November 3rd, 2019 6:00pm
The top four teams in the MIAA are still alive in the playoff hunt. Central Missouri is the only team that controls its destiny for an outright conference title. Northwest Missouri State controls their own destiny when it comes to the playoffs. Missouri Western and Fort Hays State both need help to make the postseason.
This how each of the top four teams end their season:
Central Missouri: Linc, NWMSU
Northwest Missouri: FHSU, UCM
Fort Hays: NWMSU, NSU
Missouri Western: UNK, Linc
(Home games in bold)
This leaves two teams left to win the MIAA in my opinion because Lincoln has a 1% chance of beating Central Missouri this weekend. The Mules can clinch the outright MIAA title with a win and a Northwest Missouri State loss at Fort Hays State. If the Bearcats win in Hays, the MIAA Championship will be decided on November 16th in Maryville.
Easiest path to the playoffs for each team
Central Missouri: The Mules will be playing football after Thanksgiving. The only question for the Mules is if they play a home game.
Northwest Missouri: Beat Fort Hays State and the Bearcats will make the playoffs. I still believe the Bearcats would make the playoffs with a loss to Fort Hays State and a win over Central Missouri, but it is not a sure thing.
Fort Hays State: Win out and Missouri Western loses one game.
Missouri Western: Win out and Northwest Missouri loses to Fort Hays and Central Missouri.
#13 Central Missouri 47 Nebraska-Kearney 40
This game had it all. A 10-point lead with five minutes to go, a 50 yard touchdown on fourth and seven, a game-winning field goal blocked and a 63 yard game winning touchdown in the final seconds of the game.
I will start with Nebraska-Kearney. The growth of this team this year has been a joy to watch. From losing to Central Missouri and Pittsburg State early in the year to upsetting Northwest Missouri State and nearly upsetting Central Missouri, the Lopers have shown they can hang with the big dogs in the MIAA. The Lopers ran for 300 yards against a solid Mules defense, averaging 5.4 yards per carry. But the Nebraska-Kearney passing attack made a few huge plays Saturday as the Lopers averaged nearly 16 yards per attempt and almost 25 yards per completion. The Lopers should have won this game.
Central Missouri had different plans. When you look back at past MIAA Champions, they win games like this. Games where you have no business winning. The first game that came to mind for me was the Northwest Missouri State-Central Missouri game in 2017. The Bearcats had no business winning that game but scored a late touchdown and snatched victory from the jaws of defeat. This is also the type of game that Central Missouri has lost in the past. Brook Bolles threw for 464 yards and five touchdowns, including the two long touchdowns in the fourth quarter to complete the comeback win.
The Mules have unofficially clinched at least a share of the MIAA title, what a great season for Central Missouri.
Central Oklahoma 52 Missouri Southern 27
This was a 24-21 game going into the fourth quarter. Then Central Oklahoma’s last five drives went touchdown, touchdown, touchdown, punt and touchdown. While Missouri Southern’s last five drives went punt, touchdown, punt, fumbled punt return and end of the game. Once again, the Lions lost the turnover battle four to two. Central Oklahoma needed this win though, I have a feeling that the coaching staff in Edmond is feeling the heat right now. A loss to Missouri Southern would have sealed the staff’s fate. The Bronchos can finish over .500 with wins over Northeastern State and Emporia State to end the season.
Missouri Western 35 Pittsburg State 21
Speaking of hot seats, no seat is hotter than Tim Beck’s in Pittsburg, Kansas. Pittsburg State was down 35-7 late in the fourth quarter. The Gorillas have lost four straight games after a 5-0 start to the season. The feeling that I get from the fan base is no longer anger, it’s apathy. If the Gorillas beat Washburn and Missouri Southern to end the year 7-4, Beck and company will get another year. Anything worse and I believe Pittsburg State will have to consider making a major change.
Missouri Western might be the second best team in the MIAA this year. The Griffons should be kicking themselves for losing the home opener to Northwest Missouri. Since that game, the Griffons dominated Fort Hays State on the road, lost an overtime game to Central Missouri, dominated Pittsburg State on the road and won every game they were supposed to win. If the Griffons can get by a solid Nebraska-Kearney team this week, Missouri Western will finish the year 9-2. The Griffons need help if they are going to make the playoffs, but if the Griffons sneak in they will be a tough out for anyone.
Fort Hays State 66 Lincoln 6
Fort Hays State took care of business and blew out Lincoln. Lincoln had 230 yards of offense, but 82 of those yards came on a Hosea Franklin touchdown run late in the fourth quarter. The Tigers got a nice tune up game before returning home to play Northwest Missouri State.
Northwest Missouri State 79 Northeastern State 0
How can I put this nicely? Northeastern State is awful at football. The Bearcats averaged 11.7 yards per carry to a total of 443 yards on the ground. Three different Northwest Missouri running backs averaged over 16 yards per carry. The Bearcats season rides on the next two weeks at Fort Hays State and at home against Central Missouri.
Washburn 37 Emporia State 17
I was dead wrong about this game. I thought Emporia State’s defense would hold Washburn’s offense down and the Hornets would win a defensive slugfest 24-23. Mitch Schurig sliced and diced the Hornets defense as he went 21 of 32 for 276 yards and three touchdowns. The Hornet’s Dalton Cowan could not get the offense going and threw for 91 yards on 13 of 24 passing. Dominate rivalry win for Washburn in a year where the Ichabods have struggled with consistency. For Emporia State, the Hornets will need to find their offense if they want to get to four wins on the year.
MIAA Power Rankings
1. Central Missouri (9-0)
2. Northwest Missouri (8-1)
3. Missouri Western (7-2)
4. Fort Hays (7-2)
5. Nebraska-Kearney (5-4)
6. Pittsburg State (5-4)
7. Central Oklahoma (4-5)
8. Washburn (4-5)
9. Emporia State (2-7)
10. Missouri Southern (2-7)
11. Lincoln (1-8)
12. Northeastern State (0-9)