. They are well coached and play with a lot of confidence. I believe we match up well though. We need to play well in all phases of the game to win and advance."
The game is scheduled for a 2 p.m. start at Bruce R. Deaton Memorial Field in Chicago.
For more information on the Patriot football program as well as other Patriot athletics, please visit www.cumberlandspatriots.com.