Aurora Travels to Saint John's (Minn.) for NCAA Football Opener

NACC champion Aurora will face Saint John's (Minn.) in the first round of the NCAA Division III Football Championship on Saturday, Nov. 23.
NACC champion Aurora will face Saint John's (Minn.) in the first round of the NCAA Division III Football Championship on Saturday, Nov. 23.

Release courtesy of Aurora University athletics communications

AURORA, Ill. --- The Aurora University football team is headed to the NCAA Division III Football Championship for the fifth time in program history and first since 2008. The Spartans received a Pool A berth as they finished the regular season with a 9-1 overall record and went a perfect 7-0 to win the Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference Championship.

The Spartans will travel to Saint John's University (9-1, 7-1 MIAC) in Collegeville, Minnesota on Saturday, November 23. Game time has been set for a 12:00 p.m. kickoff at Clemens Stadium. This will be the first meeting all-time between the two football programs.

Complete Bracket

AU football, under the direction of Head Coach Don Beebe in his first season at the helm, makes a trip to the NCAA Division III Football Championship appearance for the first time in 12 seasons.

AU is led by a high powered offense that ranks sixth in total offense (518.0 yards per game), second in first downs offense (279), fourth among Division III programs in scoring offense (49.4 points per game), 14th in passing offense (318.9 per game), while ranking sixth in third-down conversion percentage (.541 - 73 of 135) and 17th in passing efficiency (171.47). Defensively, the Spartans rank ninth with four defensive touchdowns, 24th in turnovers gained (24) and 17th in fumbles recovered (17).

Individually, the Spartans are led by junior quarterback Gavin Zimbelman. He has thrown for 3,182 yards on 241-of-383 passing, 51 touchdowns and nine interceptions. he has completed 62.9-percent of his passes for 318.2 per game and a 171.96 efficiency. He is first nationally in passing touchdowns (51), points responsible for (326), points responsible for per game (32.6) and total offense (353.7 per game), fourth in passing yards (3,182) fifth in passing yards per game (318.2), ninth in completions per game (24.10) and 14th in passing efficiency (171.96).

Senior wide receiver Jacolby Maxwell has 65 catches for 1,039 yards and 21 touchdowns. Nationally, he is first in receiving touchdowns (21), third in total touchdowns (21), third in total points scored (126), fifth in scoring (12.8 per game), 23th in receiving yards (1,039), 28th in receiving yards per game (103.9) and 37th in receptions per game (6.5).

Junior running back Tyran Bailey has carried the ball 140 times for 950 yards and eight touchdowns, averaging 6.8 per carry and 105.6 per game. Additionally, he has caught 25 passes for 211 yards and three touchdowns. He is ranked nationally, 16th in rushing yards per carry (6.8), 31st in rushing yards per game (105.6), 44th in rushing yards (950) and 60th in all-purpose yards per game (129.0)..

Defensively, AU is allowing 339.0 yards per game and 22.5 points per game. AU is led by junior defensive back Casey Dycus (70 tackles, one sack, two pass breakups, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries), senior linebacker Frankie Gordey (54 tackles with 1/2 sack, one interception and two fumble recoveries, one which he returned for a touchdown), senior defensive end Robert Stark (seven sacks while having a team-high 11 tackles for loss), junior defensive back Sean Reyna (three interceptions and five pass break-ups) and senior defensive back Keion Adams (three interceptions, one returned for a touchdown and six pass break-ups). Adams also is ranked fifth nationally with his four blocked kicks.

Game Day Ticket Information
A ticket must be purchased by each patron to gain admittance to the game. Tickets are $8 for adults and $4 for ages 5-college (w/college ID). SJU season-ticket holders own the rights to the reserved seat/s, but must purchase a ticket to the game. Gates open at 10 a.m.