Tigerville, SC – History struck the North Greenville University football program Sunday afternoon at 5:00 p.m. The Crusaders were awarded the school’s first ever NCAA Division II post-season playoff berth and received the #3 seed in Super Region Two, which guaranteed a first round home game. NGU will host the Albany State (GA) Rams next Saturday afternoon, Nov. 19 at Younts Stadium. Kickoff for that contest is set for 1:00 p.m.
An energy-charged crowd of almost 200 gathered in the Hamlin Music Hall on the NGU campus, and watched the NCAA Selection show live via the Internet. The Super Region Two selections were announced first on the show from Indianapolis, IN, and NGU was chosen to host Albany State. The nation’s #1 team, Delta State (MS) was chosen #1 in Region Two, followed by Mars Hill (2), NGU (3), West Alabama (4), North Alabama (5), and Albany State (6). Delta State and Mars Hill received first round byes. Should NGU get past Albany in the first round, they would travel back to Mars Hill for a rematch of its 38-28 loss in North Carolina on September 24. That game was the last time the Crusaders lost this season.
In NCAA Division II, 24 teams in four regions (out of 152 D II programs) are selected for the national playoffs. Go to the ncaa.org to see the full bracket.
North Greenville, which finished its regular season at 9-2 overall, and is also riding a seven game win streak, hosts the Rams which are perennial visitors to the Division II playoffs. A very excited NGU Head Jamey Chadwell was thrilled by the historical announcement. “Three years ago, we had to convince our sophomore class to buy into what we were trying to do,” he said. “There were a few of them that didn’t, but the ones that did have made this day possible. It seems like we’ve come a long way in a short period of time, but I couldn’t be happier for my team. But, I did tell them that this week, we’ll prepare like all the other games this season. To be honest, a lot of our players played in championships in high school and last year in the NCCAA Victory Bowl, so I don’t think it’ll take much to get them excited.”
NGU President Dr. Jimmy Epting was also in attendance and he expressed how important this moment is to North Greenville. “This is a big step forward for our university,” he said. “This will get us a lot more attention to show that our mission of having a strong academic and athletic program in a biblically sound, Christ-centered institution is possible. We are the only Division II team in South Carolina in the national playoffs, so we hope the people of South Carolina get behind us and pull for us. We hope to pack out our stadium next week!”
North Greenville and Albany State have never played, but have one common opponent this season. Albany beat Wingate 49-28 in its second game of the season, and the Crusaders down the Bulldogs 54-7 two weeks ago on the road. NGU is 5-0 at home this season and 9-1 at Younts Stadium the last two years. NGU has been red hot the last four weeks. The Crusaders have outscored their last two opponents 116-7, and in the last games, the point differential has been 177-20.
Ticket information for the first round NCAA Division II playoff game in Tigerville will be available at the NGU athletics website www.ngucrusaders.com on Monday.