The 2015 Morningside football team was the highest scoring team in the history of NAIA football.
The 2015 Morningside College football team featured the highest scoring offensive attack in the history of NAIA football. The Mustangs broke two NAIA national records during the 2015 campaign one year following a banner 2014 season where they broke 12 existing NAAI national records. Morningside scored 825 points in its 14 games to shatter the previous NAIA national scoring record of 775 points by the University of Sioux Falls in a 15-game 2009 season. The Mustangs smashed their own previous school scoring record of 721 points by last year’s team.
Morningside averaged 58.9 points per game this season to break its own NAIA national record of 55.5 points per game set by last year’s team.
The Mustangs broke 19 school records and tied three others this past season. The Mustangs, who were ranked No. 1 in the nation for much of the season, finished with a 12-2 record for their 12th consecutive winning season, won a fifth consecutive Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC) championship with a perfect 9-0 record in league play, and made a 12th consecutive post-season appearance in the NAIA Championship Series, where their season ended in the semifinals with a 30-27 loss against Southern Oregon University.
The Mustangs are one of the nation’s most successful football teams since the start of the 2004 season with a record of 124-25 for an .832 winning percentage. Morningside has advanced to at least the semifinals of the NAIA Championship Series each of the last four years, including an appearance in the 2012 Russell Athletics-NAIA Football National Championship Game, and has advanced past the opening round 10 times in the last 12 years.
2015 Morningside Scoreboard (12-2 Record)
Morningside 77, Sterling 17
Morningside 86, Nebraska Wesleyan 10
Morningside 49, Dordt 0
Wisconsin-Whitewater 33, Morningside 30
Morningside 27, Northwestern 7
Morningside 69, Hastings 10
Morningside 76, Dakota Wesleyan 20
Morningside 79, Briar Cliff 7
Morningside 44, Concordia 21
Morningside 80, Midland 10
Morningside 55, Doane 7
NAIA Championship Series
Morningside 75, Saint Xavier 69 4 OT
Morningside 51, Tabor 6
Southern Oregon 30, Morningside 27
Record Breaking Performances
Morningside’s prolific offensive attack produced school-record totals of 112 touchdowns and 101 PATs to break the Mustangs’ former single-season records of 103 touchdowns and 83 PATs set by last year’s team. The Mustangs had 51 touchdown passes to tie a school record previously set in 2012.
Morningside broke school records for pass completions and pass attempts in a game when it completed 39 of 61 pass attempts in a 75-69 victory against Saint Xavier University in the first round of the NAIA Championship Series to break its former single-game standards of 34 completions against Carroll College in 2007 and 59 attempts against the University of South Dakota in 1968.
Kasdorf Rewrites Morningside Record Book
Ryan Kasdorf, a 6-1, 215 lb. senior quarterback from Newhall, Calif., broke eight school records and tied another on his way to the 2015 Rawlings-NAIA National Football Player of the Year and GPAC Offensive Player of the Year awards.
Kasdorf, who led the NAIA in pass efficiency for the third year in a row with a rating of 191.1, amassed a school-record 581 yards total offense to lead the Mustangs to a 75-69 victory against Saint Xavier in the first round of the NAIA Championship Series to shatter the former Morningside record of 510 yards total offense by Craig Fobbe against Evangel University in the 2005 NAIA Championship Series Quarterfinals. Kasdorf also set new Morningside records in the Saint Xavier game with 39 pass completions and 61 pass attempts to break the former Morningside records of 34 completions by Ian Gilworth against Carroll in the 2007 NAIA Quarterfinals and 59 attempts by Don Zeleznak against South Dakota in 1968. Kasdorf threw seven touchdown passes in Mustang victories against Dakota Wesleyan University and Doane College to tie the Mustangs’ record for TD passes in a game set by Gilworth against Hastings College and Baker University in 2008.
Kasdorf finished the 2015 season with 242 completions in 374 pass attempts (64.7 percent) for 3953 yards with 45 touchdowns and only four interceptions. Kasdorf was the NAIA national leader with 3953 yards passing and 4359 yards total offense and his 3953 yards passing was the second highest total in Morningside history.
Kasdorf passed for 10,932 yards and a school-record 121 touchdowns during his three-year Morningside career to break the former Mustang standard of 89 career touchdown passes by Fobbe from 2002-05, while his 10,932 career yards passing is the second highest total in the Mustang record book. Kasdorf completed 688 of 1019 pass attempts for 67.5 percent during his career to break the former Morningside completion rate record of 66.4 percent by Gilworth over the 2007 and 2008 seasons. Kasdorf, the only quarterback in Morningside history to rush for 1000 yards, ran for 1315 yards during his career to on his way to a school-record 12,247 yards total offense. Kasdorf also set new Morningside career records with averages of 9.3 yards total offense per play and 331.0 yards total offense per game. He broke the former Morningside career records of 11,693 yards total offense by Fobbe, 7.9 yards total offense per play by Gilworth, and 282.1 yards total offense per game by Gilworth.
Niles Breaks Punt Return Record
Connor Niles, a 5-11, 185 lb. sophomore wide receiver from Sioux City, set a school record for punt return average in a game when he returned two punts for 77 yards, including a 67-yard touchdown return, for an average of 38.5 yards per return in the Mustangs’ 80-10 victory against Midland University to break the former record of 37.0 yards per return by Beau Kildow against Briar Cliff University in 2007.
Niles finished the season with 12 punt returns for 214 yards and two touchdowns for an average of 17.8 yards per return and with six kickoff returns for 176 yards and a touchdown for an average of 29.3 yards per return.
