Nov 02, 2018
EUREKA -- Eureka will take the field Saturday in hopes of clinching at least a share of the Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference championship and its second consecutive NCAA Division III playoff bid when the unbeaten Red Devils visit longtime rival Lakeland at 1 p.m. at Taylor Field in Plymouth, Wis.
Eureka is 8-0 overall and 5-0 in the NACC to be all alone in first place in the conference standings. The Red Devils, who have won a school-record 16 consecutive regular-season games, are one of 14 teams still undefeated in NCAA Division III.
The Red Devils boast the NACC's top offense, leading the eight-team league in scoring (43.5), total yards (489.0) and rushing yards (345.3). All three of those averages are on pace to be single-season school records.
Defensively, Eureka has limited opponents to 24 points or fewer five times this season. The Red Devils' 330.8 total yards allowed per game and 90.1 rushing yards allowed per game are the best marks in the NACC.
Saturday's game at Lakeland will be the 100th on the Eureka sideline for Hall of Fame head coach Kurt Barth. Already the winningest coach in program history, Barth joins Eureka icons Ralph McKinzie (116) and Warner McCollum (100) as the only coaches in program history to coach at least 100 games for the Red Devils.
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.
HEART STOPPER: RED DEVILS WIN AT CONCORDIA WISCONSIN
Le'Anthony Reasnover spun away from contact behind the line of scrimmage and raced to the end zone for the game-winning 4-yard touchdown run on third-and-goal with 19 seconds remaining in the Red Devils' stunning 48-45 NACC win at Concordia (Wis.) last Saturday afternoon in Mequon, Wis.
Saturday's win was Eureka's first over Concordia since Sept. 30, 1995 and snapped EC's 12-game losing streak in the series with the Falcons. Reasnover's big day came as part of the Red Devils' team rushing total of 429 to tie the single-game school record set in 68-7 win versus Dubuque on Oct. 22, 1994.
Trevon Moore came up big in the secondary with a pair of interceptions and two additional pass breakups. Macae Skaggs made a team-best seven tackles, Genesis Forrest logged a tackle for loss and Austin McCarty and Jon Jackson teamed up for a sack late in the first half.
EUREKA GARNERS MORE VOTES IN TOP 25 POLL, CRACKS REGIONAL RANKINGS
Eureka has checked in at #10 in the North Region according to the first set of regional rankings released by the NCAA on Wednesday afternoon. NCAA regional rankings are used as a main reference for the Division III playoffs for the selection of at-large bids and seeding.
Wednesday's announcement marks the first time the Red Devils have been included in NCAA regional rankings. Eureka, which continued to receive three votes in the AFCA Division III Coaches Poll, joins Mount Union (first) and Trine (fourth) as the only unbeaten teams currently ranked in the North Region.
REASNOVER EARNS REPEAT HONORS FROM NACC, D3FOOTBALL.COM
Le'Anthony Reasnover repeated on the D3football.com Team of the Week and as the NACC Offensive Player of the Week, according to Tuesday announcements. Reasnover ran for 320 yards in the Red Devils' 48-45 league win at Concordia (Wis.) last Saturday.
Tuesday's announcements mark Reasnover's second consecutive D3football.com Team of the Week selection and his fourth career appearance on the website's national weekly honor roll. He also received weekly honors from the NACC for the fourth consecutive week and the fifth time overall in 2018. For his four-year career, Reasnover is a 12-time conference player of the week.
The Momence, Ill. native leads NCAA Division III with 1,654 rushing yards and 31 touchdowns in 2018. He needs 221 yards to equal his own single-season Eureka rushing record set in 2017. Reasnover ended the game with 5,503 career rushing yards, 13th-most in NCAA Division III history. His five touchdowns increased his career scoring total to 546, fourth-most in Division III history. His 198 points scored in 2018 broke his own single-season Eureka record of 194 set last season and are within 66 points of tying Nate Kmic's (Mount Union) single-season Division III record.
Lakeland is 3-5 overall and shares third place in the current NACC standings with a 3-2 conference record. The Muskies will carry a two-game win streak into Saturday's clash with the Red Devils, including a 52-42 NACC win over Benedictine last weekend in Plymouth.
LU ranks fourth in the NACC and 87th nationally with 391.1 yards of total offense per game. Three quarterbacks have seen time for the Muskies, combining to go 101-for-224 for 15 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. Sophomore Charl'Tez Nunnery, who ranks 19th nationally with 14.8 yards per completion, is expected to get the start on Saturday.
The Lakeland defense allows 382.4 yards per game, but has struggled in the run game. Opposing offenses average 215.5 yards per game against the Muskies to rank 204th out of 247 Division III teams. Senior linebacker Diante Moses leads the league and ranks 14th in the country with 6.7 solo tackles per game.
Fourth-year head coach Colin Bruton has been a hit in Plymouth, piloting the Muskies to a NACC title and NCAA playoffs appearance in each of his first three seasons. The 2004 Illinois graduate, who played collegiately at Benedictine and served as an assistant at Wisconsin-Plateville, owns a four-year record of 26-15, including a 20-3 NACC mark.
Lakeland University is located in Plymouth, Wis., approximately 15 miles west of Sheboygan and Lake Michigan. The institution was founded in 1862 and has 850 traditional undergraduate students. The Muskies are a full-time charter member of the NACC.
THE ALL-TIME SERIES
Lakeland has been the Red Devils' seccond-most frequent opponent in program history. The two squads first met on the gridiron during the Kennedy adminstration, a 32-0 Lakeland victory in Eureka on Oct. 20, 1962. LU owns a 32-12-1 all-time mark against the Red Devils.
Eureka will try to end a 12-game losing streak in the all-time series with the Muskies on Saturday. The Red Devils are 6-16 overall against LU in Plymouth.
The Red Devils haven't beaten LU since a memorable 47-45 win at McKinzie Field on Nov. 4, 1995, a decision that secured the Illini-Badger Football Conference championship for EC. Then-sophomore Kurt Barth made 10 receptions for 213 yards and a school-record five touchdowns.