Sept. 22, 2009


By Amy Farnum

PASSING FANCY:  When Tusculum College opens its South Atlantic Conference season against Wingate University on Sept. 24 in a nationally-televised Thursday night contest (Watch Tusculum-Wingate Live!), the Pioneers’ passing game is sure to be on display.

Freshman quarterback Bo Cordell is coming off a school-record performance of 478 passing yards and three touchdowns in Tusculum’s 45-35 victory at Urbana University last week.  The native of Cincinnati, Ohio, was selected SAC Player of the Week for his efforts, and also moved up the Division II ranks in four statistical categories. 

Cordell is the nation’s second-leading passer in yards per game with 377.33, and is also ranked fourth in completions per game (30 cpg), 11th in points responsible for per game (19.33 ppg), and fourth in total offense (357.67 ypg).

After starting the season 0-2, Tusculum will be looking to even its record against Wingate, which is 2-1 on the year after falling to UNC Pembroke on Sept. 12.  The Bulldogs won the annual meeting last season and leads the series 8-5.  It will be the 10th straight year that the two teams will play in the SAC opening game.  Four of the last five contests have been decided by five points or less.

Tusculum also looks to stretch its home winning streak to 13 games at Pioneer Field with its last loss coming to Carson-Newman in 2006.  The game will be broadcast on CBS College Sports and FSN South at 8 p.m. ET.

MOVING UP: Missouri Western broke into the AFCA Division II Top 25 at No. 18 this week after remaining unbeaten thanks to a last-second field goal that lifted the Griffons to a 37-34 victory over then-No. 22 Washburn on Sept. 19.

The school-record 53-yard field goal by junior Brad Beckwith moved the Griffons to a 4-0 start for the first time during head coach Jerry Partridge’s 12-year tenure with the program.

The Griffons are averaging 44.75 points per game, which ranks fifth in the nation, as they enter a key Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association match-up at No. 23 Pittsburg State on Sept. 26.  The Gorillas have lost their first two MIAA contests of the season.

STARTING YOUNG:  Ouachita Baptist University made its’ first-ever appearance in the AFCA Division II Top 25 at No. 21 after defeating then-No. 16 Valdosta State for the first time in program history since the Tigers joined the Gulf South Conference in 2000.

Senior wide receiver Jeremy Young garnered GSC Player of the Week honors after racking up a school-record 261 yards receiving and two touchdowns in the 24-14 win against the Blazers.  The native of San Diego, Calif., also returned three punts and three kickoffs for a total of 339 all-purpose yards.  His receiving yards total was the sixth-most in GSC history.

With a 3-0 record this season, the Tigers are riding an eight-game winning streak dating back to last year -- just two victories shy of the school record for consecutive wins.

The Tigers will test their new national ranking against No. 9 Delta State in a GSC tilt on Sept. 26.  It is one of just three meetings between Top 25 opponents this week.

QUICK HITS:  Central Missouri senior Bobby Guillory set the tone for the Mules’ win over then-No. 11 Pittsburg State last weekend with a 97-yard kickoff return for a touchdown to open the game.  The native of Vallejo, Calif., then added another score with his first career touchdown reception.  He was named MIAA Special Teams Player of the Week for his performance, while the 4-0 Mules climbed up one spot to No. 11 in the AFCA Division II Top 25 … Minnesota State, Mankato turned back No. 20 Wayne State, 37-34, in two overtimes last weekend thanks to freshman running back Jake Aberg’s 205 yards and a touchdown.  It was the third-highest rushing effort in school history, and kept No. 7 Minnesota State undefeated with a 4-0 mark.  The Mavericks’ next challenge is on Sept. 26 at No. 25 Winona State, which is newly ranked on the merits of a 3-1 record.