Morningside established 43 new school records and 12 new NAIA national season standards in a record breaking 2014 football season.
The 2014 season was a record breaking campaign for the Morningside College football team. The Mustangs broke 43 school records, tied five other school marks, and broke 12 existing NAIA national records in the process. The Mustangs, who were ranked No. 1 in the nation for much of the season, finished with an 11-2 record for their 11th consecutive winning season, posted an 8-1 record in the Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC) to win a fourth consecutive conference championship, and made an 11th consecutive post-season appearance in the NAIA Championship Series, where their season ended in the semifinals with a 41-21 loss against Marian University. Click here for a complete list of the Mustangs’ 2014 school and national records.
The Mustangs are one of the nation’s most successful football teams since the start of the 2004 season with a record of 112-23 for an .830 winning percentage. Morningside has advanced to at least the quarterfinals of the NAIA Championship Series nine times in the last 11 years and to at least the semifinals each of the last three years.
2014 Morningside Scoreboard (11-2 Record)
Morningside 56, Valley City State 14
Morningside 83, Nebraska Wesleyan 19
Morningside 72, Dordt 2
Morningside 68, Midland 28
Morningside 76, Hastings 14
Morningside 50, Dakota Wesleyan 7
Morningside 63, Briar Cliff 0
Morningside 44, Concordia 21
Morningside 42, Northwestern 24
Doane 49, Morningside 48
NAIA Championship Series
Morningside 42, Ottawa 21
Morningside 56, Missouri Valley 28
Marian 41, Morningside 21
Morningside had one of the most prolific offensive attacks in the history of the NAIA during the 2014 season. The Mustangs were the highest scoring team in NAIA history with an average of 55.5 points per game to break the former NAIA national record of 54.7 points per game by Florida A&M in 1961. Morningside averaged 662.2 yards total offense per game to break the former NAIA single-season standard of 642.0 yards per game by Southern Oregon in 2012. The Mustangs also set new NAIA national single-season records with 4613 yards rushing and 8609 yards total offense to top the former marks of 4476 yards rushing by William Penn in 2010 and 8175 yards total offense by Georgetown in 1999.
Morningside’s top scoring performance came in an 83-19 victory at Nebraska Wesleyan on Sept. 13, but the Mustangs’ most impressive offensive display came in a 76-14 win at Hastings on Oct. 11 when they amassed 916 yards total offense to break the former NAIA national record of 914 yards by Lenoir-Rhyne against Davidson in 1975.
Wegher Rewrites Morningside Record Book
Brandon Wegher, a 5-11, 210 lb. senior running back from Dakota Dunes, S.D., was the Mustangs’ most prominent individual record breaker. Wegher broke 13 school records and tied another. Seven of the record breaking performances were also records at the national level.
Wegher rushed for 2610 yards and 39 touchdowns in 327 attempts for an average of 8.0 yards per carry to break the former NAIA national record of 2504 yards rushing in a season by Dave Perrigo of Northwestern in the 2000 campaign and the former Morningside record of 1624 yards by Jake Peterson in 2009. Wegher’s 39 rushing touchdowns and average of 8.0 yards per carry established new NAIA national records as well and broke the former Morningside records of 19 touchdowns and 7.1 yards per carry by Peterson in 2009. Wegher also set new NAIA single-season scoring records with 43 touchdowns, 260 points, and averages of 20.0 points per game and 3.3 touchdowns per game. Peterson held the former Morningside scoring records of 23 touchdowns and 138 points in a season, both set in 2009.
Wegher rushed for a school-record 327 yards in the Mustangs’ 50-7 win against Dakota Wesleyan on Oct. 18 to break Peterson’s former Morningside single-game record of 284 yards against Dana in 2009. He rushed for over 100 yards in 11 of the Mustangs’ 13 contests, including two 300-yard games and four 200-yard games.
Wegher finished his career as the all-time leading rusher in Morningside history with 3815 yards in his two seasons with the Mustangs to break the former school record of 2877 yards by Dave Bigler from 1969-71. Wegher had 48 rushing touchdowns and 52 total touchdowns to break the former Morningside career records of 30 rushing touchdowns by Peterson (2008-09) and Tyler Childress (2005-08) and 47 total touchdowns by 2014 graduate Kyle Schuck.
