Bethany (0-0) at #12 Benedictine (0-0)
About Bethany College: Bethany College finished off the 2017 season with a 5-5 record (4-2 at home, 1-3 away). Head coach Paul Hubbard returns 18 starters from that team, including ten on offense. The Swedes averaged 359.3 yards of offense per game last year, with 228.9 of those yards through the air and 130.4 yards on the ground. Bethany averaged 30.2 points scored per game in 2017, while giving up 37.9 points.
Bethany returns two All-KCAC Second Team selections in senior safety Rhett Mizer and senior running back Jafar Thomas. Mizer had 101 tackles in 2017, including 5.5 tackles for loss. Thomas gained 672 yards on the ground last season, along with 4 touchdowns. Senior quarterback Isaiah Salazar also returns, after 2,072 yards and 21 touchdowns through the air in 2017.
About Benedictine College: Benedictine College starts off the 2018 season ranked #12 in the NAIA Coaches' Poll, with many talented players returning from a team that went 9-3 last season. That record included a 3-2 mark at home, while the Ravens went 6-1 on the road. Coach Larry Wilcox is back for his 39th season at the helm of Benedictine football. Benedictine averaged 458.8 yards per game (YPG) on offense in 2017 (205.5 passing YPG, 253.3 rushing YPG) while averaging 48.6 points scored per game. On defense, the Ravens allowed 318.2 yards per game, with 238.8 yards being given up through the air and 79.4 yards being surrendered on the ground. They held opponents to an average of 18.4 points per game.
History: This is the first meeting between Bethany and Benedictine in football.
Doane (0-0) at Friends (0-0)
About Doane University: The Tigers compiled a 5-5 record in the 2017 season, going 2-3 at home and 3-2 away. Chris Bessler takes over the program in 2018 after serving as the defensive coordinator and inside linebackers coach for several years. Last season, Doane averaged 386.1 yards per game on offense, with a split of 220.0 passing YPG and 166.1 rushing YPG. The Tigers averaged 27.0 points per game. On defense, Doane gave up 27.8 points per game, along with 405.5 yards per contest (223.9 passing, 181.6 rushing).
The Tigers return several prominent starters on defense, including two senior defensive backs in Chayton Crow and Seth Majerus. Crow had 58 total tackles in 2017 with 2.5 tackles for loss, along with two interceptions. Majerus had one fumble recovery and two sacks to go along with 45.5 tackles and 6.5 tackles for loss.
About Friends University: In head coach Dion Menely's first year, Friends University went 4-7 in the 2017 season, compiling a 2-3 home record and a 2-4 record on the road. The Falcons averaged 377.4 yards per game, with 219.4 yards passing and 158.0 rushing yards per contest. The offense averaged 20.7 points per game, while the defense gave up 23.0 points per game. The Falcon defense held opponents to 300.9 YPG, with 188.4 passing YPG and 112.5 rushing YPG being surrendered.
Friends returns talent for the 2018 season on both offense and defense. Sophomore running back Noah Diaz gained 853 yards rushing last season and scored six touchdowns. Along with Diaz, the offense returns two 800+ yard passers in senior Brennan Whitaker and sophomore Dan Dawdy. On the defensive side, Desean McKinnon comes back for his senior season after a 56-tackle season in 2017.
History: The two teams have faced each other four times before, with each team going 2-2. The last meeting was in the 2017 season, with Doane coming out victorious in a 28-13 game.
Graceland (0-0) at Southwestern
About Graceland University: The Graceland University Yellowjackets went 1-10 during the 2017 season, going 1-5 at home and 0-5 on the road. Marc Kolb comes back for his second season as head coach. The GU offense gained 368.5 YPG in 2017, passing for 302.5 YPG and rushing for 66.0 YPG, while scoring 17.8 points per game. On defense, Graceland surrendered 203.2 yards through the air and 50.4 points per game.
Graceland returns several prominent offensive starters from 2017. Quarterback Preston Compton returns for his senior season after passing for 3319 yards and 19 touchdowns last season. One of his main targets, sophomore Caleb Thomas (1235 yards, 10 touchdowns) also comes back. Defensively, one major returning player is Evaristo Casimiro, a junior defensive lineman who recorded 8 tackles for loss in the 2017 season.
About Southwestern College: Southwestern College went 5-6 in the 2017 football season, going 4-2 at home and 1-4 away from Winfield. Coach Brad Griffin returns for his fourth season at the helm, bringing back 60 letterman and 15 starters. Last season, the Moundbuilders scored 28.3 points per game, while giving up 27.2 points on defense. The offense produced 334.3 yards per game, with 148.9 passing yards and 185.4 rushing yards gained per game. The defense gave up 384.5 yards per game, with 217.1 passing yards and 167.4 rushing yards being surrendered per contest.
The Moundbuilders return two all-KCAC second team honorees in sophomore running back Keyshawn Wyatt (677 yards, six touchdowns, 5.5 yards per carry in 2017) and offensive lineman Yancey Vanosdell. The offensive line also returns three other starters in Marcus Miyatake and Dustin Rivera (both honorable mention All-KCAC) and Mason McDowell. On the defensive side of the ball, Grant Torgerson comes back after a very successful freshman season (88 total tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss), which earned him an honorable mention all-KCAC nod in 2017.
History: This is the first meeting between the Moundbuilders and the Yellowjackets.
Avila, Bethel, Kansas Wesleyan, McPherson, Ottawa, Saint Mary, Sterling and Tabor all have a bye week.