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Central Washington One Win Away From GNAC Title Share
Reilly Hennessey's 264 passing yards and 60 rushing yards helped put the Wildcats in position to improve to 9-0 on the season.
Reilly Hennessey's 264 passing yards and 60 rushing yards helped put the Wildcats in position to improve to 9-0 on the season.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Central Washington has not won a GNAC football championship since 2012. The Wildcats are one week away from returning to the top of the mountain.

Thanks to a 34-23 win over Azusa Pacific in a game streamed on WatchESPN as part of the NCAA Division II Football Showcase, the Wildcats improved to 9-0 overall and 6-0 in conference play. With a win on Saturday at Simon Fraser, Central Washington would assure themselves of no less than a share of the conference title.

The win also put the Wildcats on top of the NCAA Super Region 4 Rankings, which ultimately determine playoff qualification and seeing, and moved up one spot to No. 7 in the AFCA Division II Coaches Poll.

Win or lose next weekend, it appears that the Nov. 11 game between Central Washington and Humboldt State in Arcata, Calif., will be one for the top prize. The Lumberjacks improved to 7-1 overall and 6-1 in GNAC play with a 47-7 win at Simon Fraser on Saturday. That conference record will hold through the week with Humboldt State playing its final non-conference game this week, at Western State in Gunnison, Colo.

The conference’s other matchup in week 10 pits Azusa Pacific and Western Oregon in Monmouth, Ore. The Wolves are looking to snap a three-game losing streak while the Cougars look to avenge last week’s loss at Central Washington.

THIS WEEK'S GNAC PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
OFFENSE
Chase Krivashei, Humboldt State
WR • 5-9 • Senior • Corona, Calif.

Krivashei became the Lumberjacks’ all-time receptions leader as he finished with seven catches for 103 yards and two touchdowns in a 47-7 win over Simon Fraser. His 294 catches eclipsed the record of 293 set by Dustin Creager (2001-04). Both of Krivashei’s touchdowns came in the first quarter as the Lumberjacks staked themselves to a 28-0 first quarter lead. Krivashei also had two punt returns for 69 yards, which included a 59-yard return that led the Lumberjacks’ fourth touchdown.

Also Nominated: Justin Peterson (Central Washington).

DEFENSE
Tyler Hasty, Central Washington
LB • 6-1 • Senior • Battle Ground, Wash.

Hasty finished with four tackles and a Central Washington single-game record with five pass breakups in the Wildcats’ 34-23 win over Azusa Pacific. Two of those breakups came on third down and the fifth was deflected to teammate Max McIntosh for an interception.

Also Nominated: Tyler Wharf (Western Oregon).

SPECIAL TEAMS
Jonathan Kuhn, Central Washington
P • 5-11 • Senior • Mercer Island, Wash.

Kuhn averaged 41.3 yards per punt on three attempts in Saturday’s 34-23 win over Azusa Pacific. His performance included a long 52-yard punt that pinned the Cougars inside the 10-yard line late in the fourth quarter.

AROUND THE GNAC
AZUSA PACIFIC
LAST WEEK: Oct. 28: Lost at Central Washington, 34-23
THIS WEEK: Nov. 4: at Western Oregon, 1 p.m.

• Azusa Pacific’s potent offense was stymied by Central Washington’s stout defense in a 34-23 loss to the Wildcats in a game streamed on WatchESPN as part of the D2 Football Showcase.

• The Cougars were limited to 291 yards of total offense, well below the team’s average of 447 yards per game. Azusa Pacific managed 200 passing yards, also below the Cougars’ 264.3 yards per game average.

• Quarterback Andrew Elffers had all 200 of APU’s passing yards, completing 22 of 31 passes with one touchdown. He also rushed for a team-leading 54 yards on 14 carries and two touchdowns. Elffers leads the GNAC and is 14th in Division II in total offense, averaging 308.2 yards per game and is third in the GNAC in both passing (248.3 yards per game) and rushing (59.9 yards per game).

• Wide receiver Weston Carr was Elffers’ top target, catching seven passes for 84 yards and a touchdown right at the end of the game. Carr leads the GNAC and is third in Division II with 131.2 receiving yards per game and is ranked sixth nationally with 11 receiving touchdowns.

