MIAA Week Six Column

October 4th, 2022 4:00pm

MIAA Week Six Column

As we reach the midpoint of the season I think we know one thing about the MIAA in 2022, the conference is deep with talented teams. But are there any true national championship contenders? I have my doubts but there are a few teams that could win a playoff game and a couple others could win a bowl game. 


Week Five Game Recaps

Northwest Missouri 16 Missouri Western 3
This was the first game I have been able to attend in person this year. The first half was unpleasant to watch. Missouri Western put together two solid drives in the first half but settled for two short field goal attempts, including a missed 32 yarder. On the other side, the injury bug has definitely infected the Northwest Missouri offense. Mike Hohensee was out, Braden Wright played hurt and multiple lineman and skill guys were either out or playing hurt. That is the only reason I can think of for the most conservative play calling that I have seen outside of Iowa Hawkeyes football. The Bearcats had 6 drives in the first half and ran 21 plays for 47 yards (excluding the kneel down). 


Emporia State 42 Washburn 35
If you checked the score after the game was over you would have thought that this was a fun, competitive game. The problem is Emporia State was up 42-14 with 13 minutes left in the game. I give credit to the Ichabods for continuing to fight and making the game come down to an onside kick, but this was a dominant win for Emporia State. Braden Gleason was brutally efficient all day and shredded the Washburn secondary, especially in the 3rd quarter. The Hornets scored a touchdown on all three drives in the third quarter and the first drive of the fourth quarter to extend the lead to 42-14. If Emporia State plays like this the rest of the year, they could absolutely upset Nebraska-Kearney and Northwest Missouri. This team is not out of the playoff race yet. Washburn needs to do something about their defense. The Ichabods have allowed 30+ points three times this year through five games. Washburn has to win out to have any hope of making the playoffs again.


Pittsburg State 38 Missouri Southern 9
Pittsburg State absolutely rolled in this one. Missouri Southern is an improved team this year but the Lions ran into a buzzsaw on Saturday. The Gorillas defense only allowed nine first down with 241 yards of offense at 4.4 yards per play. 


Nebraska-Kearney 38 Fort Hays 20
Nebraska-Kearney’s rushing attack was not its normal dominant self but TJ Davis hit on a couple long passing touchdowns and the Lopers got a big win. Last year Fort Hays upset the Lopers behind a big comeback. Chance Fuller returned for the Tigers but the Lopers defense played quite well. I will keep saying it, but if the Nebraska-Kearney defense can continue this level of play, then the Lopers are a scary football team.


Central Missouri 35 Northeastern State 13
This was a much needed win for Central Missouri. The Mules first four opponents were a combined 12-4 on the year not including their wins over Central Missouri. Shoutout to the Mules defense for allowing 180 yards of total offense in this game. Central Missouri just strangled the life out of Northeastern State. 


Central Oklahoma 45 Lincoln 3
Central Oklahoma did whatever they wanted to do on offense and defense. Shoutout to Jacob Delso, four receptions for 100 yards and two touchdowns for the Bronchos. 


MIAA Week Six Power Rankings

  1. Pittsburg State --

  2. Nebraska-Kearney --

  3. Northwest Missouri --

  4. Emporia State +1

  5. Washburn -1

  6. Central Oklahoma +2

  7. Missouri Western -1

  8. Missouri Southern -1

  9. Fort Hays --

  10. Central Missouri --

  11. Northeastern State --

  12. Lincoln --

  13.  Pittsburg State feels like the best team in the conference with Nebraska-Kearney right behind them.

  14. The Northwest Missouri defense is the best unit in the MIAA, but they have to win one way right now, that is why they are 3.

  15. Emporia State jumps into the top four and I think could be primed to play spoiler for the two teams ahead of them in the rankings. 

  16. Washburn falls to five but they could keep falling if they do not fix that defense.

  17. Central Oklahoma is playing tremendous football right now, they are a sleeper team for the rest of the season.

  18. Missouri Western and Missouri Southern are both talented teams that just quite crack the top half of the conference.

  19. Fort Hays will be better now that Fuller is back under center, but the defense is not the normal Chris Brown defense. 


