Tigerville, S.C. – North Greenville football will play its final home game of the 2016 season this Saturday when the Carson-Newman Eagles come to Tigerville for a 1pm matchup at Younts Stadium.
ONE STEP CLOSER
The Crusaders fell from 8th to 10th in the regional rankings after a loss to North Alabama two Saturdays ago but bounced back nicely in week nine. NGU came from behind to beat #24 Wingate University 34-30, bumping the team up one spot to number nine. The top seven teams in the region earn a spot in the playoffs.
ITS NOT JUST A DIVISION I DISCUSSION
Media pundits discuss it on a daily basis when talking about the Division I college football playoff, but the subject is not just relegated to power-5 conferences. As a matter of fact, strength of schedule plays a huge role in selecting the seven teams that represent each of the four regions. So where does North Greenville rank, you might ask? The Crusaders are currently first in Super Region 2 with the strength of schedule rated around the .650-mark.
NGU OPPONENTS GETTING IT DONE
One of the many variables that result in the “strength of schedule” for each of the 171 NCAA Division II football programs is the win/loss record of each team’s opponents. This is a major advantage for the Crusaders as regional committees begin to deliberate because NGU’s opponents have amassed a 43-27 record with 14 of the 27 losses coming from two teams. The Crusaders have played three teams with at least six wins and two teams that have won eight games this season.
THE SERIES: NGU VS. CARSON-NEWMAN
North Greenville and Carson-Newman have met five times previously with the Eagles getting the best of the Crusaders in four of those meetings. Three of the five meetings have been decided by seven points or less, including a one-point decision in 2014, a 35-34 victory by the Eagles. NGU will try to reverse its fortune against the Eagles, hosting them in Tigerville for the first time since 2013.
LAST YEAR’S MEETING: TURNOVERS DOOM NORTH GREENVILLE AT CARSON-NEWMAN
North Greenville was riding a six-game win streak heading into Jefferson City last season, but 21-points off of six North Greenville turnovers proved to be the difference as NGU dropped a 48-45 decision to the eagles. The Crusaders outgained the high-octane triple-option offense 413-407, but five interceptions proved costly. NGU’s defense did its best to keep the game close, forcing three Carson-Newman fumbles, but the Eagles escaped with a win, effectively knocking NGU from playoff contention.
SIZING UP THE EAGLES
Carson-Newman is normally one of the top teams in the South Atlantic Conference, but the Eagles have struggled this season, sitting at 4-5 on the season with just a 2-4 mark in conference play. The Eagles are averaging 33.7-points per game while allowing 26.8 points. Comparatively, the Crusaders score 32 points and allow 27.7. The Eagles are 1-3 against teams with a record of .500 or better and 3-2 against teams under the .500 mark.
The Crusaders and Eagles have played several common opponents including Newberry and Wingate. NGU went 1-1 against these two foes with a win against Wingate. The Eagles dropped games against each of these two teams as Newberry took a 34-19 win while the Bulldogs earned a 29-16 win. Eagles also lost to Lenoir-Rhyne 20-17, a team in which the Crusaders beat 45-0. Both the Crusaders and Carson-Newman beat Mars Hill.
HONORING OUR SENIORS
Saturday marks the last home game of the 2016 season and it is also the final home game for 13 of NGU’s seniors. Among this year’s seniors are nine defensive players that have played in 318-games, amassing 1,541-tackles, 97 tackles for a loss, 16-sacks, and 29-interceptions. Offensively, the Crusaders are losing 106 games of experience, 1,488 rushing yards and 18 touchdowns to go along with 44-knockdown blocks from the two senior offensive lineman.
2016 NGU FOOTBALL SENIOR CLASS