2022 NAIA Football Championship Game Preview

DURHAM, N.C. – The Battle For The Red Banner will end at Durham County Memorial Stadium on Saturday, December 17th as No. 3 Northwestern (Iowa) will square off on the field against No. 12 Keiser (Fla.) with kickoff slated for 12:00 p.m. EST on ESPN3.

  • The Red Raiders have played in the championship game four times previously, while this Seahawk team is forging new territory for the program
  • The Seahawks have pulled their third straight upset victory, knocking off the both the reigning champions and the runners-up from a year ago
  • Keiser has previously beaten the No. 4, No. 1. and No. 2 seeds in the tournament and now face off against the No. 3 seed
  • Saturday will mark the first meeting all-time between the two teams.
  • Both teams – NWC and Keiser – sit top-5 in the NAIA in the rushing touchdown category, the Seahawks sitting fourth with 31.
  • No. 3 Northwestern College (Iowa) Red Raiders (12-1)

Northwestern looks to win first national title since 1983.

  • This is the second appearance in three seasons in the NAIA Football Championship Series National Championship game, and seventh time in program history.
  • NWC enters winners of 12-straight, after the one-point loss to Morningside to open the campaign (Sept. 3).
  • Northwestern has outscored opponents 577-136 in their 13 games.
  • The Red Raiders hold a +17-turnover margin through 13 games.
  • NWC continues to lead the NAIA in 3rd down conversions (54%).
  • On Tuesday, December 6, head coach Matt McCarty was named American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) NAIA Region IV Coach of the Year.
  • Northwestern leads the nation in rushing touchdowns this season (42).
  • In the three FCS games, the Raiders have held opponents to a mere 12.5% third down conversion rate (4-for-32).
  • Parker Fryar led NWC on the GPAC All-Conference team as Defensive Player of the Year; Konner McQuillan, Michael Storey, Blake Anderson, Greg Will, Darlin Marquez, Jaden Snyder, and Noah Van’t Hof were first team members with seven more Red Raiders being named to the second team.

No. 12 Keiser University (Fla.) Seahawks (10-3)

  • Northwestern (Iowa) is the sixth “first-time” opponent for the Seahawks this season (Grand View, Morningside, Valdosta State, Mississippi College, and Lindenwood).
  • Northwestern (Iowa) will be just the fourth team from the state of Iowa to face the Seahawks.
  • The Seahawks improved to 3-0 in the state of Iowa after a 38-21 win at Grand View on December 3.
  • Saturday will mark the Seahawks first trip to the state of North Carolina.
  • The Seahawks have allowed just 44 yards rushing combined in the NAIA Football Championship Series.
  • With the win, Keiser remains undefeated in NAIA action this season (10-0).
  • Jaden Meiziner has been named the Outstanding Offensive Player of the Game in three straight playoff contests.
  • In three playoff games, Meizinger has recorded 425 yards rushing on 97 carries with six touchdowns.
  • Keiser has won the turnover battle for the ninth straight game, forcing two – two INTs versus Grand View. The Seahawks have forced 32 turnovers this season.
  • The Seahawks rank No. 17 in the NAIA in total offense (408.4 ypg) while registering the No. 48th-ranked defense in total yards (331.2 ypg).
  • Keiser ranks No. 35 in the nation in passing yards, averaging 210.5 yards per game and is No. 12 in the nation in rushing yards, averaging 197.8 yards per game.
  • In The Sun Conference, Dough Socha was named Coach of the Year, Marques Burgess Offensive Player and Back of the Year, and Jaylen Arnold Receiver of the Year,
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