MIAA Picks

Last Week: 5-1 (83.3%)

Season: 21-9 (70%)


Week Six Game Previews

We have a Thursday night game this week and the two bluebloods going head to head on Saturday. Now that we have five weeks of data, I can start using more stats in the previews. Let’s dive into the matchups.


Northeastern State (1-4) at Central Oklahoma (3-2)
Thursday, 7pm
All-time series: Central Oklahoma leads 51-27-2.
Last Year: Central Oklahoma won 49-9.


Northeastern State

Central Oklahoma

Points Scored

19.0 (10th)

22.0 (9th)

Points Allowed

33.2 (11th)

21.0 (5th)

Total Offense

274.6 (11th)

326.6 (9th)

Total Defense

390.8 (9th)

367.2 (8th)

Pass Yards

152.8 (11th)

183.8 (9th)

Pass Yards Allowed

201.8 (5th)

226.0 (10th)

Rush Yards

121.8 (8th)

142.8 (5th)

Rush Yards Allowed

189.0 (11th)

141.2 (4th)

One week after rivalry week we get the two Oklahoma teams squaring off on a Thursday night. While the Central Oklahoma offense still lacks a lot of firepower, the Bronchos can move the ball against below average teams and put up some points. Northeastern State will struggle offensively against a good Central Oklahoma defense.

Central Oklahoma 41 Northeastern State 10


Game of the Week: #10 Northwest Missouri (4-1) at #6 Pittsburg State (5-0)
Saturday, 2pm
All-time series: Northwest Missouri leads 29-25.
Last Year: Northwest Missouri won 20-19.


Northwest Missouri

Pittsburg State

Points Scored

29.0 (5th)

31.4 (2nd)

Points Allowed

14.4 (1st)

14.8 (2nd)

Total Offense

389.8 (7th)

414.0 (3rd)

Total Defense

257.2 (1st)

265.6 (2nd)

Pass Yards

200.8 (6th)

260.2 (4th)

Pass Yards Allowed

216.2 (8th)

161.4 (1st)

Rush Yards

189.0 (3rd)

153.8 (4th)

Rush Yards Allowed

41.0 (1st)

104.2 (2nd)

This is the big game. The MIAA is at its best when Northwest Missouri and Pittsburg State are battling it out for the conference title. While I do miss this game being played as the Fall Classic at Arrowhead (my favorite place on Earth), I do love that this game is at Carnie Smith Stadium in Pittsburg. It is one of the best gameday atmospheres in all of Division II football, especially when the Gorillas are rolling.
Now to the actual play on the field. A few key areas that I am keeping an eye on that will decide this football game. First, can the Gorillas offensive line give Chad Dodson Jr time to throw? The Gorillas have struggled at times this year with pass blocking and Dodson likes to hold the ball so that he can push it downfield. Elijah Green and Zach Howard are monsters upfront for Northwest Missouri and can wreck a game plan. On the other side of the ball, does Mike Hohensee play? If not, is Braden Wright healthy enough to be effective vs the best defense Northwest Missouri will play in the regular season? If Hohensee is out and Wright is still banged up, the same conservative gameplan that was used last week will not work at Pittsburg State. You cannot give Dodson and the Gorillas offense a dozen possessions to work with, they will hit on a couple big plays and eventually put points on the scoreboard. In the end, I think Pittsburg State is the better football team in 2022. The Bearcats defense keeps the game close but Pittsburg State gets their first win in the series since 2017. 

Pittsburg State 19 Northwest Missouri 13


#14 Nebraska-Kearney (4-1) at Missouri Western (2-3)
Saturday, 4pm
All-time series: Nebraska-Kearney leads 19-12.
Last Year: Nebraska-Kearney won 35-14.



