EUREKA -- Eureka will return to McKinzie Field Saturday for the regular-season finale in a 1 p.m. Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference kickoff versus Rockford. The Red Devils, who have already clinched at least a share of the NACC title, can secure the outright championship and the league's automatic berth to the NCAA Division III playoffs with a win over the Regents.
Preview: Red Devils to Welcome Rockford, Aim For Playoff Bid Saturday
Nov 07, 2018
The Red Devils are 8-1 overall, just the third time in program history EC has won at least eight of its first nine games in a season. Eureka is also 5-1 in the NACC to own sole possession of first place in the league standings heading into the final week of the regular season.
Eureka remains in pursuit of a handful of single-season offensive program records, averaging 346.7 rushing yards, 496.6 total yards and 44.8 points per game. Each of those marks would be new program records. The Red Devils' rushing offense ranks second nationally and Le'Anthony Reasnover is the NCAA Division III leader with 1,970 rushing yards, 260.3 all-purpose yards per game, 36 rushing touchdowns and 228 total points scored.
The Eureka defense allows a league-best 348.9 yards per game. EC's run defense has been especially sound, limiting opposing attacks to just 108.0 yards per game to rank 56th in Division III. Junior linebacker Austin McCarty, who made the switch from offense to defense last offseason, leads the Red Devils with 52 tackles in 2018.
In the midst of a major program renassance that culminated in the program's first-ever NCAA playoffs bid last year, Eureka entered the 2018 season with 86 student-athletes on the roster. Thirty-three letterwinners from last season's championship squad have returned for 10th-year head coach Kurt Barth, the winningest head coach in 127 years of Eureka College football.
More than 50 newcomers have joined the program for 2018, another massive recruiting haul for Barth, who regularly welcomes large groups of student-athletes.
HONORING A DECORATED SENIOR CLASS
The Red Devils will honor 10 seniors prior to Saturday's contest. Ryan Barth, Colby Brannock, Colton Fauver, Antonio Greenwood, Josh Kuse, Jordan Lamb, Ryan McElmurry, Dom Parks, Le'Anthony Reasnover and Macae Skaggs will be playing their final games at McKinzie Field Saturday against the Regents.
The bulk of the group joined the program together as freshmen prior to the 2015 season. Through last weekend, the group has won 29 games together, the most by a single class in program history.
Le'Anthony Reasnover rushed for 316 yards on 49 carries last Saturday at Lakeland to bump his 2018 total to 1,970, breaking his own single-season school record of 1,875 last fall. He also broke Eureka's single-season rushing touchdown record with 36 and the Red Devils' single-season scoring record with 228 points. The 228 points in 2018 are fourth-most in a season in NCAA Division III history and his 576 career points are now third-most in the history of Division III.
Additionally, Reasnover's career rushing total of 5,819 is now 11th on the all-time NCAA Division III list and puts him on track to try to become the 10th 6,000-yard rusher in Division III history.
EUREKA TO WELCOME VETERANS, JIM CORNELISON
Renowned vocalist Jim Cornelison will sing the Star Spangled Banner prior to Saturday's game at McKinzie Field. Cornelison, who has served as the national anthem singer of the Chicago Blackhawks since 2008, will perform as part of Eureka's Veterans Day recognition. Veterans will receive free admission to the game versus Rockford and will also be invited to the field to participate in a pregame recognition ceremony.
Cornelison has been the national anthem singer of the Chicago Blackhawks since the 2008-09 hockey season. His renown has risen along with the Blackhawks emergence as a powerhouse in the NHL, including Stanley Cup victories in 2010, 2013 and 2015. His unique yet traditional rendition of the Star Spangled Banner has most recently lead to him being asked to perform at various professional and college sporting events, including the NBA, NFL and the Indianapolis 500.
WIN STREAK ENDS AT LAKELAND
A two-point conversion attempt to win the game in the final minute came up short in the Red Devils' 56-55 league setback at Lakeland last Saturday afternoon in Plymouth, Wis.
The defeat ends Eureka's regular-season win streak at 16 games, the longest such streak in school history. Despite Saturday's loss, Eureka has clinched at least a share of the NACC title in its first season as an associate member of the eight-team conference.
Eureka finished Saturday's game with 557 yards of total offense. Drew Barth completed 13 passes for 199 yards and two touchdowns. Dom Parks logged 88 receiving yards on a career-high seven receptions.
Macae Skaggs led the defense with eight total tackles and 1.0 tackle for loss.
Rockford is 3-6 overall this season and currently in a three-way logjam for fifth place in the NACC standings with a 2-4 league mark. RU opened the season with a 35-12 non-conference victory over MacMurray. The Regents' league wins are over two teams still battling for a share of the conference crown -- a 37-20 win at Lakeland on Oct. 13 and a 24-0 shutout pf Concordia (Wis.) last weekend in Rockford.
The Regents have one of the league's most balanced offenses, ranking fourth with 179.1 rushing yards per game and fifth with 192.8 passing yards per contest. The sophomore quarterback duo of Erick Mackey and Delayno Mack have combined to complete 142 passes for 1,735 yards and 13 touchdowns. Mackey is listed as Saturday's starter.
The RU defense allows only 367.7 yards per game, second-fewest in the league behind the Red Devils. Senior defensive lineman Jared Johnson ranks among the national top 50 with 0.89 sacks per game (29th) and 1.6 tackles for loss per game (50th.
Jim Schroeder was named the sixth head coach in RU football history prior to the 2015 season. Now in his fourth year, the 2001 Valparaiso graduate and former Benedictine assistant owns an 8-30 record directing the Regents.
Rockford University was founded in 1847 and has approximately 900 undergraduate students. The Regents, who formerly competed alongside Eureka in the old Northern Illinois-Iowa Conference in non-football sports from 1996 until 2006, are full-time charter members of the NACC.
THE ALL-TIME SERIES
Eureka and Rockford played a home-and-home non-conference series to begin the 2004 and 2005 seasons. The home team won both games.
The Red Devils won the first meeting on Sept. 4, 2004, a 27-21 double-overtime win on a scorching afternoon at McKinzie Field. Dwayne Siggers threw a pair of touchdowns to Andy Craig and Andy Swenson scored the game-winning touchdown in the second overtime period on a 1-yard run.
The Regents returned the favor in the 2005 opener, scoring four touchdowns in the game's final 19 minutes to overcome a 10-7 halftime deficit and beat the Red Devils in Rockford, 35-10.