November 14th, 2019 10:30am
The bottom half of the Super Region Three rankings saw quite a shake up as three of the bottom five teams lost their respective games. Grand Valley, Missouri Western, and Fort Hays State all lost prompting the selection committee to move Northwest Missouri and Henderson State into the final two playoff spots; leaving Grand Valley on the outside looking in. Fort Hays was booted out of the rankings completely and Missouri Western was dropped to 10th, effectively ending the MIAA’s bid to get three teams to the post season. Replacing Fort Hays was the GLVC newcomer Lindenwood, debuting at nine. With Indianapolis firmly cemented in the fifth spot, and Lindenwood needing a win versus Southwest Baptist and some help, the GLVC could be looking at sending two teams to the postseason for the first time in conference history.
SUPER REGION THREE
Northwest Mo. St.
Grand Valley St.
With Lindenwood’s win over Missouri S&T, the Lions earned at least a share of the GLVC title. A win over Southwest Baptist will give them the title outright. Indianapolis’ win over Truman state keeps their hopes of continuing their title streak alive, although they are relying on a Southwest Baptist upset of Lindenwood. McKendree has a chance to cement their 5th consecutive winning season with a win over Missouri S&T, while the Miners look to avoid their 1st losing conference campaign since 2014.
Lindenwood’s OT victory over Missouri S&T keeps them in the top spot, while Indianapolis secured the number two spot after taking care of Truman. McKendree demonstrated that they are indeed much closer to the top half of the league than the bottom with a convincing win over the Hawks.
This late in the season, you won’t seem much change in the IPR from week to week since the scores are based on a cumulative season average. Indianapolis’ offensive performance against a normally stout Truman defense helped them increase their lead on the field, while putting some space between the Lions and Bulldogs.
Three first half blocked punts and a huge second quarter propelled the Bearcats over the Hawks on McKendree’s senior day. Turner Pullen paced a potent Bearcat attack going 15 of 21 for 302 yards and three touchdowns. Two of those completions went to wide receiver Matt Cole as he collected 74 yards and a touchdown. The yardage cemented Cole as the school’s all-time leader in receiving yards. For the Hawks, Andrew Rund continued to be productive going 29 of 50 for 367 yards and four touchdowns.
Easily the most competitive game the weekend was largely controlled by S&T through the first half as they were able to extend to a 10-point lead twice, taking a 24-14 lead into halftime. Lindenwood however, would come roaring back in the second half thanks to big plays from quarterback Cade Brister; only this time he would use his legs instead of his arm. Touchdown scrambles by Brister that went for 21 and 37 yards put the Lions in front early in the fourth quarter. S&T would answer quickly however with a 17-yard connection from Brennan Sims to Breon Michel in the corner of the endzone to tie the game. This would set up one of the most unusual finishes I’ve witnessed this football season. With just over two minutes to go in the game, Lindenwood’s Brett Garner lined up for a 28-yard go ahead field goal. The Miner’s Joe Boettecher was able to break through the line to get a hand on the kick, setting up S&T for a dramatic game winning drive. Everything was going to plan as Simms lead a 49-yard drive that ate up all but two seconds off the clock, setting up Ben Styron for a 40-yard game winning field goal. However, Lindenwood’s Jordan Perry found room off the left edge and was able to stretch out for the block, sending the game to overtime. It would only take one round of OT to determine the game, as Glen Gibbons would spin, fight, and dive into the pylon for a 12-yard touchdown reception. Fittingly, Lindenwood’s special team’s hero Jordan Perry was also responsible for defending Simms’ last pass attempt to Michel to end the game.
For the second week in a row, the Cardinals faced off against a highly ranked team. Unfortunately for them, the outcome wasn’t much different this week. Tarleton outgained Jewell 682 to 159 in total yards, holding the Cardinals to -4 yards rushing for the game. The Texans ended the day with 18 tackles for a loss, including 10 quarterback sacks.
With a potential playoff spot on the line, the Bulldogs rolled into Indianapolis hoping to ride the momentum of a 3-game winning streak, while the Greyhounds looked to collect themselves and rebound after their worst performance of the year. The game seemed destined to be a close one as both teams went back and forth throughout the first half and early into the third quarter. Truman would take a narrow 21-20 lead on a 3-yard Jordan Salima rush for a touchdown. The scoring drive was set up by a 28-yard strike from Jaden Barr to Spencer Newell that put the Bulldogs in the redzone. However, as the Greyhounds often do, they began to wear down their opponent. Indianapolis would go on to score 24 unanswered points and be comfortably in control of the game by the 4th quarter. The Greyhound triple threat ground game of McKellar, Toriano, and Edwards ended the day with 239 yards rushing on 52 carries. Edwards would also slice up the Truman secondary going 18 of 24 for 293 yards and two touchdowns.
The Bearcats made the long trip to the Pacific Northwest for their final nonconference game of the season. Things seemed to start off well for SBU as they jumped out to a 3-0 lead after a Kyle Ghetes 27-yard field goal. Unfortunately, not much else went right as they would end up turning the ball over six times and be outgained 552 to 252. One highlight for the Bearcats was the performance of linebacker Aaron Harris who finished with eight solo tackles, three of them for a loss, and one interception.
While Truman’s playoff hopes ended in Indianapolis last Saturday, their hopes for a postseason bowl game are still very much alive. Whether that type of motivation equates to Urbana’s motivation of a playoff berth in SR1 remains to be seen. I expect that the Bulldogs will get things back on track defensively against an underwhelming Urbana offense. While the Knights defense has proven to be stingy, I like the way Jaden Barr has developed this season and expect him to lead Truman to only their 7th nine-win season in school history.
This has the makings of an offensive shootout with two of the higher producing quarterbacks in the league facing off against the worst and second worst defense in the conference. Neither offense should have a lot of trouble scoring in this game, although I think Quincy will find the endzone more consistently as Andrew Rund has a deeper lineup of weapons around him than Will Schneider.
It seems that one of Southwest Baptist’s priorities over the offseason will be to solidify the quarterback position. With the style of offense that the Bearcats want to run, it’s imperative that they have someone that can spread the ball around the field. It’s been a bit of a carousel this season for the Bearcats, and no one seems to be the answer they’re looking for. While they may find a little room by hitting a big play against Lindenwood, I don’t expect it will be anywhere near enough to keep up with the Lion’s offense.
This is an intriguing matchup and one in which I would have easily picked the Miners 3 weeks ago. The maturation of Turner Pullen and development of some of the weapons not named Matt Cole has me wondering if the Bearcats could pull of the mild upset over the Miners. The Miner’s game this year has been more about attacking the LOS with their deep stable of running backs and allowing Brennan Simms to pick apart the secondary on deep crossing routes. McKendree is more about hitting the big play especially with Cole. While I love what Cole can do, especially in multiple aspects of the game, it’s possible to game-plan one man from hurting you. If this game were in Lebanon, I might pick different. I see the Miners taking a close one.
While you never want to look over any team, especially when you’re in the position that the Greyhounds are in where a loss could possibly knock you from the playoffs, this should be a tune up game for UIndy. Lake Erie’s defensive performance had been respectable the first seven games of their season, but they’ve given up a combined 173 points against tougher competition during their last three games (Tiffin, Findlay, Ohio Dominican). The Greyhounds have the capability of score more than any of them. I expect this one to be over by halftime.