The Road to Durham has one more stop and it is known as the NAIA Semifinals. There are only four teams left in the NAIA Playoffs and they have established themselves as the four best in the 2022 season. We have Keiser from the state of Florida, Northwestern from the state of Iowa, Grand View from the state of Iowa, and Indiana Wesleyan of course from Indiana. There are two teams on our list in Indiana Wesleyan and Keiser who have never made it this far yet. While Grand View and Northwestern definitely have semifinal experience. If you missed it yesterday check out our NAIA Semifinal Fun Fact article, but without further ado let’s get to our NAIA Semifinals Preview and Prediction.
NAIA Semifinals Preview
Semifinal #1: Grand View vs. Keiser
Grand View’s Road to the Semifinals: W Carroll, W Lindsey Wilson
Grand View’s Players to Watch: QB Johnny Sullivan, WR Carson Rollinger, RB Ali Scott
Keiser’s Road to the Semifinals: W Bethel, W Morningside
Keiser’s Players to Watch: RB Jaiden Meizinger, DL Camron Allen, TE Jaylen Arnold, QB Bryce Veasley (came off the bench last week)
Out of all the NAIA teams remaining NONE of them have a resume as impressive as Keiser’s. In their playoff run alone they knocked out undefeated Mid-South Conference champion Bethel, and then turned around and defeated the ongoing dynasty known as #1 Morningside. Keiser is currently 9-3 overall, but undefeated in NAIA play. If Keiser is able to win this thing there could be a case study on their season. Keiser had three games where they played a D1 FCS squad and two Division II teams. They are by far the most battle tested team this season. Last week the Seahawks were down in the First Quarter 21-3 against Morningside. The next three quarters they would take control of the game with a 26-7 run. It is also worth noting that Keiser has one of the most balanced offenses in the NAIA as rushing and passing both average over 200 yards a game.
Meanwhile Grand View is no stranger to games like this, as they were just here a year ago on their way to the national championship game. When I think about Grand View I always think of their front seven on defense. Currently the Vikings are only allowing 55 rushing yards per game. It’s hard to beat a team like Grand View who does not give you a chance to establish the run game. The Vikings are led by their Senior QB Johnny Sullivan, and 33 other Seniors on the roster. A team with this much veteran presence and experience at this state in the playoffs is an advantage. I will say that the Vikings have been flirting with disaster as they were two yards away and a clock expiring from a loss against Lindsey Wilson. The first round game against Carroll was also a tough one winning 17-14, as Grand View recovered a late onside kick to defeat the Saints.