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Toreros play at Northern Arizona on Saturday in 1st Round of FCS Playoffs
Nov. 21, 2017

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GAME #12: The USD Toreros (9-2, 8-0 PFL), under the direction of fifth year head coach Dale Lindsey, take their current 8-game winning streak to Flagstaff, Arizona this Saturday for a first round NCAA Division I FCS Playoff game against the No. 25 Northern Arizona Lumberjacks (7-4, 6-2 Big Sky). Kickoff is slated for 5:00 p.m. (Pacific) from the J. Lawrence Walkup Skydome (10,000 capacity).

RADIO/TV: The game will be aired live on ESPN3 (Trey Bender, play-by-play; Jay Walker, analyst) and the Watch ESPN App. Jack Cronin calls the action for the Toreros on The Mighty 1090AM radio dial.

A LOOK AHEAD: The winner of this first round contest will advance to play at No. 2 seed and fourth ranked North Dakota State on Saturday, December 2nd (12:30 p.m. PST / ESPN3). The NDSU Bison finished the regular-season with a 10-1 mark and 7-1 in the Missouri Valley Confernce.

FOOTBALL TICKETS: Tickets in the visitors section (208) are priced at $25 per ticket. Premium Seating (Section 212, 214, 216) is available for $30 per ticket, and General Admission available for $20 for adults, $15 for Seniors, and $10 for Youth. To purchase tickets visit www.usdtoreros.com or call (928) 523-5661.

SERIES RECORD: This will be 4th meeting between USD and Northern Arizona with the Jacks owning a 2-0-1 series edge. These two teams last met in 1960 with the outcome a 14-14 tie. NAU won the first two meetings in 1956 (20-7) and 1957 (40-6).

PFL STANDINGS: *San Diego (8-0 PFL, 9-2), Drake (6-2, 7-4), Campbell (5-3, 6-5), Jacksonville (5-3, 7-4), Valparaiso (5-3, 6-5), Butler (4-4, 6-5), Dayton (4-4, 5-6), Marist (3-5, 4-7), Morehead State (3-5, 4-7), Stetson (1-7, 2-9), Davidson (0-8, 2-9). *PFL Champion.

TOREROS STREAKING: With last Saturday's 35-7 win over Marist, the Toreros have now won a Pioneer Football League record 21 consecutive PFL games... That mark ranks second among FCS programs with Jacksonville State owning 32 straight conference victories. San Diego has won four straight PFL championships, six of the past seven and nine since the 2005 campaign. USD's home win over Marist improved their PFL home winning streak to 31 games. USD and Jacksonville State have each won four straight league titles.

TOREROS IN THE FCS PLAYOFFS: This is the third time in the past four seasons that the Toreros have earned the PFL's automatic qualifying spot into the NCAA Division I FCS Playoffs. Last season the Toreros earned the team's and PFL's first post-season victory in the FCS Playoffs with their 35-21 road victory at No. 20 Cal Poly on November 26, 2016. Senior RB Jonah Hodges paced the effort with 171 yards rushing on 35 carries, including three touchdowns. The Toreros totaled 473 yards of offense (177 rush, 296 pass) while limiting the Mustangs to 195 total yards of offense. QB Anthony Lawrence completed 26-of-40 passes for 296 yards and two scores. The following weekend the Toreros were handed a 45-7 defeat at the hands of No. 3 ranked North Dakota State. USD's first trip into the FCS Playoffs came in 2014. They faced the Montana Grizz in first round action in Missoula and were dealt a 52-14 defeat. Freshman wide receiver Justin Priest hauled in both touchdown receptions for the Toreros. With 6:05 to go in the game he caught a 27-yard pass from running back Dallas Kessman. With 2:48 to go backup quarterback Trey Wheeler connected with him from 11 yards out.

TORERO TIDBITS:
* USD Football is in its 55th season of play, and 25th season as a member of the Pioneer Football League... San Diego is second for most PFL titles with nine (Dayton leads with 12)... The Toreros have won six of the past seven PFL championships (2017, 2016, 2015c, 2014, 2012c, 2011c) and nine overall when adding in titles from 2007c, 2006, 2005. (c: denotes co-champions).

* Under head coach Dale Lindsey's watch, the Toreros are now 27-2 overall in home games at Torero Stadium, including a perfect 4-0 mark this season. Coach Lindsey has yet to drop a home PFL contest in five seasons (20-0 record) and the Toreros have now won 31 straight league home games and a PFL record 21 consecutive PFL contests. Lindsey, a two-time PFL Coach of the Year and two-time FCS Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year candidate, is 45-12 overall (78.9 winning percentage). Last Saturday's win over Marist moved into San Diego's top spot for NCAA Division I football wins (he passed by Ron Caragher, 44-22; 2007-2012). Former coach Brian Fogarty is the prgram's all-time winningest coach (71-53 overall, with his last 16 wins coming at the Division I level from 1993-1995). Coach Lindsey has a weekly radio spot every Friday at 8:50 a.m. (Pacific) on the Dan Sileo Show on The Mighty 1090AM.

* Junior quarterback Anthony Lawrence (La Mesa, Calif.) is a finalist for the 2017 STATS Walter Payton Award... A three-time PFL Player of the Week, he has completed 216-of-321 passes for 2,796 yards and 30 touchdowns... He has tossed just two interceptions with one being a hail mary attempt at Princeton at the very end of the game... He tossed a personal-best 6 touchdowns in a road win at Jacksonville, and against Davidson he completed 24-28 passes for 403 yards and 3 TDs... In FCS ranks, he is tied for second in passing TDs (30), 4th in passing efficiency (170.1), 13th in passing yards (2,796) and 15th in passing yards per game (254.2)... His three-year totals include 650-of-980 passing (66.3%) for 8,186 yards and 78 touchdowns (3rd all-time at USD).