Aside from his kick return exploits, Niles was one of the most productive pass receivers in the nation with 83 receptions for 1538 yards and 17 touchdowns for an average of 18.5 yards per catch. Niles was the NAIA national leader with 2027 all-purpose yards. Niles’ 1538 pass receiving yards is the second highest single-season total in Morningside history and his 83 receptions rank fourth among the Mustangs’ all-time single-season bests.
Niles already ranks seventh in Morningside history with 2197 career pass reception yards and 15th with 114 career receptions.
Solsma Breaks Record In Lone Start
Trent Solsma, a 6-0, 215 lb. freshman quarterback from Dakota Dunes, S.D., completed 50 of 65 pass attempts (76.9 percent) for 938 yards and six touchdowns as the Mustangs’ backup quarterback. Solsma started one game and broke a school record while directing the Mustangs to an 80-10 victory against Midland. Solsma completed 15 of 15 pass attempts for 352 yards and three touchdowns to break the Mustangs’ former single game record for pass completion percentage of 95.5 percent by Tim Richard, who completed 21 of 22 attempts against Doane during the 2009 season.
National Scoring Leader
Tyler Kavan, a 5-11, 205 lb. junior running back from Weston, Neb., was the 2015 NAIA national scoring leader with 33 touchdowns and 198 points.
Kavan was the Mustangs’ leading rusher with 1313 yards and 29 touchdowns in 221 attempts for an average of 5.9 yards per carry. His 1313 yards rushing is the fourth highest single-season total in Morningside history. He also had 22 pass receptions for 333 yards and four touchdowns for an average of 15.1 yards per catch.
Kavan has rushed for 2068 yards and 25 touchdowns during his Morningside career for the fourth highest career rushing yardage total in Morningside history.
Zac Schleuger, a 6-2, 220 lb. senior linebacker from Wesley, Iowa, was the Mustangs’ leading tackler with 53 solos and 62 assists for 115 tackles to top the Mustangs’ tackle chart for the third season in a row. Schleuger, the 2015 GPAC Co-Defensive Player of the Year, had nine tackles behind the line of scrimmage for losses of 29 yards, six pass breakups, four quarterback hurries, three quarterback sacks, and two interceptions he returned for 70 yards and two touchdowns.
Schleuger collected 145 solos and 200 assists for 345 tackles during his career to make him one of only six players in Morningside history to amass over 300 career tackles.
Quarterback Sack Leader
Chase Reis, a 6-1, 245 lb. freshman defensive lineman from Grand Island, Neb., led the Mustangs with five quarterback sacks to go along with 20 solos and 21 assists for 41 tackles, including 10 stops behind the line of scrimmage for losses of 33 yards, one quarterback hurry, and one interception.
Stofferan Tops 100-Tackle Mark
Ethan Stofferan, a 6-3, 235 lb. senior linebacker from Sibley, Iowa, topped the 100-tackle mark for the first time in his career with 46 solos and 59 assists for 105 tackles. Aside from his 105 tackles, Stofferan led the Mustangs with seven quarterback hurries and was their co-leader with four interceptions. He had 10.5 tackles behind the line of scrimmage for losses of 43 yards, four pass breakups, and three quarterback sacks.
Stofferan, a three-year starter, amassed 103 solos and 130 assists for 233 tackles, including 32.5 tackles for losses of 135 yards, to go along with 12 quarterback sacks, six pass breakups, and five interceptions during his Morningside career.
Leader Of The Secondary
Christian Walker, a 5-11, 175 lb. senior defensive back from Brooklyn, N.Y., led the Mustangs with 11 pass breakups and was their co-leader with four interceptions. Walker also had team-high totals of two blocked kicks and two forced fumbles and was the Mustangs’ sixth leading tackler with 38 solos and 14 assists for 52 tackles.
Aside from his defensive exploits, Walker had a team-high 267 kickoff return yards in 10 returns for an average of 26.7 yards per return.
Morningside School Records In 2015
Pass Completions In A Game – 39, Ryan Kasdorf vs. Saint Xavier, 11-21-15
Touchdown Passes In A Game (Tie) – 7, Ryan Kasdorf vs. Dakota Wesleyan, 10-17-15; Ryan Kasdorf vs. Doane, 11-14-15
Pass Attempts In A Game – 61, Ryan Kasdorf vs. Saint Xavier, 11-21-15
Pass Completion Percentage In A Game – 100% (15-15), Trent Solsma vs. Midland, 11-7-15
Yards Total Offense In A Game – 581, Ryan Kasdorf vs. Saint Xavier, 11-21-15
Punt Return Average In A Game – 38.5, Connor Niles vs. Midland, 11-7-15
Touchdown Passes In A Career – 121, Ryan Kasdorf, 2013-15
Pass Completion Percentage In A Career – 67.5% (688-1019), Ryan Kasdorf, 2013-15
Yards Total Offense In A Career – 12,247, Ryan Kasdorf, 2013-15
Yards Total Offense Per Play In A Career – 9.3, Ryan Kasdorf, 2013-15
Yards Total Offense Per Game In A Career – 331.0, Ryan Kasdorf, 2013-15
Pass Completions In A Game – 39 vs. Saint Xavier, 11-21-15
Pass Attempts In A Game – 61 vs. Saint Xavier, 11-21-15
Pass Completion Percentage In A Game – 100% (18-18) vs. Midland, 11-7-15
Touchdowns In A Game (Tie) – 12 vs. Nebraska Wesleyan, 9-12-15
Touchdown Passes In A Season (Tie) – 51
Points Scored In A Season – 825
Scoring Average In A Season – 58.9
Touchdowns In A Season – 112
PATs In A Season – 101
Punt Return Touchdowns In A Season (Tie) – 2
Morningside NAIA National Records In 2015
Points In A Season – 825
Scoring Average In A Season – 58.9