Nov. 25, 2008

By Amy Farnum Novin

After falling to Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference rival Bloomsburg University in the second game of the season, California (Pa.) University has reeled off 10 consecutive victories, and is looking to knock off the top-seeded Huskies in a rematch in Super Regional One Nov. 29.  Bloomsburg won the first game 24-17.

The Vulcans are led by graduate student quarterback Kevin McCabe, who has set two single-season school records in his first year with the program.  The native of Gibsonia, Pa., has passed for 2,859 yards, breaking an 18-year-old mark, and topped last season’s record of 25 TD passes with 28 this year.

Cal head coach John Luckhardt has guided the Vulcans to the regional championship for the second straight season.  He is the school’s all-time winningest coach with 56 victories and has directed the program to four straight PSAC West titles.

VICTORY DANCE: The University of Minnesota Duluth claimed its’ first-ever NCAA playoff win with a 20-10 victory over Chadron State as the Bulldogs stretched their winning streak to 13 games while improving their record to 12-0.

Although quarterback Ted Schlafke did have a hand in all three Bulldog touchdowns, the Harlon Hill Trophy finalist completed only 10 of 25 passes for a season-low 137 yards in the game.  Schlafke may have not been satisfied with his game’s statistics, but he was with the victory as his last playoff outing was in a loss to North Dakota in 2005.
“The difference between this team and (the 2005 Bulldogs) is that we’re not just happy to be here," Schlafke said.

The Bulldogs will meet unbeaten and top-ranked Grand Valley State (11-0) Nov. 29 -- the only Division II quarterfinal matchup between two undefeated squads.

A WILD RIDE: It may be difficult to match their previous performance this week, but at least the Abilene Christian Wildcats will meet a familiar foe on their home field.  ACU will host Northwest Missouri State – three-time NCAA runners-up – for the second time this season, and this time the Wildcats will host the contest at Shotwell Stadium.  Abilene Christian won the season-opening meeting against the Bearcats, 44-27.

The Wildcats are fresh off a record-setting 93-68 drubbing of West Texas A&M as they head into the third round of the playoffs for the first time in school history.  ACU is also the first Lone Star Conference team to reach the NCAA quarterfinals since 2003.

Northwest will be traveling to Abilene for the first time since 1985 when the two teams tied in a regular season game.  The Bearcats are aiming for their fourth straight quarterfinal victory.

A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN:  Gulf South Conference members Delta State and North Alabama will meet for the 50th time in series history, and sixth time in the last three seasons, as the two rivals battle for a berth in the NCAA Division II semifinals.

DSU and UNA have met in the NCAA playoffs in each of the two previous seasons, with the Statesmen winning a quarterfinal contest in 2006, and the Lions claiming the second round victory last year. 

Delta State has won a school-record 10 consecutive contests, including a 34-28 come-from-behind victory over the Lions Oct. 16.