• The APU defense saw Taliuaki Suliafu, Aaron Berry and Kenny Norton each finish with 10 tackles. Suliafu’s line included six solo tackles, Berry had 1.5 tackles for loss and Norton had the Cougars’ only interception of the day.

• Azusa Pacific enters the week third in the GNAC in total offense (447 yards per game), rushing (182.7 yards per game) and passing (264.3 yards per game). The Cougars are in the NCAA Division II top-30 in all three categories and rank 20th with 202 first downs.

CENTRAL WASHINGTON
LAST WEEK: Oct. 28: Beat Azusa Pacific, 34-23
THIS WEEK: Nov. 4: at Simon Fraser, 1 p.m.

• Central Washington racked up 435 yards of total offense and had a solid all-around day from the defense to beat Azusa Pacific, 34-23, and move one step closer to the GNAC title.

• With a win on Saturday at Simon Fraser, Central Washington will clinch at least a share of its first GNAC football championship since 2012.

• The victory allowed Central Washington to move up one more spot to No. 7 in the latest AFCA Division II Coaches Poll. The Wildcats also assumed the No. 1 spot in this week’s NCAA Super Region 4 Rankings.

• Linebacker Tyler Hasty was named the GNAC Defensive Player of the Week after he tied the CWU single-game record with five pass breakups to go along with four tackles. His last pass breakup led to a fourth-quarter interception. He helped lead a CWU defense that allowed the Cougars just 291 yards of total offense. The Wildcats finished with eight tackles for loss and six sacks. Hasty is fifth in Division II with 1.7 passes defended per game.

• Punter Jonathan Kuhn was named GNAC Special Teams Player of the Week after he punted three times for an average of 41.3 yards per punt, including a long 52-yard punt that pinned APU inside their own 10-yard line later in the fourth quarter. Kuhn is second in the GNAC in punting, averaging 37.7 yards per punt.

• Quarterback Reilly Hennessey had another solid game, completing 21 of 28 passes for 264 yards and two touchdowns while also rushing 14 times for 60 yards and another touchdown. Hennessey is third in the GNAC and 28th in Division II in total offense, averaging 269.9 yards per game.

• Wide receiver Justin Peterson had six catches for 118 yards and a touchdown to lead the CWU receiving corps. Peterson enters the week averaging 53.1 receiving yards per game.

• Central Washington enters the week as one of just nine undefeated teams in NCAA Division II football and one of five with 9-0 records. The other 9-0 teams are Fort Hays St., Indianapolis, Minnesota State and Indiana (Pa.).

• With his three solo tackles in the game, linebacker Kevin Haynes became the GNAC career leader with 210. He surpassed former Wildcat Blake Walker, who had 208 solo tackles in his four-year career (2001-04).

• Central Washington leads the GNAC and is 14th in Division II rushing, averaging 230.9 yards per game. The Wildcats are 23rd in Division II with 456.6 yards of total offense per game. Defensively, CWU leads Division II with 4.44 sacks per game and is 16th with 16.6 points allowed per game.

HUMBOLDT STATE
LAST WEEK: Oct. 28: Beat Simon Fraser, 47-7
THIS WEEK: Nov. 4: at Western State, 2 p.m.
 
• Humboldt State finished with 423 yards of total offense in a balanced effort at the Lumberjacks cruised to a 47-7 win at Simon Fraser on Saturday.

• A total of 283 of those yards came in the passing game. Senior wide receiver Chase Krivashei was named GNAC Offensive Player of the Week after he caught seven passes for 103 yards and two first-quarter touchdowns. Krivashei enters the week fifth in the GNAC with 57.5 receiving yards per game and is 18th in Division II with eight receiving touchdowns.

• Quarterback Robert Webber completed 15 of 20 passes for 236 yards and three touchdowns before yielded to two other quarterbacks late in the game. Webber leads the GNAC and is 16th in Division II in passing, averaging 276.2 yards per game. He also leads Division II with 10.80 yards per pass attempt, is second with a pass efficiency rating of 192.3 and is 25th in total offense with 277 yards per game.

