November 24th, 2022 6:00pm
What a great weekend for the MIAA. Pittsburg State forced six turnovers and pitched a shutout against the GLVC champion Indianapolis. Pittsburg State returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown and never looked back. The Jungle was rocking last Saturday, I love the direction the football program is heading under Brian Wright.
Down in Arkansas, Northwest Missouri absolutely dominated the GAC champion Ouachita Baptist. The vaunted Tigers running game that was averaging over 300 yards per game was held to 18 yards on 26 attempts. I expected the Bearcats defense to play well, the real story is how crisp and efficient the offense played. The offensive line was opening up holes in the running game and gave Mike Hohensee all day to find open receivers.
All in all, the MIAA showed out in the first round of the Division II Playoffs. It is great to see the conference be able to flex their muscles on our conferences in the region. I said all year that I believed the MIAA was one of the best conferences in Division II but there was no way to prove it in any tangible way before the playoff selections were made.
Super Region 3:
#4 Pittsburg State (12-0) at #5 Ferris State (10-1)
First ever meeting.
This is not the same Ferris State team that rolled through the 2021 playoffs but it is still a great team. The Bulldogs only loss of the year was a one point loss to Grand Valley. Ferris State has played multiple quarterbacks this year but they are all quite capable. I believe Pittsburg State is a year ahead of schedule. The defense is salty and statically the best in the MIAA this year. The offense is explosive but inconsistent and that will be the downfall for the Gorillas in this game. This will be a great learning experience for 2023. Pittsburg State could absolutely win this game, I just cannot pick against Ferris State in Grand Rapids.
Ferris State 28 Pittsburg State 20
#10 Northwest Missouri (10-2) at #1 Grand Valley State (11-0)
Series record: Northwest Missouri leads 52. Last Meeting: Northwest Missouri won 18-7 in the 2018 playoffs.
The two most storied programs in Division II will face off in Allendale this Saturday. This is the eighth meeting between these teams, the last seven have taken place since 2005 and each team has been ranked in each matchup. Grand Valley defeated Northwest Missouri in the 2005 and 2006 national championship games. The Bearcats won the 2007 national semifinal and 2009 national championship games over the Lakers. Since then the Bearcats have gotten the better of the Lakers with wins in the 2013 national semifinal and the 2018 first round. This is the fourth game where both teams came into the game ranked in the top 10 and third time Grand Valley was ranked number one. In general, it does not get any better than this.
My two favorite moments in Northwest Missouri vs Grand Valley series history:
Xavier Omon 98 yard touchdown run to seal the win in the 2007 semifinal game: Xavier Omon - 98 yards TO THE HOUSE
Jake Soy 26 yard touchdown reception on 4th and 4 in the 2009 national championship game to put the Bearcats up 10 points with 10 minutes to go. Play at the 2:10:05 mark: Northwest Missouri State vs Grand Valley State 2009 Division II Football Championship
In the newest edition to this historic series, defense rules. The Bearcats under
Rich Wright continues to have one of the best defenses in Division II including the top ranked rushing defense. But as you can see in the graphic above, Grand Valley leads Northwest Missouri in every major defensive category except rush defense and sacks. The Grand Valley defense is the best unit the Bearcats have faced all year. The next best defense the Bearcats have faced was Pittsburg State. As good as the Bearcat offense was last week, this will be the toughest task that unit has faced all year. In the end, the Bearcat defense will keep this close and this game could go either way. I just do not think the Northwest Missouri offense is good enough to win this game. The key number is 20. If the Northwest Missouri offense can get over 20 points, I like their chances to win this ballgame.
Grand Valley State 24 Northwest Missouri 17
Super Region 1:
Ashland is my upset pick of the weekend, but shoutout to IUP quarterback and former Pittsburg State Gorilla Mak Sexton for a great season. In the other game, I refuse to pick against Tyson Bagent and Shepherd in Super Region One games.
Super Region 2:
Give me Benedict in a defensive slugfest over Wingate. West Florida at Delta State is one of the best games of the weekend. Give me Delta State in a shootout.
Super Region 4
I believe Angelo State and Colorado Mines are national championship contenders and I predict them to knock the NSIC out of the playoffs.