ADRIAN, Mich. -- The 14th-ranked Siena Heights (7-1, 3-1) football team travels to face Indiana Wesleyan (5-2. 3-1) in the Saints final road game of the regular season.
Siena Heights comes into the game after a 24-14 upset win last week over then No. 6 Saint Francis (Ind.) in Fort Wayne, Indiana. The lone loss for the Saints this season came in a 10-7 decision to rival Concordia (Mich.) in week five.
The Wildcats losses came at the hands of NCAA Division I Butler, 30-27 in overtime, and then No. 7 Saint Francis (Ind.), 31-30. Indiana Wesleyan was stopped on a two-point conversion with less than a minute left in the loss to the Cougars two weeks ago.
This is the second meeting between Siena Heights and Indiana Wesleyan in football. The Saints won the inaugural matchup last season 31-10 in Adrian. Indiana Wesleyan is undefeated this season in Marion, Indiana and has been outscoring opponents 96-56 at home. Siena is 3-1 on the road this season and has outscored opponents 92-54 when they are the visitor on the scoreboard.
The Saints bring a top-ranked defense into the contest this weekend. The defensive unit is ranked second in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) for scoring defense (9 pts. per game). They are also ranked ninth in rushing defense (94.10 yards allowed per game) and 10th in opponent fourth-down conversions (27.8%) in the country. They are top 15 in pass defense efficiency (99.70), total defense (283.10), and sacks (3.3 per game).
Kaleb Jefferson (Bluffton, Ohio) leads the Saint running game with 809 yards on 131 carries and has scored six touchdowns on the ground and one through the air. His rushing yards per game of 101 is currently 19th-best in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). Tyler Knecht (King Mills, Ohio) is 85-124 for 928 yards passing. He has thrown for 10 touchdowns in the 2019 campaign and ranks 15th in the nation in pass efficiency with 150.00. Jerrold King (Eastpointe, Mich.) leads the receiving corp with 243 yards and four touchdowns. Pianki Abdul-Hakiym (Detroit, Mich.) has hauled in 15 passes for 126 yards and a touchdown. Timothy Brown (Detroit, Mich.) has 12 catches for 101 yards and two touchdowns.
Defensively, the team is led by the current NAIA defensive payer of the week Kole Murlin (Celina, Ohio) with 87 tackles, 42 of which are solo stops. He has also accumulated six tackles for loss, two fumble recoveries, an interception, and a half-sack. Murlin ranks 11th in the country in tackles. Nick Stalworth (Clarkston, Mich.) has 63 tackles, 31 solos, 3.5 TFL, a sack, an interception, and a fumble recovery to his credit. Griffin Sobol (Morris, Ill.) is third in tackles with 41, 19 solo. He has two tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, and a fumble recovery. Gabe Callery (Traverse City, Mich.) has recorded 40 tackles, 20 solos, 2.5 TFL, two interceptions, and one fumble recovery. Trenton Morrow (Norwalk, Ohio) leads the team with five interceptions on top of his 33 tackles, 11 for loss, four TFL, and two sacks. His five interceptions are third-best in the NAIA and are one away from tying the school record for interceptions in a season.
Caleb Meister (Toledo, Ohio) has punted 46 times for 1907 yards with a season-long of 67 yards. He is averaging 41.5 yards per punt which is sixth-highest in the NAIA. He has pinned opponents inside their own 20-yard line 26 times this season. Cameron Thompson (Ypsilanti, Mich.) is the team's leading kick returner with a total of 154 yards.
Quarterback Zack Blair leads the Wildcat offense with 117-201 passing for 1417 yards and 16 touchdowns. Jesse Deglow and Wade Phillips both lead the running game with 244 yards. Deglow has five touchdowns while Phillips has punched it in twice. Brayden Smith is Indiana Wesleyan's biggest threat through the air as he leads the unit with 48 catches for 648 yards and 10 touchdowns.
The defense is led by Josh Davidson with 60 tackles, 2.5 TFL, and two fumble recoveries. Adam Schantz has 42 tackles, 4.5 for loss, 1.5 sacks, an interception, and a fumble recovery. Cameron Lauck and Justin Brown each have 34 tackles. Lauck has two tackles for loss, one sack, and one interception. Brown has an interception to his credit as well. Payton Marksbury, Ishmael Avila, and Lamon Mathison each have 30 tackles this season. Avila leads the team with seven TFL and three sacks.
Ben VonGunten is 8-12 in field goals. His season-long is 47 yards. He is also the team's punter with 32 boots for 1344 yards and a long of 60. He is averaging 42 yards per punt this season.
The game is scheduled for a noon kickoff. Fans can follow the game via live stats and live stream. The will also be broadcasted on WLEN online or by tuning into 96.5 FM The Cave on Saturday afternoon.