USF earns spot in DII Football Championships for the fourth time in five years

SIOUX FALLS – For the fourth time in five seasons, University of Sioux Falls Football Team (8-3) is headed back to the NCAA DII Football Championships. The postseason tradition for the Cougars continues as they are one of seven teams from Super Region Four to earn playoff berths in the 28-team field, according to an announcement Sunday by the NCAA DII national playoff committee.

USF, which was ranked eighth in the regional rankings last week, moved into the playoff field after a 41-21 win over Wayne State on Saturday. The Cougars have won six of seven games when they have outscored opponents 287 (41.0 ppg) to 103 (14.7 ppg).

USF will face the RMAC Champions Colorado Mines (11-0) in a Super Region Four match up in Golden, Colorado, on Saturday at noon mountain time (1 pm CST). This is the second trip for USF with Head Coach Jon Anderson. Tickets will go on sale to the general public Tuesday online at minesathletics.com/tickets. They'll be $10 adults/$5 students/seniors. The game will be streamed for free at minesathletics.com/tv

"We have a bunch of happy players and coaches," said third-year USF head football coach Jon Anderson, whose team finished third in the NSIC and became the sixth USF team to win at least eight games since the move DII. "Our group of 26 seniors and this team will get a chance to continue their season in the playoffs. I am proud of our players and coaches who have committed to success here. They have worked hard and have played really standout football over the last seven weeks and really all year. We will embrace this playoff opportunity," added Anderson, who has 24 wins at USF.

USF, which has a 26-year consecutive winning season streak, will be making their fourth NCAA DII playoff appearance and five postseason berth overall in eight years in NCAA DII. In 2014, the Cougars (11-1) were invited to the Mineral Water Bowl (42-10 win over Central Oklahoma). In 2015, the Cougars were seeded sixth and faced #3 seed Henderson State (23-16 loss) in the DII playoffs first round. In 2016, USF won its first-ever NSIC title and earned the #2 seed in the region. USF defeated #7 seed Azusa Pacific, 34-21 at Bob Young Field in the opening round. After advancing to the "Sweet 16," the Cougars dropped a 27-24 overtime decision to #3 seeded Harding in the second round at Bob Young Field. In 2017, USF was seeded sixth and lost a heart-breaking 27-23 decision at No. 3 Midwestern State. USF also had significant success at the NAIA level, winning four national titles before moving to DII in 2011.

"I am so pleased for Jon (Anderson), his staff and especially the team. This really means a lot for the program and the school," said second-year USF Director of Athletics Pam Gohl "We are excited about the opportunity to earn a playoff berth for the fourth time," he said.

The Cougars, which has 451 all-time wins and 76 while at the DII level, were one of three NSIC teams selected to the playoffs as two-seeded Minnesota State (11-0) and Augustana (9-2) also earned berths.

USF has one of the nation's top defenses, directed by defensive coordinator Nick Benedetto. The Cougars are ranked second nationally in total defense at 246.7 yards per game. The offense, directed by offensive coordinator Jim Chapin, is scoring 36.5 points per game which is second in the NSIC and averaging 443.1 total yards per game, which ranks third in the NSIC.

Super Region Four Matchups (All games Nov. 23) -
No. 1 Minnesota State earns first round bye as the one seed.
No. 2 Tarleton State vs. Texas A&M-Commerce
No. 3 Colorado School of Mines vs Sioux Falls
No. 4 CSU-Pueblo vs Augustana