Updated: Monday, 19 Nov 2012, 12:37 AM EST
Published : Sunday, 18 Nov 2012, 10:20 PM EST
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In the spirit of the season, the University of Saint Francis football team is thankful for a second chance . . . a rematch with Marian University.
The Cougars (9-2) and Knights (9-1) will kickoff at 1 p.m. on Sat., Nov. 24, in one of four NAIA Football Championship Series games.
It will be the first time the two institutions will meet twice in the same season on the football field, the seventh meeting since MU started its football program in 2007. USF won the first four meetings, but MU has won the last two including the 45-38 thriller earlier this season on October 13.
USF advanced to its 11th quarterfinal game in the first 15 seasons of the program with a hard-earned 22-17 win over 11th-ranked Baker University on Saturday at Bishop D'Arcy Stadium. The Knights, who were ranked No. 1 in NAIA before losing their final game of the season at St. Xavier, 23-6 on Nov. 3, bounced back to eliminate 12th-ranked Northwestern (Iowa) 42-32. The Knights rallied from a 24-21 deficit late in the third quarter to avert the Red Raiders' bid for the upset.
This will be the second meeting this season between USF and MU, both members in the Mid-States Football Association Mideast League. MU (9-1) rallied to win the first clash back on Oct. 13, 45-38, at 3,000-seat St. Vincent Health Field, in Indianapolis.
USF, MU and St. Xavier finished in a 3-way tie for the MSFA MEL championship in 2012.
USF (Ind.) leads this year's quarterfinalist with 10 previous trips. Saint Xavier (Ill.) and Morningside (Iowa) are next with six appearances.
• USF (6-3) and Saint Xavier (5-1) are the only quarterfinalists with winning records in the round.
• Missouri Valley and Morningside head into the quarterfinals with the NAIA's longest active win streak with 11-straight victories.
• There are three repeat quarterfinalists from 2011: Marian (Ind.), Saint Xavier and Saint Francis.
• Morningside boasts the longest active streak of postseason appearances with nine. The Mustangs have appeared in quarterfinals in seven of the last nine years.
• A combined 524 points were scored in the eight first round games, which is the highest first round total since the NAIA went to one division in 1997.
• Defending national champion Saint Xavier is the only team remaining with a national title.
Sat., Nov. 17 -- 2012 NAIA Football Championship Series Quarterfinal Pairings
Game 1: #18 Bethel (Tenn.) (9-3) at #2 Missouri Valley (11-0), 2 p.m.
Game 2: #10 Southern Oregon (9-2) at #3 Morningside (Iowa) (11-0), 1 p.m.
Game 3: #7 Cumberlands (Ky.) (10-1) at #4 Saint Xavier (Ill.) (10-1), 2 p.m.
Game 4: #6 USF (Ind.) (9-2) at #5 Marian (Ind.) (9-1), 1 p.m.
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