Going into the last game of the season the University of the Cumberlands football team had their season on the line as they prepared to take on Mid-South Conference (MSC) West foe #17 Cumberland University. At stake were the MSC Western Division title and a berth into the NAIA National Football Championship Series.
The Patriots didn’t disappoint as they crushed the Bulldogs 52-27 to once again be crowned MSC Champions for the fourth straight season. With the win the Patriots were able to hurdle over five teams in the latest NAIA Polls to #20 to obtain the final at large bid available. Today, the NAIA released the first round games and Cumberlands will be headed to Chicago, IL to take on #3 Saint Xavier University at Bruce R. Deaton Memorial Field with kickoff set for 2:00 PM on Saturday, November 20th. Tickets to attend the game are $10.
“I just want to say to our boys that we are blessed and have grown a lot over the last year physically, mentally, resiliently, and spiritually,” stated Head Football Coach John Bland. “I’m most proud of how they fought through adversity and were able to win the Western Division.”
Cumberlands road to the playoffs was different from years past. This year the Patriots football team had to change divisions from the MSC East to the West presenting them with the challenge of going up against the unknown.
The Patriots enter post season play with a 7-3 record overall with six wins in their last seven games and the MSC West Division Title. Cumberlands is averaging 39.9 points per game and have the #4 rushing offense in the NAIA averaging 273.0 yards on the ground a game. The Patriots also rank #1 in punt return yards per attempt (23 yards per attempt). Defensively, the Patriots enter the game giving up only 25 points per game and are among the NAIA leaders in opponents third down conversions percentage.
Saint Xavier University enters the playoffs with an 11-0 record overall and with their second straight Mid-States Football Association (MSFA) Mideast League Championship. The Cougars rank #1 in the NAIA in total passing yardage (3,702) and #2 in scoring offense per game (50.6). Defensively, the Cougars rank nationally among the best in scoring defense per game.
“I’m very proud of this team and winning a new strong MSC West division has made it extra special,” said Coach Bland. “The impact of these kids is something I just get to sit back for and say thank you to them for everything they sacrifice.”
This will be the first meeting between the two football programs and the winner will qualify for the quarterfinals of the 2010 National Football Championship Series on Saturday November 27th.
Support the Cumberlands football team as they make a run in the playoffs, but If you are unable to attend, the game will be broadcast on 104.3 FM on your radio dial or if you are out of the listening area you can log onto www.cumberlandspatriots.com/ and click on the "live" button.
For more information on the football program and Patriot athletics visit www.cumberlandspatriots.com/.