• Sophomore running back Isaiah Hall led the HSU ground game, rushing 14 times for 107 yards. He enters the week seventh in the GNAC with 30.4 rushing yards per game.

• Running back Ja’Quan Gardner continued to build on his GNAC career record with two touchdowns on just 23 rushing yards. The senior now has 72 touchdowns, 432 points, 6,698 all-purpose yards, 5,362 rushing yards and 68 rushing touchdowns, all conference records. Gardner leads the GNAC and is third in Division II with 205.6 all-purpose yards per game. He is second in Division II with 17 rushing touchdowns and fourth with 149.4 rushing yards per game.

• With the win, Humboldt State moved up one spot to No. 17 in the AFCA Division II Coaches Poll, but slipped three spots to No. 8 in the NCAA Super Region 4 Rankings.

• Humboldt State leads the GNAC and is fourth in Division II in scoring offense, averaging 46.9 points per game. The Lumberjacks also lead the league and are sixth in Division II with 502 yards of total offense per game and is 15th in Division II with 292 passing yards per game. Humboldt State is second in Division II with a team pass efficiency rating of 189.60 and is fifth with a .683 pass completion percentage.

SIMON FRASER
LAST WEEK: Oct. 28: Lost to Humboldt State, 47-7
THIS WEEK: Nov. 3: vs. Central Washington, 1 p.m.

• Simon Fraser put up 316 yards of total offense, its highest total of the GNAC schedule and second highest of the season, in a 47-7 loss to Humboldt State.

• Quarterback Miles Richardson accounted for most of that offense, completing 23 of 40 passes for 238 yards and the Clan’s only touchdown, a seven-yard strike to Dionte Simon late in the game. Richardson also rushed 16 times for 23 yards. Richardson enters the week averaging 211.4 passing yards per game and is 22nd in Division II with 21.13 yards per completion.

• Wide receiver Nathanael Durkan led seven SFU receivers in the game with 86 yards on seven catches. Simon caught five passes for 38 yards and rushed 11 times for 33 yards.

• The Clan defense managed eight tackles for loss for 25 yards. Defensive back Brendan Lowry led the way with nine tackles, including seven solo tackles and a tackle for loss, while lineman Kyle Wilson had four tackles, three tackles for loss and one of SFU’s two sacks. Lowry enters the week sixth in the GNAC with 6.6 tackles per game.

• Simon Fraser enters the week averaging 211.4 yards of total offense per game, including 211.4 passing yards per game. The Clan is 25th in Division II with four blocked kicks, 21st in fewest penalty yards with 405 and 28th in fewest penalty yards per game at 50.63.

WESTERN OREGON
LAST WEEK: Oct. 28: Lost at Tarleton State, 28-6
THIS WEEK: Nov. 4: vs. Azusa Pacific, 1 p.m.
 
• Western Oregon found scoring opportunities hard to come by Saturday, limited to one touchdown and 299 yards of total offense in a 28-7 loss at Tarleton State.

• Quarterback Nick Duckworth completed 24 of 42 passes for 235 yards, but was unable to pass for a touchdown while being picked off twice. Jack Suarez was Duckworth’s top target, catching six passes for 69 yards. Duckworth enters the week second in the GNAC and 27th in Division II with 253.6 passing yards per game. He is also 23rd in Division II with 21 yards per completion.

• Wide receiver Paul Revis was limited to 45 yards on five catches and one punt return for 11 yards. Despite the low numbers, Revis is third in the GNAC and 24th in Division II with 149.4 all-purpose yards per game. He is first in Division II with 9.2 yards per completion and 12th with 106.1 receiving yards per game.

• Linebacker Andrew Weber led the WOU defense with an impressive 14 tackles, including one tackle for loss. Weber enters the week ranked fifth in the GNAC with 7.2 tackles per game.

• Western Oregon enters Saturday’s game with Azusa Pacific averaging 371.8 yards of total offense per game. The Wolves are second in the GNAC and 23rd in Division II with 270.9 passing yards per game. Defensively, Western Oregon is 16th in Division II with 13 interceptions.

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