December 2nd, 2021 7:00am
Northwest Missouri State and Nebraska Kearney both went on the road in the second round of the playoffs. Northwest Missouri came away with a hard fought win while Nebraska Kearney’s season came to an end. Let’s take a look at what happened in both of those games.
Round Two Recap
#4 Northwest Missouri 28 #3 Harding 9
Harding controlled the ball and ran for 245 yards against the Bearcats. If you had told me that before the game started, I would have guessed Harding won the game. But the Bearcats forced three turnovers, including fumbles on Harding’s first two drives. The Bearcats won this game on the possessions at the end of the first half and beginning of the second half. Harding led 9-7 with 2:32 left in the first half. Northwest Missouri would go on back to back scoring drives of 11 plays-80 yards and 3 plays-75 yards to build a 21-9 lead. The Bearcats turned a deficit into a two score lead without Harding touching the ball. Northwest Missouri had 155 yards on those two drives but had 255 yards of total offense for the game. Braden Wright sealed the game with a 58 yard touchdown pass to Kaden Davis on 3rd and nine with about four minutes left. While the offense was not pretty, it put up 28 points against one of the best defenses in Division II. The Bearcat defense held Harding’s triple option offense 150 yards under their season average. The Bearcats are going to be hard to beat if the offense can score four touchdowns.
#24 Angelo State 20 #21 Nebraska Kearney 7
Unlike the first game, this score was closer than the game actually was. Angelo State had twice as many yards as Nebraska Kearney and nearly twice the amount of first downs in the game. Angelo State effectively took TJ Davis out of the game and tried to make someone else make a play. It was a great season by the Lopers, they just ran into a better team on the road. I believe we will see Angelo State play in the national semifinals next week. TJ Davis was named one of the eight finalists for the Harlon Hill trophy. I do not believe Davis will win the award over Shepherd’s star quarterback Tyson Bagent but I am glad to see Davis represent the MIAA and Super Region Three as a national finalist.
Last week: 2-0
Season: 51-19 (72.9%)
Regional Final Game
#4 Northwest Missouri (11-1) at #1 Ferris State (11-0)
All-time: Ferris State leads 2-1
Last Meeting in 2019: Ferris state won 25-3
Pass Yards Allowed
Rush Yards Allowed
Ferris State 20 Northwest Missouri 17
Farmers Bank & Trust Live United Bowl: Texarkana, Arkansas
Emporia State (6-5) vs Southeastern Oklahoma (8-3)
All-time: First ever meeting.
Pass Yards Allowed
Rush Yards Allowed
I had a hard time figuring out Emporia State in 2021. The Hornets played in seven one-score games this year, going 3-4 in those games. The same team that upset, and dominated, a playoff team in Washburn lost to a four win Central Missouri team the following week. Emporia State had multiple games this year end on an onside kick. The Hornets are led by a fantastic passing game, sophomore quarterback Braden Gleason had a stellar year. Gleason completed 66% of his passes for 3084 yards, 27 touchdowns and eight interceptions. Emporia State’s short passing game is an extension of their running game. Five different Hornet receivers have between 300 and 400 yards receiving this year. Junior Dalton Cowan was Gleason’s favorite target, but he has been out of the lineup since the Central Missouri loss in week six. Junior running back Canaan Brooks spearheads the rushing attack with 135 carries for 663 yards and 7 touchdowns. As fun as the Emporia State offense was to watch this year, the defense was hit and miss. The Hornets run defense was solid this year, except the regular season finale at Northwest Missouri where they allowed 347 yards. The Emporia State pass defense was not good in 2021, allowing over 300 yards six times and over 400 yards twice.
In the end, I think Southeastern Oklahoma has overachieved this season. Emporia State has played to the level of their competition and will beat Southeastern Oklahoma in this bowl game.
Emporia State 34 Southeast Oklahoma 30
I went and dove into the 8 teams that are still in the playoffs and looked at their stats. I ranked each team by the major offensive and defensive categories: points, total yards, passing yards, rushing yards, 3rd down conversion percentage, scoring margin and turnover margin.
The Stats Chart.
The breakdown for the teams in Super Region One:
The breakdown for the teams in Super Region Two:
The breakdown for the teams in Super Region Three:
The breakdown for the teams in Super Region Four:
My picks for all of the regional championship games:
Super Region One:
Shepherd over Kutztown
Super Region Two:
Valdosta State over Bowie State
Super Region Three:
Ferris State over Northwest Missouri
Super Region Four:
Angelo State over Colorado Mines