Preview: Unbeaten Red Devils Ready For Benedictine

Photo courtesy of Summer Inselmann.
Photo courtesy of Summer Inselmann.
EUREKA -- The winner of 14 consecutive regular-season games, Eureka will put its perfect 6-0 record and unblemished 3-0 Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference mark on the line Saturday when the Red Devils host Benedictine in a 1 p.m. league kickoff at McKinzie Field.
 
 
Eureka and Benedictine will renew a rivalry that includes 37 previous meetings over the course six decades. The two squads met every season from 1965 through 2007 primarily as rivals in the old Illini-Badger Football Conference. Saturday's clash is the first meeting between the Red Devils and Eagles since BU won a 45-7 non-conference decision in Lisle, Ill. on Sept. 3, 2011.
 
ABOUT EUREKA
The Red Devils are riding their most successful regular-season run in program history thanks to an offense that puts up 41.7 points and 484.7 yards per game. Eureka has hit the 500-yard plateau three times in 2018 and has rushed for at least 231 yards in all six of its outings this season.
 
Le'Anthony Reasnover leads the EC charge with 1,052 rushing yards in 2018, fourth-most among all Division III players. His 21 rushing touchdowns, 23 total touchdowns, 23.0 points scored per game and 138 total points lead the nation through the Red Devils' first six games. His effort helps the Red Devils rank 18th nationally in total offense.
 
A balanced defense led by linebacker Austin McCarty (35 tackles), Cameron Lucas (4.5 tackles for loss) and Colton Fauver (four interceptions) leads the league and ranks 51st in Division III with 300.3 yards allowed per game. 
 
In the midst of a major program renassance that culminated in the program's first-ever NCAA playoffs bid last year, Eureka entered the 2018 season with 86 student-athletes on the roster. Thirty-three letterwinners from last season's championship squad have returned for 10th-year head coach Kurt Barth, the winningest head coach in 127 years of Eureka College football.
 
More than 50 newcomers have joined the program for 2018, another massive recruiting haul for Barth, who regularly welcomes large groups of student-athletes.
 
RED DEVILS MARCH OVER CONCORDIA IN CHICAGOLAND
Eureka defeated Concordia Chicago last Saturday in River Forest, Ill., 44-14. Le'Anthony Reasnover rushed for 201 yards and equaled his own single-game NACC record with five touchdowns, Drew Barth threw for 173 yards and the defense pitched a second-half shutout in the Red Devils' 14th consecutive regular-season victory.
 
Barth produced another efficient day, going 13-for-17 for 173 yards and a second-quarter touchdown throw to Caleb Fauver. Barth also ran 10 times for 42 yards, part of the Red Devils' 346-yard day on the ground as a team. Dom Parks led the receiving corps with four grabs for 55 yards, including a big second-quarter reception that extended an EC scoring drive.
 
The Eureka defense didn't allow a point over the final 32 minutes and limited the Cougars to just 264 yards for the afternoon. Mason Diederich, Jon Jackson and Macae Skaggs shared the team lead with five total tackles apiece, while Diederich added a solo sack and a team-best 2.0 tackles for loss.
 
Colton Fauver registered a fourth-quarter interception, his ninth career interception to tie Cody Troutman (2006-09) for fourth place on the Red Devils' career list since 2000.
 
Saturday's win was Eureka's 24th all-time over Concordia, the Red Devils' most victories over any opponent in program history. The 30-point win was also Eureka's first over the Cougars at Concordia Stadium since a 22-7 victory on Sept. 25, 2004.
 
LE'ANTHONY AND THE RECORD BOOK
Le'Anthony Reasnover finished last Saturday's win at Concordia Chicago with 1,052 season rushing yards, becoming the first player in program history with three separate seasons of at least 1,000 rushing yards. 
 
Reasnover also increased his career point total to 486, passing six players Saturday to move into seventh place on the all-time NCAA Division III scoring list. With 99 more rushing yards, Reasnover can become the 29th player in Division III history to rush for 5,000 career yards.
 
KUHNE, REASNOVER REPEAT AS NACC PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
Less than 72 hours removed from helping Eureka extend its school-record regular-season win streak to 14 games, Tanner Kuhne and senior running back Le'Anthony Reasnover repeated as NACC Players of the Week, according to an announcement from league office on Tuesday morning.
 
Kuhne, the NACC Special Teams Player of the Week for the third time this season and the recipient of a conference player of the week award for the sixth time in his three-year career, was a valuable weapon in Eureka's 44-14 win at Concordia Chicago on Saturday. He went 5-for-5 on extra-point attempts and drilled a 27-yard field goal as time expired in the first half. Kuhne also averaged 46.0 yards on two punts and boomed a punt of 50 yards or more (53) for the second consecutive weekend that pinned the Cougars inside their own 20-yard line.
 
Reasnover is now a 10-time conference player of the week and a three-time weekly recipient from the NACC.
 
ABOUT BENEDICTINE
The Eagles are 2-4 overall this season and have won two games in a row to run their NACC record to 2-1. BU won at Rockford two weekends ago, 27-20, before topping Wisconsin Lutheran 40-31 last Saturday in Lisle.
 
Benedictine has the nation's 121st ranked offense with 368.7 yards per game. Quarterbacks Nick Sternad and Grant Klaver have split time under  center, combining for 1,410 yards and 11 touchdowns through six games. Sternad is listed as Saturday's starter on BU's unofficial depth chart. Joshua Williams is the top BU rusher with 484 yards and four scores and Jameel Stephens has a team-best 29 receptions for 277 yards and four touchdowns in 2018.
 
BU opponents average 477.0 yards per game, including 206.8 yards on the ground. Linebacker Scottie Bobeck leads the team with 62 tackles and three interceptions. Jack Drummond has added 9.0 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks.
 
Brad McCaslin, a 1994 graduate of Hastings College in Hastings, Neb., is in his first season as head coach of the Eagles. The St. Charles, Ill. native owns a variety of experience at the NCAA Division I level, making stops at Drake (2012-14), Eastern Michigan (2014-16) and Buffalo (2016-17). He was also an assistant at Nebraska-Omaha from 1997 through 2011.
 
With an enrollment of approximately 3,300, Benedictine University is located in Lisle, Ill., approximately 25 miles west of downtown Chicago.  The institution was founded by the monks of St. Procopius Abbey in 1887. The Eagles compete as full-time charter members of the NACC.
 
THE ALL-TIME SERIES
Eureka will aim for its first victory over Benedictine since 2004 when the Eagles visit McKinzie Field this Saturday. BU leads the series, 23-11-3, and has won five straight contests over EC since 2005. The two schools first met in November 1951, a 13-6 Eureka victory in Harvey, Ill.
 
The Red Devils and Eagles played a home-and-home non-conference series in 2010 and 2011 after the dissolution of the Illini-Badger Football Conference. BU won both games, including a 42-7 win at McKinzie Field to open the 2010 season.