The defending champions were pushed in the second half of the 64th Annual NAIA Football National Championship Game Saturday, but prevailed in the end.
Despite being outscored 24-19 in the second half, No. 1 Morningside (14-0) came away with a 40-38 victory in Louisiana to win its second red banner in program history and complete a second straight unbeaten season.
Down 21-7 at halftime, the Marian (Ind.) Knights (12-1) came out of the locker room strong and outscored the Mustangs 14-12 in the quarter.
Morningside Quarterback Joe Dolincheck was named the Most Outstanding Offensive Player of the game, completing 30-of-44 for 304 yards and six touchdowns, with just one interception against a Marian defense that led the NAIA in pass defense.
The Morningside defense limited Marian to more than 100 yards less than their season rushing average at just 123 net rushing yards; the Knights came into the matchup ninth nationally in rushing per game.
Morningside’s Deion Clayborne was the Most Outstanding Defensive Player of the Game, making seven tackles, and breaking up five passes.
The Mustangs have now won 29 consecutive contests, and have lost just once in their last 43 games.
Report & photo by NAIA