The Pioneer Football League Report: Week 13

Monday, November 19, 2018
by Cody Bush, PFL Media Relations


San Diego makes its third consecutive and fourth overall appearance in the FCS Playoffs… The Toreros have won their last two first round contests, both on the road, defeating Cal Poly (2016) and Northern Arizona (2017) the past two seasons… The first-round matchup will pit the pass-oriented San Diego offense (2nd in FCS, 349.2 yards per game) against the ground-based Nicholls offense (13th in FCS, 245.8 ypg)… Those strengths will play into their opponent's weaknesses, Nicholls ranking 81st in passing yards allowed while San Diego is ranked No. 103 in rushing defense among FCS teams… For San Diego it has been the Anthony Lawrence-to-Michael Bandy connection that has wreaked havoc, Lawrence leading all FCS QBs in pass effieceny (178.6) and passing touchdowns (35) while Bandy ranks No. 1 in receiving yards (1,554) and fifth in receiving touchdowns (14)… Nicholls ground game isn't centered on any one body with Dontrell Taylor leading the effort at 75.4 yards per game (51st in FCS) while Chase Fourcade has a team-leading nine rushing touchdowns (34th)… San Diego's special teams unit may be a difference maker in the first round with return man Michael Armstead ranked 11th in combined kick return yardage (673 yards) and punter Tanner Kuljian ranked 16th in punting average (42.5 ypk)… Nicholls boasts Top 20 defenders in Sully Laiche (19th with 0.77 sacks per game) and Evan Veron (6th, 1.9 tackles for loss per game) but they will face a San Diego offensive line that ranks No. 7 in sacks allowed (0.73 per game) and No. 6 in tackles for loss allowed (3.91 per game).

All times Eastern.

San Diego at Nicholls, 4 p.m.
Location: Thibodaux, Louisiana
Stadium: John L. Guidry Stadium
Series: First Meeting
Video: ESPN3

The NCAA Football Championship began in 1978 with a four-team field. It has expanded over the years to its current 24-team format. The Pioneer Football League first received an automatic bid during the 2013 bracket expansion.

2013: Tennessee State 31, at Butler 0
2014: at Montana 52, San Diego 14
2015: Western Illinois 24, at Dayton 7
2016: San Diego 35, at Cal Poly 21
2016: at North Dakota State 45, San Diego 7
2017: San Diego 41, at Northern Arizona 10
2017: at North Dakota State 38, San Diego 3
2018: San Diego at Nicholls

Complete news and notes available in PDF version

PFL AWARDS SLATED FOR NOV. 26-28 | The Pioneer Football League will announce its annual awards Nov. 26-28. Six of the league’s major awards will be announced Monday, followed by the 2018 All-PFL Teams, Tuesday. Wednesday the league will present its 2018 Academic All-PFL Team, highlighted by its Scholar-Athlete of the year announcement. . 

TOREROS CLAIM 10TH PFL TITLE, LEAGUE’S AQ SPOT | San Diego clinched its 10th PFL title all-time in Week 11. The Toreros also have won five straight league crowns and all their titles have come since winning the 2005 championship. 

TOREROS LEAP INTO NATIONAL RANKINGS | Days after clinching their 10th PFL title, San Diego catapulted from receiving votes into the Top 25 in each of the FCS polls. The AFCA Coaches Poll moved San Diego to No. 22 on its list. Meanwhile, the FCS STATS media poll pushed the Toreros to No. 21. It is the first time USD has been ranked since the end of the 2017 season. San Diego enters the postseason ranked in the Top 20 of both the FCS Stats media poll and the AFCA Coaches Poll.

TOREROS’ LEAGUE WIN STREAK NOW FCS’ LONGEST | San Diego extended its PFL record win streak in conference-only games to 29 games when it completed its third-straight undefeated PFL campaign. The Toreros now have the FCS’ longest conference win streak after Ohio Valley Conference member Jacksonville State saw its streak stopped at Southeast Missouri in Week 8. San Diego’s last PFL loss was a 13-12 loss to Dayton on Oct. 10, 2015 in Dayton, Ohio, which it followed with back-to-back 8-0 PFL campaigns in 2016 and 2017.

USD ALSO OWN NATION’S #1 HOME WIN STREAK | With James Madison’s home loss, Oct. 6, San Diego has become the FCS team with the longest home win streak. The Toreros own a 21-game home winning streak that dates back to a 2014-ending loss (Cal Poly).

PFL BOASTS TRIO OF 1,000-YARD RUNNERS | The PFL featured three of the subdivision’s 18 1,000-yard runners. Jacksonville’s Calvin Turner Jr. leads the group with 1,431 yards – third among FCS runners. Dayton’s Tucker Yinger (1,340) and Davidson’s Wesley Dugger (1,264) were ranked No. 5 and 9, respectively. Two other running backs finished with more than 900 rushing yards.

QUARTET OF RECEIVERS ALSO HAVE 1,000-YARD SEASONS | Highlighting the offensive nature of the PFL in 2018, four PFL receivers have compiled 1,000-yard seasons. San Diego’s Michael Bandy, who set the PFL record with a 356-yard receiving day against Davidson in Week 10, finished the regular season leading the subdivision with 1,554 receiving yards. Stetson’s Donald Parham (3rd, 1,062 yards), Marist’s Juston Christian (6th, 1,155 yards) and Butler’s Pace Temple (10th, 1,097 yards) also had 1,000-yard campaigns. Only 19 FCS receivers amassed 1,000 receiving yards during the regular season.

USD’s LAWRENCE SETS SINGLE-GAME, CAREER MARKS | San Diego’s Anthony Lawrence tossed a PFL single-game record 556 yards in a Week 11 win against Davidson and also became the first PFL thrower to surpass 12,000 career passing yards with that performance. The 13th FCS quarterback to throw for more than 12,000 yards during their career, Lawrence enters the postseason with 12,306 career passing yards.

RED FOXES’ CHRISTIAN JOINS 4,000-YARD CLUB | Marist wideout Juston Christian became one of 19 FCS receivers all-time to post 4,000 career receiving yards. He finished his career with 4,069 receiving yards and became the first PFL receiver to surpass the 4,000-yard barrier and he was only the sixth receiver in league history to amass 3,000 career receiving yards.

BUTLER’S TEMPLE BREACHES 3,000-YARD MARK | Butler wide receiver Pace Temple joined the 3,000-receiving yard club with a 196-yard outing at Jacksonville in Week 10. He is the seventh PFL receiver to reach the milestone and is eighth among the FCS’ active career leaders. He finished his career with 3,364 career receiving yards, sixth among FCS Active Career Leaders.