The 2010 NAIA Football Championship Series starts this Saturday and one of the top first-round matchups will take place in Hunter Stadium in St. Charles. The No. 5 Lions will host No. 10 Saint Francis in a rematch of a 2007 first-round playoff game.
Lindenwood and Saint Francis are two programs that have come close to national titles, but neither have taken that final step yet. The Lions have reached the semifinals the last two seasons and last year’s title game, while Saint Francis has been in six semifinals and three championship games since 2003.
On paper, the two teams look very similar. Defensively, both teams average around 300 yards allowed a contest and Saint Francis has a slight advantage by allowing 2.3 points less a game. Offensively, Lindenwood is averaging nearly 20 points more a contest, but Saint Francis does average 468.4 yards of offense.
A key area to watch will be the two running games for both teams. The Lions enter averaging nearly 200 yards a game on the ground, but the Cougars are allowing just over 100.
On the other side, Saint Francis is averaging 211 rushing yards a game. Lindenwood will have to slow the Cougars’ run game down, or Saint Francis can control the clock like it did in a 35-14 victory during the 2007 playoff contest between the two teams.
Lindenwood will take on St. Francis this afternoon at 1:30.