Evangel ends the regular season at 11th ranked MidAmerica Nazarene on Saturday with a possible NAIA National Championship Series berth at stake.
The Crusaders are 7-3 and 6-2 in the Heart of America conference and enter the game ranked 19th in the NAIA.
Last week, Evangel dropped only their second game to an NAIA opponent falling 35-21 to Missouri Valley, currently ranked #2 in the NAIA. The Crusaders had their five-game winning streak snapped in the loss.
MidAmerica Nazarene enters Saturday’s game ranked 11th in the NAIA. The Pioneers are 7-2 overall and 7-1 in the HAAC. MidAmerica Nazarene has only lost to Missouri Valley in the NAIA. Their other loss came at the hands of NCAA-I (FCS) Gardner-Webb (N.C.) 30-28 on Oct. 13. The Pioneers won 38-28 over Peru State last week in Nebraska.
The NAIA will set the 16-team field for the NAIA National Championship Series on Sunday. Missouri Valley has clinched the conference’s automatic bid. While the
Pioneers are ranked 11th, Baker is tied for 12th in the NAIA poll. The Crusaders are 19th and Benedictine is ranked 25th as five HAAC teams are in the NAIA top 25.
The losing team in the Evangel-MidAmerica Nazarene match-up would likely drop out of the national playoff picture.
MidAmerica Nazarene is 13-10-1 all-time against Evangel and has won the last nine meetings between the two teams dating back to 2003.
To watch Evangel Coach Brenton Illum's interview talking about Saturday's game click on the video link above.