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  • #16
    Greetings Mountaineer fans and RMAC posters! Happy to have a reason to post on the RMAC board again!

    Personally, I'm looking forward to this matchup and am glad we got shifted to SR4 rather than having a rematch with Northwest Missouri. Our regular season meeting was an absolute trainwreck that I didn't want to experience again.

    A little background on the Lopers. This is a team on #TheRise under head coach Josh Lynn. He took over a team that had gone 0-11 and 1-10 in the two years prior to his arrival and has made remarkable progress in short order, going 3-8, 5-6, 7-5 (Mineral Water Bowl win), 2-0 (COVID year) and now 9-2.

    This year's UNK team is led by Colorado native QB TJ Davis, who does a masterful job running the team's modern option offense. He's an extremely shifty runner who is dangerous in the open field. And this year, he's taken big strides as a passer. With teams selling out to stop the run, he's made some big plays in the passing game and is actually the most efficient passer in D2.

    The Loper defense has been streaky this year. They've played well at times, but they've also had games where they simply could not get off the field. This was most apparent in the two losses, where they couldn't stop Fort Hays in the second half or Northwest Missouri the entire game.

    As is usually the case, I expect this game to come down to Davis. If he has a big game, the Lopers will be in good shape. If Western can slow him down and force him into mistakes - especially in the passing game - UNK will be in trouble.

    Here are some links for reference if you want to learn more about how the Lopers stack up.

    UNK Schedule/Results- https://lopers.com/sports/football/schedule

    Team Statistics- https://lopers.com/sports/football/stats/2021-22

    MIAA Stat Comparison- https://themiaa.com/stats.aspx?path=football&year=2021

    Comment


    • #17
      Originally posted by loper legionnaire View Post
      Greetings Mountaineer fans and RMAC posters! Happy to have a reason to post on the RMAC board again!

      Personally, I'm looking forward to this matchup and am glad we got shifted to SR4 rather than having a rematch with Northwest Missouri. Our regular season meeting was an absolute trainwreck that I didn't want to experience again.

      A little background on the Lopers. This is a team on #TheRise under head coach Josh Lynn. He took over a team that had gone 0-11 and 1-10 in the two years prior to his arrival and has made remarkable progress in short order, going 3-8, 5-6, 7-5 (Mineral Water Bowl win), 2-0 (COVID year) and now 9-2.

      This year's UNK team is led by Colorado native QB TJ Davis, who does a masterful job running the team's modern option offense. He's an extremely shifty runner who is dangerous in the open field. And this year, he's taken big strides as a passer. With teams selling out to stop the run, he's made some big plays in the passing game and is actually the most efficient passer in D2.

      The Loper defense has been streaky this year. They've played well at times, but they've also had games where they simply could not get off the field. This was most apparent in the two losses, where they couldn't stop Fort Hays in the second half or Northwest Missouri the entire game.

      As is usually the case, I expect this game to come down to Davis. If he has a big game, the Lopers will be in good shape. If Western can slow him down and force him into mistakes - especially in the passing game - UNK will be in trouble.

      Here are some links for reference if you want to learn more about how the Lopers stack up.

      UNK Schedule/Results- https://lopers.com/sports/football/schedule

      Team Statistics- https://lopers.com/sports/football/stats/2021-22

      MIAA Stat Comparison- https://themiaa.com/stats.aspx?path=football&year=2021
      When the bracket came out I cracked up because I applied to UNK for the spring semester. I've enjoyed watching TJ Davis orchestrate the offense this fall. I had him as one of my D2 fantasy players. He's a blast to watch!

      Comment


      • #18
        Originally posted by AngeloFan View Post

        That is in the D2 bi laws.

