For Immediate Release
Football -- Sept. 15, 2011
Series History: Crown leads, 2-0 (1-0 in Eureka)
SETTING THE STAGE
The Eureka College football team will play its first home game of 2011 and begin the nine-game Upper Midwest Athletic Conference schedule on Saturday when it hosts the Crown Storm at 1 p.m. at Pete FioRito Stadium at McKinzie Field.
The Red Devils enter Saturday’s matchup with an 0-1 record after dropping their opener at Benedictine, 45-7, on Sept. 3 in Lisle, Ill.
Wide receivers Matt Dawson and Cody Myers each turned in career outings for the Red Devils in Lisle, as the duo combined to snag eight passes from quarterback Sam Durley for 128 yards. Myers earned his first career start on offense and Dawson scored his first career touchdown in the second quarter.
The Red Devils were off last weekend, just the third in-season off-week for a Eureka football team since the 2005 season.
A school with an enrollment of more than 1,100 that opened in 1916 in St. Bonifacius, Minn., Crown enters Saturday’s matchup with the Red Devils with an 0-1 record.
The Storm opened its season last Saturday with a 33-19 non-conference loss at Northern Athletics Conference member Maranatha Baptist in Watertown, Wis. The decision moved Maranatha Baptist to 2-0 on the season, but was only its fifth win since the beginning of the 2007 season.
Amos Schmidt ran for 111 yards on 24 carries to lead the Crown offense. The Storm’s air attack, which ranked second among UMAC teams (behind Eureka) with 231.8 passing yards per game last season, compiled only 134 yards last week on 16 completions from newcomer Wes Safford.
Crown was picked to finish sixth in the UMAC according to the coaches’ poll conducted last month.
THE HEAD COACHES
Eureka College athletics Hall of Famer Kurt Barth is currently in his third season as the head coach of the Red Devils in 2011.
Since being hired as the 12th head coach in program history in December 2008, Barth has rejuvenated the EC football program and installed one of the most prolific passing offenses in the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference and all of NCAA Division III.
Barth is 0-2 all-time against Crown, 0-2 in UMAC openers and 1-1 in home openers at McKinzie Field.
Joining Northwestern head coach Kirk Talley as the longest-tenured football head coaches in the UMAC, John Auer is currently in his 11th season as head coach of the Storm. He owns a 35-59 overall record.
The 2010 season proved to be the most successful season yet for Auer, as the Osseo, Minn. native guided Crown to a 6-3 overall record and a 4-2 league mark for a tie for third place in the final UMAC standings.
Auer played as a defensive end at NCAA Division II Winona State from 1989 until 1992. He graduated from St. Cloud State in 1995 and served as an assistant coach at SCSU from 1993 until accepting his current position at Crown prior to the 2001 season.
THE ALL-TIME SERIES
Despite the 2011 season marking the 108th year of football competition at Eureka, Saturday’s contest will be just the third time the Red Devils have met Crown on the gridiron.
The Storm has won each of the first two contests, claiming a wild 69-63 victory in the inaugural meeting at McKinzie Field on Nov. 7, 2009. Crown also beat the Red Devils in their first meeting in St. Bonifacious, Minn., earning a 36-14 triumph on Oct. 16, 2010.
McKINZIE AIR SHOW, PART TWO?
In the only previous meeting between Crown and Eureka at McKinzie Field on Nov. 7, 2009, the Storm and Red Devils combined to play one of the most action-packed games in NCAA Division III history.
Crown scored the 18th and final touchdown of the game with only 14 seconds remaining to escape McKinzie Field with a 69-63 victory. The combined point total (132) fell six points short of the NCAA Division III record for a regulation game set in an Eastern College Athletic Conference postseason bowl game in 2008 when Brockport State beat Hartwick, 70-68.
While they didn’t claim the combined scoring record, Crown and Eureka did become the first Division III football teams to combine for more than 1,400 yards of total offense in a game. Eureka gained 744 yards on 84 plays and Crown gained 686 yards on 96 plays for a total of 1,430 yards, beating the 16-year-old mark of 1,395 yards in a game between Occidental and Claremont-Mudd-Scripps.
The game featured 10 lead changes and five ties during three hours and 39 minutes of play.
RIDIN’ THE STORM OUT
While the Red Devils have yet to forge into the win column in their two previous meetings with Crown, several current Red Devils have delivered outstanding performances against the Storm.
In the 2009 meeting, then-freshman Sam Durley came off the bench to complete eight passes for 169 yards and a touchdown. The passing yardage total a career-best at the time.
