The Knights had to overcome a 17-9 deficit and rely on the leg of senior kicker Michael Josifovski to earn a 20-17 victory over second-ranked and unbeaten Missouri Valley College at Gregg-Mitchell Field in Marshall, Mo., on Saturday afternoon.
With the score tied at 17-17, senior defensive back Nathan Toon notched his second interception of the game with 2:52 remaining in the game. This came on the heels of Josifovski’s second miss of the afternoon, a 32-yard attempt. Senior quarterback Adam Wiese and sophomore running back Tevin Lake were looking to give Josifovski one more chance to earn the win.
Lake broke a 27-yard run in the drive before the Vikings stuffed the Knights at the MVC 34-yard line with 25 seconds remaining. Head coach Ted Karras Jr. called a timeout with 1.7 seconds on the clock to give Josifovski that chance.
The Hobart, Ind., native lined up for a 51-yard field goal, he had hit a school-long 54-yard attempt earlier in the day, to give the Knights the chance for the win. The snap was good and Josifovski hammered the kick through the uprights for the 20-17 victory with no time remaining to propel the Knights to their first-ever NAIA national title game. He finished the day with four field goals. He hit from 47, 54, 34 and the game-winning 51-yard attempt.
Lake earned NAIA Football Championship Series Outstanding Offensive Player of the Game honors for the fourth time in his career after he rushed the ball 26 times for 142 yards. Senior Nathan Jones rushed for the game’s only touchdown, while Wiese went 15-of-27 for 153 yards. Jones also led the Knights with four receptions for 48 yards.
In other NAIA action:
MORNINGSIDE 47, ST. XAVIER 19
Third-ranked Morningside blew out reigning national champion Saint Xavier University 47-19 in Saturday’s semifinals of the NAIA Football Championship Series at Olsen Stadium.
The victory put the 13-0 Mustangs into the 2012 NAIA National Championship Game to be played Dec. 13 in Rome.
The Mustangs’ title game opponent will be Marian University, which advanced to the final with a 20-17 upset win at No. 1 Missouri Valley College in Saturday’s other semifinal. Marian shared this year’s Mid-States Football Association Mideast League title with Saint Xavier and the University of Saint Francis.
The Mustangs, champion of the Great Plains Athletic Conference, had too much offense, more specifically too much Joel Nixon, for the defending national champions. Nixon shredded the Cougars’ defense for 367 yards total offense and played a role in five of the Mustangs’ seven touchdowns.