September 6th, 2023 6:20pm
Normally I’d say there’s a lot to unpack from week one of the MIAA season, but in reality, it was just the first week of the season. There were teams that showed a lot of promise and we were reaffirmed that the middle of the conference could go in any order—while there appears to be a clear bottom of the MIAA.
Missouri Southern 0-1 at Washburn 0-1
The Lions leadoff this week’s column after being the biggest surprise last week in their performance against Northwest. Luke Sampson was great in the start, completing 13 of 22 passes for three touchdowns and an interception.
Missouri Southern should be confident going into Thursday night’s matchup with Washburn in Topeka. The Lions should get things going on the ground after struggling against the Bearcats defense last week. The Ichabods only allowed 145 yards passing but that’s mostly because the Gorillas were so successful on the ground.
Little went right for Washburn outside of a great defensive performance in the first half. Kellen Simoncic averaged just seven yards per completion and was intercepted twice. Running back Taylon Peters worked hard Thursday night, carrying the ball 20 times but managing just 60 yards—18 of which came on one run.
But the Washburn defense was great and had held the Gorillas to just 13 points through three quarters. I’d expect the Ichabods to play a little better against the Missouri Southern defense and need to do so because it’ll get harder and harder for the defense to keep you in games as the season progresses.
Pittsburg State 1-0 at Fort Hays State 1-0
The Pittsburg State defense was probably the most impressive defense in week one, but the offense left a lot be desired for three quarters. Chad Dodson Jr. passed for 138 yards as the offense leaned heavily on its run game.
Noah Hernandez and Antwan Squire each finished with over 60 yards rushing and Cleo Chandler Jr. added 56 and a touchdown. The defense was awesome, holding Washburn to 233 yards of offense and was great at all aspects.
The test this week isn’t for the Pittsburg State defense, but the Fort Hays offense. The Tigers steamrolled Northeastern State last week. Jack Dawson passed for 317 yards and five touchdowns on what was a pretty good defense last year.
The Tigers did spread the ball around nicely with four receivers catching at least three passes. Fort Hays was also really good defensively, but this week is different.
Emporia State 1-0 at Northwest Missouri State 1-0
This should be the game of the week around the MIAA with the Bearcats looking slightly less daunting on defense and the Hornets bringing Braden Gleason to Maryville. The Lions did all of their damage through the air last week, and Gleason knows how to throw a football.
Gleason was almost perfect against Lincoln, completing 42 of 49 passes for 442 yards and five touchdowns. But that was Lincoln, and the Emporia State quarterback had one of his worst games of the season against the Bearcats last season when he finished with under 200 yards passing and three interceptions.
Mike Hohensee was…efficient in last year’s game, completing 13 passes for 124 yards. The Bearcats leaned on the running game, rushing 49 times for 217 yards.
The Northwest offense was more than efficient last week with Hohensee throwing for 278 yards and Jay Harris carrying the ball 27 times for 131 yards. Kashan Griffin was also great, hauling in six passes for 111 yards.
Hohensee should have more success throwing the ball this time around, but the game will likely be decided by the Northwest secondary.
Central Oklahoma 1-0 at Central Missouri 1-0
The Mules and Griffons played a game that went about as expected with both teams scoring a lot of points. Bur Central Missouri did all of their scoring not behind Case, but through the arm of Zach Zebrowski.
The redshirt junior from Southern Illinois lit up the Missouri Western secondary for 385 yards and five touchdowns. The Mules also moved the ball on the ground with 41 total rushes for 147 yards.
Central Oklahoma had a few opportunities to put the Lopers away Thursday night but were never quite able to. Central Oklahoma led by 10 at halftime but only scored once in the second half.
The Bronchos ran the ball really well, handing off 53 rimes for 268 yards. Trevon Woolfolk was great for the offense, rushing 12 times for 101 yards and a touchdown. The Mules allowed 4.6 yards per carry to Missouri Western.
It’ll be the second week in a row where both teams feel fairly equal coming into it. The Central Missouri offense will have a much tougher test against the Bronchos defense.
Missouri Western 0-1 at Lincoln 0-1
The Griffons knew that the defense would take some time to get going but boy did they struggle against the Mules. Missouri Western was unable to defend the run or pass but comes into this week with a chance to get right on that side of the ball.
The silver lining for Missouri Western defensively was their ability to get pressure in the backfield. The Griffons finished with three sacks and 15 tackles for loss.
What Missouri Western does at quarterback moving forward will be interesting. Armani Edden was 15-23 for 190 and a touchdown but threw two interceptions. Reagan Jones was six-of-nine for 67 yards with a touchdown and interception.
This should be a comfortable win for Missouri Western and a chance for the defense to figure some things out before a run of Central Oklahoma, Fort Hays, and Emporia State.
Northeastern State 0-1 at Nebraska-Kearney 0-1
The Lopers looked like a team trying to adjust to a new system against a solid defense last week. TJ Davis was good, but the offense couldn’t muster much else against the Bronchos.
Cole Brown and Zorian Stanton each had long touchdown receptions, Brown with a 54-yard touchdown and Stanton with a 26-yard touchdown. Reggie Anderson led the team with four receptions.
While statistically it wasn’t a great day yardage wise, the Nebraska-Kearney defense turned things around in the second half. If the Lopers can look more like the defense we saw in the second half, they have a chance to be better than expected.
Nothing went right for the RiverHawks in a game and season where they need positive things to happen. Northeastern wasn’t good on either side of the ball and a 56-0 loss to open the season could make for a very long season if there’s no improvement.
I believe the RiverHawks will be better this week, but this is still a game that the Lopers should win comfortably.