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The Pioneer Football League Report: Week 14

Monday, November 25, 2019
by Cody Bush, PFL Media Relations

WEEK 14 SCHEDULE
All times Eastern. 

SATURDAY, NOV. 30

San Diego at Northern Iowa, 1 p.m.
Broadcast: ESPN3
Location: Cedar Falls, Iowa
Stadium: UNI-DOME
Series: First Meeting

FCS PLAYOFF PREVIEW
San Diego makes its fourth consecutive Division I Football Championship appearance when its meets Northern Iowa, Saturday, in the tournament’s opening round. It is a game that will pit a Torero squad that is the FCS’ No. 2 offense (498.8 ypg) against a UNI team that is ranked No. 11 in defense (307.3 ypg). San Diego prefers to air it out with its seventh-ranked passing game (307.6 ypg) that also is No. 2 nationally in pass efficiency (176.19) behind only national No. 1 seed North Dakota State. Meanwhile, UNI has three defensive touchdowns to its credit in 2019 but is ranked No. 50 in pass efficiency defense (128.70), despite limiting opponents to 191.7 passing yards per game (23rd in FCS). The Panthers will lean on its defense with an offense that is averaging only 23.8 points per game (86th in FCS) against USD’s 41.7 points per game (3rd in FCS).  And lest nay-sayers believe the Toreros scoring average is the result of PFL play, they posted 30-plus points against the likes of Harvard (31), UC Davis (35) and Cal Poly (34) before league play started. Both teams will need to be aware of the other’s ball-hawking defense, with San Diego picking off 19 passes while UNI has 14 interceptions to its credit, each unit ranking among the FCS’ Top 15 in that category.

TORERO TO WATCH: Reid Sinnett has settled in to the quarterback role this season, entering the postseason ranked No. 2 nationally in pass efficiency (177.9) thanks to Top 5 rankings in completion percentage (4th, 67.8), passing touchdowns (4th, 32), passing yards (9th, 3,341) and yards per completion (8th, 14.59). He has passed for 300 yards five times this season (twice in the first three weeks), and had nine multi-TD pass outings, including back-to-back five touchdown outings.

PANTHER TO WATCH: Elerson Smith will look to make his home in the San Diego backfield as he has for most of 2019. He leads all FCS defenders in forced fumbles (0.42, 5 in 12 games) and is ranked sixth in sacks (1.08 per game) and 18th in tackles for loss (1.5 per game). Smith leads a UNI defensive unit that is averaging 2.83 sacks per game – 17th best among FCS squads.

LATEST PFL NEWS AND NOTES
Complete news and notes available in PDF version

PFL AWARDS: DEC. 2-4
The 2019 PFL Awards, All-PFL Teams and Academic All-PFL Teams will be announced during the first week of December. The PFL Awards: Offensive, Defensive and Special Teams Players of the Year, Offensive and Defensive Freshman of the Year and Coach of the Year will be presented Monday, Dec. 2. The 27th All-PFL Teams arrive Tuesday followed by the Academic All-PFL Teams and the league’s Scholar-Athlete of the Year, Wednesday.

SAN DIEGO’S PFL WIN STREAK SECOND LONGEST IN FCS HISTORY
With its win at Jacksonville in Week 13, San Diego’s extended its PFL win streak to 37 games. It is the second-longest conference win streak in FCS history, surpassing a 36-game win streak by Jacksonville State of the Ohio Valley Conference (2013-18). It trails a 39-game win streak by Duquesne in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Association (1999-06).

SEVENTEEN PFL STUDENT-ATHLETES NAMED COSIDA ACADEMIC ALL-DISTRICT
Eight PFL teams saw a student-athlete named to the 2019 CoSIDA Academic All-District Teams, Nov. 14. A total of 17 PFL student-athletes – the most since 2009 – were recognized: Brad Sznajder (Butler), Wesley Dugger (Davidson), Jake Chisholm (Dayton), Nate Obringer (Dayton), Tim Simon (Dayton), Allen Waltz (Dayton), Steven Doran (Drake), Jacob Bacon (Drake), Isaiah Adeyemi-Berglund (Drake), Victor Jergens (Drake), Danny Morales (Drake), Grant Dixon (Marist), Jack Griffith (Marist), Cameron Barrett (Morehead State), Alex Spadone (San Diego), Kama Kamaka (San Diego), Gaven DeFilippo (Stetson) and Colin Wray (Stetson).

DAYTON’S EASTERLING ADDED TO BUCHANAN AWARD WATCH LIST
Dayton junior safety Brandon Easterling was added to the STATS FCS Buck Buchanan Award Watch List, Nov. 7. At that time, Easterling led all FCS leaders in tackles per game (13.1), solo tackles (7.6) and was tied for first in fumbles recovered (3).  Earlier this season he had 19 tackles against Duquesne, the most by a Dayton player since James Vercammen had 19 at San Diego in 2009. In addition, Easterling had a string of four consecutive games with at least one opponent turnover gained.  He has led Dayton in tackles in seven of the eight games this season.

SAN DIEGO’S SINNETT JOINS PAYTON AWARD WATCH LIST
San Diego quarterback Reid Sinnett was one of 16 players added to the 2019 STATS FCS Walter Payton Award watch lis, Nov. 6. In his first season as a starter, Sinnett was the FCS leader in passing efficiency and completion percentage while he was among the top four in passing touchdowns (3rd), passing yards per game (3rd), points responsible for (3rd) and total offense (4th) at the time of the announcement. The redshirt senior’s current passing efficiency (186.4) ranked as the fifth-best in FCS history with three weeks remaining in the regular season.

DRAKE’S CORWIN, STETSON’S LEARY NAMED TO INITIAL RICE AWARD WATCH LIST
Drake freshman quarterback Ian Corwin and Stetson freshman running back Jalen Leary were each among the 24 freshmen named to the initial Jerry Rice Award Watch List, Nov. 5. Corwin has completed 129-of-228 passes (56.6 percent) for 1,480 yards and 14 touchdowns. He was named the STATS FCS National Freshman Player of the Week on Sept. 30 after leading Drake to a 41-17 road win over Marist. With 806 rushing yards through eight games, Leary had the second-most single-season rushing yards in modern Stetson history and had three games left to become the first Hatter with 1,000 rushing yards in a season in the modern  era.

DAYTON’S TRAUTMAN ACCEPTS SENIOR BOWL INVITE
Dayton tight end Adam Trautman has accepted an invitation to play in the Senior Bowl college all-star game in Mobile, Ala. on Jan. 25, 2020.  Senior Bowl Executive Director Jim Nagy extended the invitation personally to Trautman after Dayton’s Nov. 6 practice. The Flyer co-captain will be the first Dayton player to play in the Senior Bowl since 1972.  Only five other Flyers have played in the Senior Bowl – tight end Fred Dugan (1958), linebacker Email Karas (1959), center Bob DeMarco (1961), center Leo Dillon (1971) and running back Gary Kosins (1972).

CHAMBERLIN RECORDS 500TH GAME AS A FLYER
There are few things that can challenge the longevity of Dayton’s scoring streak. However, Rick Chamberlin’s tenure as a Flyer surpasses even that streak. When he took up his position on the sideline against San Diego in Week 9 it was his 500th appearance as a Flyer. He played 45 as an All-American linebacker, then 326 games as an assistant coach under College Football Hall of Fame coach Mike Kelly, before taking over for his mentor and now 129 games – and counting – as Dayton’s head coach.

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