        They can even change the seeding within a region to reduce travel costs. They did with Tarelton and Commerce in 2019

        In 2019, the DII football committee changed the seeding process. The changes were in the No. 5-7 seeds, where the committee has the flexibility to move those teams out of region or in-region to a closer destination to cut down on flights. For example, the traditional No. 2 vs. 7 and No. 4 vs. 5 regional matchups could become No. 2 vs. 5 and No. 4 vs. 7 if the travel plans make more sense. For more on those changes, click here for our interview with the committee.
        They could have saved money and flights by keep CWU and Kearney in their regions. Only one flight was needed.

        Comment


        • #19
          Jimmy, great write up. You did UNK and the MIAA right. Impressive work on your end. I have not seen Western Colorado play, but I agree with your assessment. I think UNK gets worn down playing at 7000 feet. They are a good team but lack rotational depth. I think that will catch up to them later in the game. As a Pitt fan, one thing they burned us on several times was the deep ball. It's actually not really a deep ball, it just looks it because the safties start cheating up and stacking the box and get caught looking into the backfield. When that starts to happen about once every 12 plays Davis will shot put one to either his FB or TE who faked getting the handoff or slipped off his block and went up the seam. It can be a mental killer if Western is bottling up the run and then they score 6 on a pass. If you can get a lead and make Davis a passer UNK is toast.

          Bottom line, if Western can play assignment D and keep it close I think they win in the 4th quarter due to elevation. If their ends and safties don't play sound assignment football it could be a long day.

          Do any RMAC teams run an option?

          Comment


          • #20
            Originally posted by Wallst View Post
            Jimmy, great write up. You did UNK and the MIAA right. Impressive work on your end. I have not seen Western Colorado play, but I agree with your assessment. I think UNK gets worn down playing at 7000 feet. They are a good team but lack rotational depth. I think that will catch up to them later in the game. As a Pitt fan, one thing they burned us on several times was the deep ball. It's actually not really a deep ball, it just looks it because the safties start cheating up and stacking the box and get caught looking into the backfield. When that starts to happen about once every 12 plays Davis will shot put one to either his FB or TE who faked getting the handoff or slipped off his block and went up the seam. It can be a mental killer if Western is bottling up the run and then they score 6 on a pass. If you can get a lead and make Davis a passer UNK is toast.

            Bottom line, if Western can play assignment D and keep it close I think they win in the 4th quarter due to elevation. If their ends and safties don't play sound assignment football it could be a long day.

            Do any RMAC teams run an option?
            Pretty much the exact opposite, the RMAC has become much more of a spread offense conference over the years as they mimic what is having success at other levels of football. I wasn't really all that impressed with a single offense in the conference this year, Mines was even rather lackluster which was surprising. UNK will bring something that Western will not have seen at all.

            To really attack and beat the option you need physicality up front to take the fullback away, and then have a lot of lateral speed to stretch the play out. Of course you need to play assignment football but if you're losing your one on one battles assignments matter very little.

            Back in my days of following Air Force the teams that really were able to do these things made their offense look rather silly. I don't see UNK being made to look silly and I don't think the game is close enough in the 4th for the elevation to matter.

            Comment


            • #21
              Originally posted by Wallst View Post
              Jimmy, great write up. You did UNK and the MIAA right. Impressive work on your end. I have not seen Western Colorado play, but I agree with your assessment. I think UNK gets worn down playing at 7000 feet. They are a good team but lack rotational depth. I think that will catch up to them later in the game. As a Pitt fan, one thing they burned us on several times was the deep ball. It's actually not really a deep ball, it just looks it because the safties start cheating up and stacking the box and get caught looking into the backfield. When that starts to happen about once every 12 plays Davis will shot put one to either his FB or TE who faked getting the handoff or slipped off his block and went up the seam. It can be a mental killer if Western is bottling up the run and then they score 6 on a pass. If you can get a lead and make Davis a passer UNK is toast.

              Bottom line, if Western can play assignment D and keep it close I think they win in the 4th quarter due to elevation. If their ends and safties don't play sound assignment football it could be a long day.

              Do any RMAC teams run an option?
              No, but there's a recurring debate over whether someone like A ams State or Fort Lewis could or should throw all their eggs in the option basket, and abandon what they're doing now which is taking a lot of Ls.