Kasdorf Breaks Passing Accuracy Mark
Ryan Kasdorf, a 6-1, 210 lb. senior quarterback from Newhall, Calif., completed 223 of 321 pass attempts for 69.5 percent to break his own Morningside single-season accuracy mark of 68.8 percent he set last season. Kasdorf passed for 3644 yards and 34 touchdowns for the third highest single-season passing yardage total in Morningside history. He was the NAIA national leader in pass efficiency with a rating of 189.2 to lead the nation for the second year in a row.
Kasdorf completed 446 of 645 pass attempts for 69.1 percent over the 2013 and 2014 seasons to break the former Morningside career record of 66.4 percent by Ian Gilworth from 2007-08. His career average of 328.7 yards total offense per game broke Gilworth’s former record of 282.1 yards per game. Kasdorf climbed to second place on Morningside’s all-time passing yardage list with 6979 career yards.
Thomas Breaks Two Punt Return Records
Devin Thomas, a 5-10, 190 lb. senior wide receiver from Council Bluffs, Iowa, averaged 15.3 yards per punt return to break the former Morningside single-season record of 12.6 yards per return by Grant Brecher in the 2000 campaign. Thomas averaged 12.5 yards per punt return over his two-year Morningside career to break the former Mustang career standard of 11.9 yards per return by Beau Kildow from 2006-09.
Aside from his punt return exploits, Thomas was the Mustangs’ leading pass receiver with 67 receptions for 1245 yards and nine touchdowns for an average of 18.6 yards per catch. His 1245 reception yards was the fifth highest single-season total in Morningside history. Thomas finished his career with 117 receptions for 2058 yards to rank eighth on the Mustangs’ all-time pass reception yardage list.
Decker Breaks Two Kicking Records
Zach Decker, a 6-1, 200 lb. sophomore kicker-punter from Beatrice, Neb., converted 80 of 87 PAT attempts to break the former Morningside record of 76 PATs in a season set by C.J. Gradoville in 2008. He finished the season with a streak of 46 consecutive made PATs.
Decker, who averaged 39.5 yards per kick as the Mustangs’ punter, punted for an average of 56.0 yards per punt in the Mustangs’ 72-2 win against Dordt on Sept. 20 to break the former Morningside single-game punting average record of 51.0 yards per punt set by Jordan Sitzmann against Concordia last season.
Schleuger Tops Tackle Chart
Zac Schleuger, a 6-2, 220 lb. junior linebacker from Wesley, Iowa, collected team highs of 46 solos and 68 assists for 114 total tackles to top the Mustangs’ tackle chart for the second year in a row. Schleuger was especially adept at creating havoc in the opponents’ backfield and led the team with 25.5 tackles behind the line of scrimmage for losses of 76 yards to break the former Morningside single-season record of 20.5 tackles for a loss by Marshall Barney in 2011. He was the Mustangs’ co-leader with six quarterback hurries and two blocked kicks and ranked among the team leaders with five quarterback sacks and five pass breakups.
Quarterback Sack Leader
Darrius McMullin, a 6-2, 275 lb. senior defensive lineman from Helena, Ala., led the Mustangs with eight quarterback sacks to help the Mustangs set a new school record with 37 quarterback sacks for the season. Morningside broke its former record of 34 quarterback sacks by its 2012 team. McMullin had three quarterback sacks in the Mustangs’ 42-21 triumph against Ottawa in the first round of the NAIA Championship Series to tie a school record for sacks in a game previously set by E.J. Infanger against Nebraska Wesleyan in 2006.
Xavier Spann, a 6-1, 175 lb. freshman defensive back from Lakeland, Fla., made a major impact on the Mustangs’ defense as a freshman when he led the team with six interceptions and ranked second with seven pass breakups. He had a season’s high two interceptions in a 42-24 victory against Northwestern on Nov. 8 when the Mustangs clinched at least a share of the GPAC championship.
Logan Gibbs, a 6-0, 200 lb. senior linebacker from Maxwell, Iowa, topped the Mustangs’ defense with nine pass breakups and was their co-leader with two forced fumbles. Gibbs was the Mustangs’ third leading tackler with 40 solos and 46 assists for 86 total tackles.
Big Play Defender
Luke Gibbs, a 6-2, 220 lb. sophomore defensive lineman from Maxwell, Iowa, had 13 tackles behind the line of scrimmage for losses that amounted to 77 yards for the second highest single-season total in Morningside history. Gibbs’ 77 yards finished one shy of the Mustangs’ single season record of 78 tackle yards for a loss by Marshall Barney in 2011. Gibbs was the Mustangs’ co-leader with six quarterback hurries, two blocked kicks, and two forced fumbles and finished second on the team with 6.5 quarterback sacks.