The PFL Weekly Report: Aug. 31
Morehead State quarterback Austin Gahafer enters 2015 with 5,270 career passing yards.
Morehead State quarterback Austin Gahafer enters 2015 with 5,270 career passing yards.

Monday, August 31, 2015
by Cody Bush, PFL Media Relations


PFL’s 23RD CAMPAIGN | The 2015 season marks the 23rd year for the Pioneer Football League – the nation’s only non-scholarship, football-only NCAA Football Championship Subdivision conference. The league will feature 11 teams each playing an eight-game schedule to determine the league champion and recipient of the automatic bid to the 2015 NCAA FCS Championship.

STETSON’S PAYNE NAMED TO STATS FCS DEFENSIVE AWARD WATCH LIST | Stetson junior safety Donald Payne was one of 22 players named to the STATS FCS Defensive Player of the Year Watch List. The Fayetteville, Georgia, native recorded a PFL record 174 tackles – a FCS best 14.5 per game – during his sophomore campaign.

DAYTON’S KACSOR NAMED TO FCS OFFENSIVE AWARD WATCH LIST | Dayton record-setting running back Connor Kacsor was one of 22 players named to the STATS FCS Offensive Player of the Year Watch List. Kacsor is the reigning Pioneer Football League Offensive Player of the Year after rushing for 1,547 yards last season as a junior.

TWO NAMED TO FRED MITCHELL AWARD WATCH LIST | Two Pioneer Football League kickers were named to the Fred Mitchell Award Watch List, Thursday. Davidson sophomore kicker Trevor Smith and Dayton senior placekicker William Will were among 41 Division I FCS, Division II, III, National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) and National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) collegiate place-kickers that were nominated by their colleges for excellence on the football field and in the community.

THREE NAMED TO STATS FCS PRESEASON ALL-AMERICA SQUADS | Three Pioneer Football League student athletes were among the 100 named to the STATS FCS Preseason All-America Team. Stetson junior defensive back Donald Payne was a first-team selection, Dayton running back Connor Kacsor was a second-team selection and Davidson wide receiver William Morris picked up a third-team nod.

SIX PFL ATHLETES NOMINATED FOR 2015 ALLSTATE AFCA GOOD WORKS TEAM | Six Pioneer Football League student-athletes were among a record 197 nominees from across the country for the 24th edition of the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team®. Butler’s Matt Shiltz; Davidson’s Christopher Woods Jr.; Dayton’s Patrick Nuzzolese; Drake’s John Hugunin; Marist’s Zach Quarles; and San Diego’s Devyn Bryant were each nominated for the honor. For 24 years the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team® has served as one of the most coveted and prestigious off-the-field honors in college football. The award recognizes players whose charitable involvement and community service contributions stand out among all other student-athletes participating in the sport.

JACKSONVILLE INELIGIBLE IN 2015 | The Pioneer Football League concluded its review of Jacksonville University’s football program’s use of financial aid in July. In addition to the self-imposed penalties presented by Jacksonville, the PFL imposed a one-year ban on postseason play for the 2015 season, which also will preclude the program from being eligible for the league’s regular-season title. Jacksonville’s wins and losses during the 2015 season will count toward the determination of the league champion, but they will be listed at the bottom of the league’s standings tables.

PFL TIEBREAKER | The PFL’s automatic qualifier tiebreaker remains untouched for the 2015 season. Beginning in 2014, the league began including a “Strength of Victory” and “Strength of Schedule” – both based on conference games only – to help determine its representative in the FCS Championship. The complete PFL tiebreaker is available online at

PFL ADDS SEVENTH MAJOR AWARD | This past summer league’s presidents voted to add a Special Teams Player of the Year Award to its postseason accolades. The new honor will be selected as part of the league’s All-PFL squad voting in November.

2014 PLAYERS OF THE YEAR RETURN | The league’s returning depth is highlighted by the return of both its 2014 Players of the Year. Dayton running back Connor Kacsor, the reigning PFL Offensive Player of the Year, led the league in rushing yards (1,547) and touchdowns (17) while ranking fifth among FCS running back in yards per game (140.6) last season. Stetson safety Donald Payne, the returning PFL Defensive Player of the Year, set the PFL’s record for single-season tackles (175) and led all FCS defensive players in tackles per game (14.6).

PRESEASON ALL-PFL TEAM | Twenty-nine Pioneer Football League student-athletes were named to the preseason All-PFL squad. Sixteen First-Team All-PFL honorees return for the 2015 season. In addition, 12 Second-Team All-PFL selections and one honorable mention recipient from the 2014 All-PFL squads were elevated to the 2015 preseason squad.

SAN DIEGO PICKED TO WIN PFL | Defending champion San Diego again received the coaches’ nod to win the 2015 PFL title, but the coaches also predicted an exciting race. The top three teams in the preseason poll were separated by just three points. San Diego received seven of a possible 10 first-place votes and 89 of a maximum 100 points as coaches were not allowed to vote for their own team in the poll. Dayton received three first-place votes and was ranked second with 87 points. Drake gained the remaining first-place vote and was third with 86 points.