Wartburg Will Open NCAA Football Playoffs At Home
An undefeated regular season has earned the Wartburg Knights a first-round home game in the NCAA Division III football playoffs.
The 17th-ranked Knights (10-0) begin post-season play when they host unranked Franklin of Indiana at Walston-Hoover Stadium at noon on Saturday (Nov. 18, 2017). It will be the first meeting between the two programs.
Both teams earned an automatic spot in the 32-team playoff field by winning league championships. Wartburg finished first in the Iowa Conference, while the Grizzlies (8-2) dropped two non-league games to start the season before going undefeated in Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference (HCAC) play.
The Knights will be making their 11th overall appearance in the NCAA playoffs and first since 2014. Franklin is in the field for the ninth time in the last 11 years.
The winner will face either Trine or Monmouth (Ill.) in the second round on Nov. 25.
The NCAA announced the qualifiers and playoff pairings late Sunday afternoon.
Wartburg completed its fifth undefeated regular season in program history on Saturday, when it defeated Nebraska Wesleyan 41-20. After trailing 13-7 at halftime, the Knights took control of the game with a 21-point third quarter.
Matt Sacia threw for 336 yards and a school record-tying five touchdowns. Riley Brockway became Wartburg's all-time career leader in pass receptions (170 to date) during the game and finished with 245 receiving yards. He also matched a single-game school record with four touchdown receptions.