Eureka wideout Wes Schmidgall has been a threat against Crown as well, grabbing 14 receptions for 307 yards in two previous meetings. Included in those numbers was an 11-catch, 230-yard, four-touchdown performance in 2009, all single-game career-bests for the Eureka native.
Some of Eureka’s offensive damage against the Storm has been done on the ground as well. Ethan Lord recorded the only 100-yard rushing game of his career when he burned Crown for 110 yards on 14 carries last October in St. Bonifacius.
Defensively, senior free safety Mike Minehan has posed a problem for Storm skill players. The Washington, Ill. native has made 29 tackles in his two previous outings against Crown, including 20 total tackles in last year’s matchup in St. Bonifacius.
Sophomore linebacker Jacob Carls also hit double-digit tackles in last season’s game at Crown, recording 13 tackles and 1.5 tackles for loss.
LONG DRIVE, NO PROBLEM
Since the Minnesota-based UMAC absorbed three schools from the state of Illinois prior to the 2009 football season, Crown has had little problems earning victories during its lengthy roads trips south to the Land of Lincoln.
The Storm has won each of its first two UMAC contests in Illinois, beating Eureka 69-63 in 2009 and downing MacMurray in Jacksonville last October.
Saturday’s contest against the Red Devils marks Crown’s longest road trip of the season, as the Storm will leave the state of Minnesota only one more time in 2011 when it visits Presentation in Aberdeen, S.D. on Oct. 8.
DEBUT OF THE NEW UNI’S
Eureka will debut its new black Nike home jerseys Saturday versus Crown. With Eureka’s new merchandising agreement with Nike, each of Eureka’s 18 varsity teams will eventually switch to Nike uniforms. The football program is the first to make the change.
NEW WALL, TOO
While the construction of a new permanent brick wall was on display during the Red Devils’ intrasquad scrimmage at McKinzie Field on Aug. 27, Eureka fans will get their first glimpse of the project during regular season action on Saturday.
A construction crew broke ground on “The McKinzie Project” in early August, replacing a chain-link fence with a permanent, enclosed brick wall along Reagan Drive.
The Red Devils will open their third Upper Midwest Athletic Conference schedule on Saturday and will be looking to win their league opener for the first time.
Eureka played an abbreviated, three-game UMAC South Division schedule in 2009 when the conference utilitzed a divisional format after former St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference football members Eureka, Greenville, MacMurray and Westminster joined the UMAC as associate members.
Greenville claimed a 20-13 win over Eureka at McKinzie Field on Oct. 3, 2009 in the Red Devils’ first-ever UMAC contest.
Last season, Eureka’s UMAC schedule expanded to seven games. Minnesota-Morris spoiled the Red Devils’ 2010 league opener with a 47-29 win at McKinzie Field on Sept. 25, 2010.
The 2011 season marks the first complete nine-game UMAC round-robin schedule for all 10 teams. The regular season conference champion will automatically qualify for the NCAA Division III Playoffs.
Overall, Eureka hasn’t won a league opener since posting a 32-13 victory over Concordia (Ill.) in the first game of the 2005 Illini-Badger Football Conference schedule.
The Red Devils will be looking for their third victory in a home opener in four tries and just their fifth win in a home opener since 2000.
Benedictine snapped Eureka’s two-game win streak in home openers with its 42-7 win in last season’s opener. Eureka’s home-opening wins in 2008 over Concordia (Ill.) and 2009 over Knox marked the first time the Red Devils had won back-to-back home openers since 1997-98.
HOME WIN STREAK
Eureka will be shooting for a three-game home win streak on Saturday after closing the 2010 season with consecutive wins at McKinzie Field over Northwestern (Oct. 23) and MacMurray (Nov. 13).
The Red Devils haven’t won three straight at home since a four-game streak that started in 1996 and carried into 1997. That streak included victories at McKinzie Field over Greenville, Blackburn, Concordia (Ill.) and Bethel (Tenn.).
Out-of-town fans interested in keeping tabs on Saturday’s game can visit the “Scores” page at D3Football.com for in-game scoring updates.
Additionally, fans are encouraged to follow the Red Devils on Twitter and “Like” the Red Devils on Facebook for instant updates sent directly to their computer or mobile device. The Eureka College sports information department will “tweet” in-game updates throughout the course of Saturday’s game on Twitter. Visit the official Eureka College athletics website for more information.
For More Information Contact: