Northwestern College earned a spot in the 2017 NAIA Football Championship Series as announced by the national office Sunday afternoon.
Ranked 10th in the final coaches’ poll, Northwestern received the first of the four at-large bids into the Championship Series field and will be paired against No.7 Langston (Okla.) in a first round matchup on Saturday, Nov. 18. Kickoff at W.E. Anderson Stadium has yet to be determined.
This will be the Red Raiders 19th appearance into the NAIA FCS and first since the 2014 season. They are 20-16 all-time in the postseason and 6-4 in first round match-ups since the 1988 season. Northwestern finished second in the GPAC regular season with a 7-1 record and join conference champion Morningside in the FCS field.
This year’s field includes 12 automatic qualifiers – one from each conference – and four at-large selections. Automatic berths were given to teams that won their conference regular-season title and were ranked within the top 20 of the final regular-season NAIA Football Coaches’ Top 25 Poll. At-large bids were given to the next highest ranked teams that did not claim an automatic spot.
The Lions are one of the six remaining unbeaten teams in the NAIA, owning a 10-0 overall record, winning the Central States Football League title with an 8-0 mark. Langston will be making its seventh Football Championship Series appearance and first since the 2014 season. They are 2-6 all-time in the FCS.