* Senior defensive end Jonathan Petersen (Poway, Calif.) is a finalist for the STATS FCS Buck Buchanan Award... The program's all-time leader with 39 sacks, Petersen ranks first in the FCS in both sacks (13; 1.18 per game) and tackles-for-loss (20, 1.8 per game)... He is tied for 2nd in forced fumbles (5, 0.45 per game)... Petersen needs four more sacks to set a new all-time FCS mark of 43. Petersen entered the 2017 campaign as USD’s all-time leader in forced fumbles with 9. With five more this season, he has extended that total to 14. Among FCS active career leaders, he ranks No. 1 in sacks (39), sacks per game (0.85) and forced fumbles (14)... He is tied for 2nd overall for tackles for loss per game (1.50).

* Freshman running back Emilio Martinez (Salinas, Calif.) was a nominee for the STATS FCS Jerry Rice Watch List... He is first among PFL players in kickoff returns (25.4; #12 FCS) and is second in all-purpose yards per game (134.8; #11 FCS). He ranks fourth in the PFL in total rushing yards (894 yards; #26 FCS) and his nine rushing TDs ranks second in the PFL. First year junior Joseph Binda Jr. has also turned in some solid runs this season with 380 yards (5.0 ave.) and 6 rushing touchdowns.

* Lawrence has two reliable seniors when looking down field...senior Justin Priest leads the PFL with 66 receptions for 954 yards (14.5 ave.) and 12 touchdowns, and tight end Ross Dwelley has hauled in 41 balls for 562 yards (13.7 ave.) and 8 touchdowns... Sophmore Michael Bandy has turned in a solid campaign with 22 receptions for 354 yards (16.1 ave.) and two touchdowns.

* Including Petersen, season defensive leaders include NB Max Michaels (66 tackles, 8 tackles for loss, 1 interception, 3 breakups, 3 quarterback hurries), safety Colton Giorgi (65 tackles, 1 fumble recovery), LB Kim Mahoney (61 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss, 2 breakups, 2 forced fumbles and 3 fumble recoveries), and safety Ray Clark (48 tackles, 3 tackles for loss). Senior CB Kishan Patel leads the defense with 10 pass breakups to go with two interceptions. Sophomore safety Daniel Tolbert was PFL Player of the Week (Nov. 20) following his 9 tackle, 2 interception (62 yards) performance against Marist.

* The Toreros rank in 14 FCS top-10 areas: #1 tackles for loss allowed (2.82), #1: third down conversion (51.8%), #1: passes had intercepted (3), #2: turnovers lost (8), #2: scoring offense (39.0), #2: sacks allowed (0.55), #7: red zone defense (60.0%), #3: time of possession (33:56), #4: team passing efficiency (168.20), #5: rushing defense (78.1), #6: completion percentage (.665), #7: fewest penalties per game (4.55), #7: fewest penalties (50) and #10: scoring defense (16.3).

* Senior LB Max Michaels (Poway, Calif.) was a semifinalist for the William V. Campbell Trophy, announced by the National Football Foundation and College Football Hall of Fame. He was one of 181 semi-finalists for the award that recognizes an individual as the absolute best football scholar-athlete in the nation. Michaels carries a 3.95 grade-point average in his major of Accountancy. Michaels, along with Connor Spencer (3.78, Electrical Engineering) and Justin Priest (3.40 GPA, Finance) were named to the 2017 CoSIDA Academic All-America District VIII squad.

* "Mr. Torero" - Including his four seasons as a wide receiver for the Toreros from 1979-1983, Mike Rish, Senior Offensive Administrative Assistant, is now in his 39th year with the USD football program. Incredibly, he has missed only one game out of a possible 407 games to date during his run... He missed the team's 31-28 road win at UC Santa Barbara during the 1984 season to attend a family wedding... This Saturday's game vs. NAU will be his 347th consecutive game and 407th overall out of 408. An amazing streak.

* Since the start of the 2005 season the Toreros have combined for an overall record of 109-36 (75.1 winning percentage), and a PFL mark of 74-15 (83.1 winning percentage)… USD’s overall home record on Walter J. Zable Field at Torero Stadium during this run is 67-19 (77.9 winning percentage)… Including the last five home wins of the 2004 campaign, the Toreros strung together a school record 28 straight home victories (2004-2008).

* Former Torero Jamal Agnew (San Diego, Calif.), now with the Detroit Lions, electrified an ESPN national audience on Monday Night Football (Sept. 18) when he returned a 4th quarter punt against the New York Giants for 88 yards and a TD. On Sunday (Oct. 15) he did it again, this time for 74 yards against the New Orlean Saints, becoming just the 5th Lions player to return two punts for a TD in the same season... Former Torero QB Josh Johnson (2004-2007) is now in his 10th year in the NFL... A 5th round pick by Tampa Bay in 2008, this season he started with the New York Giants and was signed by the Houston Texans in early November.

* This week's opponent, the Northern Arizona, finished the regular season 7-4 overall and 6-2 in the Big Sky Conference... NAU will be making their first NCAA FCS Playoff appearance since 2013 and the sixth in the program's history... Head Coach Jerome Souers is in his 20th season (119-107)... Offensively the 'Jacks are led by QB Case Cookus (3,235 yards; 21 TDs), WR Elijah Marks (71-1,170 yards, 6 TDs) and RB's Cory Young (739 yards, 8 TDs) and Joe Logan (650 yards, 6 TDs)... Defensively the 'Jacks are paced by LB Byron Evans (76 stops) and FS Kam'ron Johnson (74 tackles, 4 interceptions). Side note: Flagstaff eleveation is 6,910 feet.

 

 

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