Missouri Western

Points Scored

29.8 (3rd)

23.2 (7th)

Points Allowed

16.2 (3rd)

21.8 (6th)

Total Offense

394.6 (5th)

403.6 (4th)

Total Defense

320.6 (3rd)

348.8 (6th)

Pass Yards

119.8 (12th)

188.4 (7th)

Pass Yards Allowed

215.2 (7th)

205.2 (6th)

Rush Yards

274.8 (1st)

215.2 (2nd)

Rush Yards Allowed

105.4 (3rd)

143.6 (5th)

The top two rushing attacks in the MIAA will face off in St. Joseph this Saturday. Missouri Western is a much better team than their 2-3 record would indicate. Cooper Burton and Traveon James are as dynamic of a wide receiver duo that you will find in the MIAA. The Griffons also have speed to burn on defense and that speed will be tested by TJ Davis and the stable of running backs on Nebraska-Kearney. In the end, the Lopers are playing fantastic football and will take care of business on the road.

Nebraska-Kearney 31 Missouri Western 20


Washburn (3-2) at Fort Hays (1-4)
Saturday, 7pm
All-time series: Washburn leads 45-27-3.
Last Year: Washburn won 23-20 OT.



Fort Hays

Points Scored

34.2 (1st)

26.6 (6th)

Points Allowed

25.8 (8th)

29.0 (10th)

Total Offense

441.2 (1st)

392.2 (6th)

Total Defense

412.2 (11th)

353.0 (7th)

Pass Yards

301.8 (2nd)

273.6 (3rd)

Pass Yards Allowed

236.8 (11th)

166.0 (3rd)

Rush Yards

139.4 (7th)

118.6 (9th)

Rush Yards Allowed

175.4 (8th)

187.0 (9th)

I love the Washburn offense. Kellen Simoncic can sling it around the gridiron to talented guys like James Letcher Jr, Peter Afful and Collin Wilson. The problem is that the Ichabods defense has been carved up like a holiday ham so far this year. The Fort Hays offense should be back to normal with Chance Fuller fully back from his injury. If you like offense, Hays will be the place to be this Saturday. As much as I do not trust the Washburn defense, the Ichabods get the ball last and win the game.

Washburn 38 Fort Hays 34


Central Missouri (1-4) at Emporia State (3-2)
Saturday, 1pm
All-time series: Central Missouri leads 42-20-4.
Last Year: Central Missouri won 45-38.


Central Missouri

Emporia State

Points Scored

18.0 (11th)

29.2 (4th)

Points Allowed

27.2 (9th)

19.8 (4th)

Total Offense

325.8 (10th)

426.2 (2nd)

Total Defense

396.0 (10th)

346.8 (4th)

Pass Yards

209.4 (5th)

307.8 (1st)

Pass Yards Allowed

225.2 (9th)

197. (4th)

Rush Yards

116.4 (11th)

118.4 (10th)

Rush Yards Allowed

170.8 (7th)

149.2 (6th)

Emporia State passes the eye test and the stats back up the Hornets as well. Braden Gleason is an accurate passer and distributes the ball well. The Hornets defense has been quite good as well. Emporia State nearly upset Pittsburg State two weeks ago and utterly dominated a ranked Washburn team last week. Central Missouri is in the middle of a rebuild and while they have been competitive, I do not believe the Mules have the horses to pull off this upset.

Emporia State 31 Central Missouri 17


Lincoln (0-5) at Missouri Southern (3-2)
Saturday, 2pm
All-time series: Missouri Southern leads 10-2.
Last Year: Missouri Southern won 52-32.



Missouri Southern

Points Scored

10.0 (12th)

22.2 (8th)

Points Allowed

47.4 (12th)

24.0 (7th)

Total Offense

229.2 (12th)

328.8 (8th)

Total Defense

540.2 (12th)

348.2 (5th)

Pass Yards

164.4 (10th)

184.4 (8th)

Pass Yards Allowed

332.8 (12th)

163.0 (2nd)

Rush Yards

64.8 (12th)

144.4 (5th)

Rush Yards Allowed

207.4 (12th)

185.2 (9th)

Missouri Southern is coming off a blowout loss to their rivals and will be out for blood. The Lions will take care of business and pick up win number four of the season. At some point, we will need to have a serious conversation about Lincoln and if the Blue Tigers should remain in the MIAA. If Lincoln is not going to make the financial effort to field a competitive football team, why should they remain in the MIAA and force the conference to continue with the silo scheduling. If the MIAA wants to prove they are one of the best football conferences in Division II, they should have to prove it in non-conference games.

Missouri Southern 40 Lincoln 13