CEDAR FALLS, Iowa – The Graphic Edge Bowl announced its match ups on Tuesday afternoon. The annual event, which is entering its 40th anniversary, began in 1978 when Coffeyville (Kan.) defeated Iowa Central, 35-13. This year's event will showcase two games; the Opening Game and the Feature Game.
The Opening Game of this year's The Graphic Edge Bowl will feature Ellsworth Community College (Iowa) against Northland Community and Technical College (Minn.), kicking off at 11:00 a.m.
Ellsworth finished second in the Iowa Community College Athletic Conference standings, receiving the bid for the Opening Game of the 2017 Graphic Edge Bowl. This will be the Panthers' fourth straight appearance in the Graphic Edge Bowl, leaving victorious in each of their last three appearances. Ellsworth finished the 2017 regular season with a record of 3-8 and received the bowl bid as the ICCAC's runner-up.
Northland returns to the Graphic Edge Bowl for the first time since 2002, when they lost to North Dakota State College of Science, 41-22. The Pioneers, ranked No. 20 in the NJCAA, now have an overall record of 9-2 after defeating Mesabi Range Community College last week in the Minnesota College Athletic Conference Championship Game.
The Feature Game includes two top-tier teams from 2017. Both teams were in national title contention until the final week and will face off at 3:00 p.m. following the Opening Game.
No. 3 Iowa Western enters the game after finishing with a record of 10-1 and on a seven game win streak. Despite a great resume and holding the majority, five of nine total first-place votes in the human poll, the Reivers finished at No. 3. A two-point road loss to perennial KJCCC power Butler was the only blemish on what has been a remarkable season by the Reivers. Highlights include two road wins; a 70-21 road win over current No. 7 Independence and 41-14 over current No. 12 and defending national champion Garden City.
This is Iowa Western's third straight appearance in The Graphic Edge Bowl Feature Game. Last year, they fell to Holmes Community College, 28-21.
No. 5 Northwest Mississippi enters the bowl game after a razor thin double-overtime loss to current No. 1 East Mississippi in the MACJC Championship — a high-scoring game that East Mississippi won 67-66 after electing to go for a winner-takes-all two-point conversion. The Rangers have a tremendous resume as well this season, including an impressive 61-38 win over East Mississippi in early October. The Rangers gave then No. 3 Holmes their first loss of the season back on Sept. 28th in an away contest, 33-13. The semi-finals of the MACJC playoffs, Northwest Mississippi handled current No. 13 Hinds, 27-13. The only other loss this season for the Rangers came against No. 11 Itawamba.
Northwest Mississippi comes to The Graphic Edge Bowl as the second MACJC team to make an appearance (Holmes Community College in 2016).
Opening Game | Ellsworth vs. Northland | 11:00 AM
Feature Game | Iowa Western vs. Northwest Mississippi | 3:00 PM
Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for students. Available at the door.
Radio/TV/stream information to be announced.