The Ashland University football team is going to the NCAA Division II playoffs for the fifth time in school history and the first time since 2008. The NCAA announced the 24-team field on Sunday (Nov. 11) and the Eagles are the second seed in Super Region 4.
Ashland is 11-0 and will play the winner of the first round game between Chadron State (9-2) and West Texas A&M (9-2). Those two teams will play this Saturday (Nov. 17) at West Texas A&M. The survivor will come to Jack Miller Stadium/Martinelli Field on Saturday, Nov. 24. The starting time for that game has not been determined.
This is the first time AU has received a first round bye in the postseason. This is the third time AU has advanced to the postseason under head coach Lee Owens. Ashland previously reached the postseason in 1986, 1997, 2007 and 2008. In 2008, under Owens, AU won a first round game at Ashland's Community Stadium, 27-16, over Minnesota State-Mankato. That is AU's only postseason victory and that is the only playoff game to be held in Ashland.
Colorado State-Pueblo is the top seed in the region. The Thunderwolves also get a bye in the first round. They await the winner of this Saturday's first-round game between Indianapolis (9-2) and Midwestern State (9-1). That game will be played at Midwestern Stae. The Thunderwolves are in the playoffs for the third time in school history. Last year, CSU-Pueblo completed the regular season with an 11-0 record and lost in the first round to Minnesota-Duluth. This year's team is 11-0 and won the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference championship.
AU is the lone GLIAC team in this year's postseason field. A year ago, Wayne State and Saginaw Valley State were invited. WSU advanced to the national championship game where it lost to Pittsburg State. Like Wayne State, Pittsburg State did not receive an invitation to this year's postseason party.
This year's national championship game will be played on Dec. 15 in Florence, Ala.
Of the six playoff teams in Region 4, the only one Ashland has played is Indianapolis. The Greyhounds are making their first-ever appearance in the NCAA Division II playoffs. In this year's season opener, the Eagles downed the Greyhounds in Ashland, 37-14.
Ashland is 6-0 at home this season and has shut out three teams- Wayne State (7-0), Walsh (30-0) and Notre Dame (65-0). The Eagles are ranked fifth in the country, which equals their highest ranking since becoming an NCAA Division II institution. This is the fourth time in school history AU has ended the regular season without a loss. It's the first time the Eagles have finished the regular season unbeaten since the 1972 team was 11-0.
Tickets for the Nov. 24 game are now on sale at AU's Troop Center. More information on tickets can be obtained by calling the AU ticket office at 419-289-5475 or 419-207-6163.