Preview: First Place at Stake When Red Devils Visit Concordia Saturday

Preview: First Place at Stake When Red Devils Visit Concordia Saturday

EUREKA -- Sole possession of first place in the Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference standings and the inside track for an automatic berth to the NCAA Division III playoffs are on the line Saturday when Eureka makes the 229-mile trek to Mequon, Wis. for a late-season showdown with Concordia (Wis.) at 1 p.m. inside Tomasini Stadium. Both the Red Devils and Falcons bring perfect 4-0 NACC records into the contest.

PDF Version of Eureka/Concordia Pregame Notes

ABOUT EUREKA
The Red Devils are 7-0 overall and 4-0 in the NACC, having won 15 consecutive regular-season games since a 48-20 trouncing of Minnesota Morris in Septembe 2017. The 2018 Red Devils join the 1991 squad as the only EC football teams to begin a season 7-0 and are one of 19 teams unbeaten teams remaining in Division III. Eureka has won 23 of its last 27 regular-season games.
 
Eureka continues to deploy one of the nation's most productive offensive attacks, averaging 480.0 yards per game to lead the NACC and rank 19th nationally. The Red Devils are on pace to threaten their single-season program record for total offense of 4,562 set in 1995.
 
Defensively, the Red Devils' starting unit hasn't allowed a point over the last five quarters. Eureka leds the NACC with 297.6 yards allowed per contest and just 19.9 points allowed per game. EC also has the conference's best third-down converstion defense (32%), fourth-down conversion defense (33%) and fewest first downs allowed (107).
 
In the midst of a major program renassance that culminated in the program's first-ever NCAA playoffs bid last year, Eureka entered the 2018 season with 86 student-athletes on the roster. Thirty-three letterwinners from last season's championship squad have returned for 10th-year head coach Kurt Barth, the winningest head coach in 127 years of Eureka College football.
 
More than 50 newcomers have joined the program for 2018, another massive recruiting haul for Barth, who regularly welcomes large groups of student-athletes.
 
EUREKA ROUTS BENEDICTINE LAST WEEKEND
Le'Anthony Reasnover rushed for 282 yards to become the 29th player in NCAA Division III history to reach 5,000 career rushing yards and the Eureka defense held visiting Benedictine scoreless through the game's first 45 minutes in the Red Devils' 50-20 NACC drubbing of Benedictine last Saturday afternoon at McKinzie Field.
 
The final 30-point margin was Eureka's largest in the series with the Eagles since a 44-7 victory on Oct. 16, 2004, as well as the Red Devils' largest home victory over BU in program history.
 
Joe Hughes also reached the century mark with 106 yards on nine totes and a third-quarter touchdown run of 73 yards. Dom Parks caught all three of the Red Devils completed passes Saturday for 32 yards and a 22-yard score from Drew Barth early in the second quarter.
 
The Eureka defense limited the Eagles to 281 yards of total offense. Cameron Lucas led the group with six tackles, 2.0 tackles for loss and 1.0 sack. Nehemiah Butler added his third career interception and Trevon Moore recovered a fumble.
 
RED DEVILS RECEIVE VOTES IN TOP 25 POLL
Eureka received three votes in the American Football Coaches Association Division III Top 25 Coaches' Poll released on Monday. The announcement marks the second time the Red Devils have appeared on at least one ballot after receiving two votes in the final 2017 AFCA poll.
Reasnover is the national leader with 26 rushing touchdowns and 28 total touchdowns in 2018. He also ranks second nationally with 1,334 rushing yards. He has run for at least 125 yards in all six games this season and has hit the century mark in 14 of his last 15 regular-season games.
 
Monday's announcement marks Eureka's first in-season appearance on at least one national top 25 ballot since Nov. 14, 1994. The Red Devils appeared in the NAIA Division II Top 25 poll 18 times between Sept. 16, 1991 and Nov. 14, 1994. Eureka reached as high as #3 nationally on Nov. 11, 1991, just two days after winning at Greenville to finish its first-ever undefeated regular season at 10-0.
 
The AFCA began publishing a Division III Top 25 Coaches' poll in 1999. The poll follows the same basic format as the USA Today Coaches' Poll. The Division III Board of Coaches has 42 voters representing all Division III conferences.
 
REASNOVER EARNS D3FOOTBALL.COM, NACC HONORS
For the first time this season and the third time in his decorated four-year career, senior running back Le'Anthony Reasnover was selected Tuesday for the D3football.com Team of the Week, presented by Scoutware. He was also named NACC Offensive Player of the Week for the third consecutive week and fourth time overall.
 
Reasnover is the national leader with 26 rushing touchdowns and 28 total touchdowns in 2018. He also ranks second nationally with 1,334 rushing yards. He has run for at least 125 yards in all six games this season and has hit the century mark in 14 of his last 15 regular-season games.
 
Additionally, Reasnover finished last Saturday's romp with 516 career points to claim sixth place on the all-time NCAA Division III scoring list. He also closed competition Saturday as the 29th player in Division III history to reach 5,000 career rushing yards, and his career total of 5,183 currently ranks 23rd on the national career list.
 
ABOUT CONCORDIA
Concordia entered the 2018 campaign on the heels of five consecutive non-winning seasons, but has roared to a 6-1 overall record and a 4-0 league mark to share first place in the NACC standings with the Red Devils. The Falcons earned non-conference victories over Finlandia (31-3) and Alma (26-15) and have won their four NACC games by an average margin of 9.8 points.
 
The Falcons' offense averages 429.9 yards per game, 52nd nationally and second in the NACC behind Eureka. Much of CUW's attack goes through senior quarterback Aaron Nixon. The North Prairie, Wis. native leads the NACC with 1,890 passing yards and 19 touchdowns. He's also the Falcons' top rusher with 473 yards on the ground.
 
Josh Sanders will also pose a challenge for the Red Devils. The 6-foot-3 wideout leads the league with 54 receptions, 854 yards and 11 touchdowns.
 
The CUW defense allows 353.7 yards on average, again rankking second place in the NACC behind Eureka. The Falcons' run defense, which will inevitably be put to the test Saturday, ranks 134th in Divisiion III at 155.3 yards allowed per game.
 
Greg Etter is in his 11th season as head coach of the Falcons. His 50 career wins rank second on CUW's all-time list for head coaches. The 1987 Minnesota State graduate guided the Falcons to the 2013 outright NACC championship, as well as additional top-three conference finishes in 2008, 2009 and 2012.
 
Concordia University Wisconsin is located in Mequon, approximately 20 miles north of Milwaukee and right on the western shore of Lake Michigan. The institution has an enrollment of roughly 3,800 and was founded in 1881. The Falcons are full-time charter members of the NACC.
 
THE ALL-TIME SERIES
Eureka and Concordia met every season from the founding of the Falcons' program in 1980 until the disbanding of the Illini-Badger Football Conference in 2007. CUW leads the all-time series, 19-8-1, including a 10-4 mark in Mequon.
 
The Red Devils have dropped 12 consecutive meetings with Concordia since 1996. Eureka's last win over the Falcons was a 19-17 triumph in Mequon on Sept. 30, 1995, a game in which then-sophomore Kurt Barth caught a pair of fourth-quarter touchdown passes to allow the visitors to overcome a late 10-point deficit. The 1995 win -- Eureka's most recent in the state of Wisconsin -- was the last of a run of five consecutive EC victories in the series with CUW.
 
Saturday's game in Mequon is Eureka's first in the state of Wisconsin since a Sept. 18, 2010 visit to Wisconsin-Stout.