GNAC Football Video Preview: Azusa Pacific

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

PORTLAND, Ore. - The GNAC's countdown to kickoff for 2017 continues with our video preview of Azusa Pacific.

Picked by coaches to repeat as GNAC champion, Azusa Pacific enters the season having won nine straight games against GNAC opponents and an eight-game win streak on its home field. The Cougars will play six of its 11 games in 2017 at Citrus Stadium.

While Azusa Pacific proved potent on offense, leading the GNAC with 435 points and outscoring opponents by an average of 20 points per game, the Cougars won on defense. They led the GNAC with 192 points allowed and 334.1 yards allowed per game and was among the leaders in NCAA Division II in interceptions (23), red zone defense (.559), scoring defense (16 points allowed per game) and sacks (4.17 per game).

The Cougars return 58 players from the 2016 championship squad, including 15 starters. Senior quarterback Andrew Elffers, the reigning GNAC Offensive Player of the Year, threw for 2,120 yards and 21 touchdowns while also rushing for seven more touchdowns. Elffers was intercepted just three times and his 1.1 interception percentage set a GNAC single season record. Junior running back Kurt Scoby was a First Team All-GNAC selection after rushing for 56.5 yards per game with five touchdowns while sophomore Weston Carr, the 2016 GNAC Freshman of the Year, caught 48 passes for 75.4 receiving yards per game and nine touchdowns. First team offensive lineman Joe Kupcikevicius and junior center Sakalaia Hungalu anchor a line that allowed just 22 sacks.

On defense, senior safety Taliuaki Suliafu was a First Team All-GNAC selection after he finished with 61 tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks. Senior defensive end Jason Schwartz also made the first team list thanks to 47 tackles, nine sacks and a forced fumble. The Cougars also return a pair of Second Team All-GNAC performers in senior defensive end Conrado Simpson (20 tackles, 8.5 for loss, 5 sacks) and junior linebacker Aaron Berry (107 tackles, 6 for loss).

Sun., Aug. 27: Simon Fraser
Mon., Aug. 28: Western Oregon
Tues., Aug. 29: Humboldt State
Wed., Aug. 30: Azusa Pacific
Thurs., Aug. 31: Central Washington
Season Kickoff: Thurs., Aug. 31, Western Oregon at Idaho State