              Comment


              • #22
                Originally posted by Wallst View Post
                They are a good team but lack rotational depth.
                I disagree, it may be Bias but I think UNK has one of the deepest backfields in D2. As we run the ball a lot I think that is a huge advantage when all of our RB’s are solid threats

                Comment


                • #23
                  Originally posted by Turbonium View Post

                  Pretty much the exact opposite, the RMAC has become much more of a spread offense conference over the years as they mimic what is having success at other levels of football. I wasn't really all that impressed with a single offense in the conference this year, Mines was even rather lackluster which was surprising. UNK will bring something that Western will not have seen at all.

                  To really attack and beat the option you need physicality up front to take the fullback away, and then have a lot of lateral speed to stretch the play out. Of course you need to play assignment football but if you're losing your one on one battles assignments matter very little.

                  Back in my days of following Air Force the teams that really were able to do these things made their offense look rather silly. I don't see UNK being made to look silly and I don't think the game is close enough in the 4th for the elevation to matter.
                  UNK doesn’t run the traditional option like Army, Navy and Harding. It’s a spread offense that has option principles. Western will have to key on the QB Davis. He makes that offense special. UNK has won upfront in every game this year outside of the Northwest Missouri game.

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    Originally posted by Devin Albertson View Post

                    UNK doesn’t run the traditional option like Army, Navy and Harding. It’s a spread offense that has option principles. Western will have to key on the QB Davis. He makes that offense special. UNK has won upfront in every game this year outside of the Northwest Missouri game.
                    Gotcha, appreciate the info, looking forward to watching them play. I can't imagine Western is as good or better than the majority of MIAA teams upfront, they might be able to use this success to get there going forward but don't see it yet.

                    Widefield has produced some really solid players.

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      The Lopers got some work in on a grass field today in preparation for the game.

                      https://twitter.com/UNKearney/status...VkqRiMRQw&s=19

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        A silver lining of playing UNK is that if the Lopers have success, hopefully RMAC schools adopt spread option packages.

                        Comment


                        • #27
                          Originally posted by mountaineermagic View Post
                          A silver lining of playing UNK is that if the Lopers have success, hopefully RMAC schools adopt spread option packages.
                          Maybe. It would be better if they all just found financial support to get to the scholarship limit.

                          Comment


                          • #28
                            Originally posted by Turbonium View Post

                            Maybe. It would be better if they all just found financial support to get to the scholarship limit.
                            Good call. Increasing scholarships makes a big difference, especially in terms of quality depth. If you look at UNK transitioning from the RMAC to the MIAA, it's no surprise they took their lumps for a while but are now more consistently competitive. It's happened as their scholarship numbers increased. And, sure, Coach Lynn and TJ Davis have made a major difference as well. But the overall number of good players UNK has is higher than it's been in a long time, which has put the program in a good spot moving forward.

                            Loper Football Scholarship History
                            2020 (34.00)
                            2019 (33.00)
                            2018 (33.00)
                            2017 (32.16)
                            2016 (29.60)
                            2015 (25.72)
                            2014 (23.00)
                            2013 (24.26)
                            2012 (20.77)

                            Comment


                            • #29
                              Originally posted by Turbonium View Post

                              Maybe. It would be better if they all just found financial support to get to the scholarship limit.
                              What comes first, financial support or success for a school? For instance Fort Lewis?

                              Comment


                              • #30
                                Originally posted by mountaineermagic View Post

                                What comes first, financial support or success for a school? For instance Fort Lewis?
                                I have no idea what the situation at Fort Lewis is so no idea, there is no blanket answer to your question. Did UNK have success during the above years where their scholarships increased? If my memory serves me correctly that answer is no, not really.

                                If schools won't or can't provide the resources needed to at least field a somewhat competitive team the answer isn't to try and run the option and think things are going to magically improve, it's to drop the program.

                                Comment

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