September 24th, 2023 5:30am
Headlines, news and notes from week four.
By Chuck Bitner, national columnist
In the lone match up of Top 25 teams, No. 11 Harding outlasted No. 23 Henderson State, 27-16. The first half was a defensive battle, with Henderson State taking a 9-7 lead to the break. Things picked up in the second half with touchdowns on the first three drives of the half. Holding a slim four point lead early in the fourth quarter, Harding put it's demoralizing clock management to work. The Bisons took possession with 12:29 on the game clock, leading 20-16. The offense executed a 13 play, 61 yard drive that extended their lead to 11 points and left Henderson State with just 4:56 to respond. The Bisons rushed for 353 yards and the defense limited Henderson State to 244 total yards. The Bisons also held possession for 39:53.
No. 8 West Florida destroyed rival West Georgia, 49-21. The Argos built a four touchdown lead by halftime and led by as much as 42 before West Georgia added two fourth quarter touchdowns. West Georgia's first drive of the night easily marched into the red zone but a turnover doomed the scoring opportunity and the Wolves would not threaten again until late in the fourth quarter. Peewee Jarrett was efficient for the Argos, completing 20 of 27 passes for 298 yards and three TD. Jon Jiles finished his night with eight catches for 175 yards and two scores. The Argos win marked the first time in the short history of this rivalry that the home team won the contest.
Unranked Kutztown took down No. 14 Shepherd on their home field by a final of 20-3. The Golden Bears defense held Shepherd to just 194 total yards and 8 first downs. For their part, Shepherd's defense also played courageously. The Rams' offense turned the ball over four times in the first half but Kutztown could produce just six points from those opportunities. Early in the fourth quarter, Shepherd got what appeared to be the break they needed to get back in the game. A muffed punt gave Shepherd the ball at the Kutztown 26 yard line, trailing 13-3. Following the theme of the day, the Rams fumbled the ball back to the Kutztown. The Golden Bears then executed the best drive of the day, moving 93 yards for the game-clinching touchdown and consuming 9:50 of the fourth quarter clock. If I can be self-serving for just a moment, here is a link to my photo album from the game.
No. 17 Indianapolis travelled to Saginaw Valley State for the second year in a row. The result was quite different this time around. A year ago, UIndy turned the ball over four times on their way to a 38-14 defeat. On Saturday, the Greyhounds used a big second quarter to build a 28-3 lead by halftime and cruised to a 35-10 win. Saginaw Valley would not find the end zone until the final minute of the game. The Cardinals were unable to get the running game going against a stiff UIndy defense. Saginaw rushed for just 77 yards on the day.
No. 2 Colorado Mines was never threatened in a dominant 55-14 win at rival CSU-Pueblo. The Orediggers built a 24-7 lead by halftime and sealed the deal with a 21 point fourth quarter. Mines posted 563 total yards with Harlon Hill winner John Matocha passing for 328 yards and 3 TD. Max McLeod and Flynn Shiele both went over 100 yards receiving. Defensively, the Orediggers were able to limit the Thunderwolves to just 94 passing yards. The victory is the fifth straight win for Mines in this series.
Staying in the state of Colorado, it appeared that Colorado Mesa was about to pull off a fantastic win over Black Hills to move to 2-0 in the RMAC. In a game that was separated by just a few points all day, the Mavericks converted a 36 field goal with just 0:38 seconds remaining to take a one point lead. Black Hills was able to get off six snaps in the remaining time and it was enough to move the ball to the Mesa 33 yard line with just a few ticks left. Coleman Chapman delivered the win for Black Hills with a 50 yard field goal as time ran out. It was his fourth FG of the day.
The Lone Star conference delivered late evening drama with a pair of overtime games. Midwestern State scored 10 points in the final 1:30 to defeat previously unbeaten Eastern New Mexico, 34-31. Ritse Vaes hit a 54-yard field goal with one second on the clock to break a tie and give the Mustangs their first LSC win of the year...further to south, UT Permian Basin took the OT win over West Texas A&M, 41-40. UTPB trailed 24-10 at the end of the third, but then things went crazy. From late in the third through the end of overtime, this game had 11 consecutive possessions that resulted in points. UTPB added seven points in the first OT. West Texas matched the touchdown but opted to go for two points and the win. The Falcons' defense stopped it to earn the victory.
Tiffin moved to 4-0 with a 55-30 win at home over Ashland. The Dragons' offense, which has been one of the most impressive in the nation, scored two touchdowns in every quarter of the game. They deployed a balanced attack with 280 passing yards and 252 rushing yards. Ronald Blackman rushed for 144 yards on just 11 carries. There is still a lot of football to played, but Tiffin is serving notice that they are the team to beat in the Great Midwest Conference race.
For the second week in a row, Fayetteville State stole a victory with a field goal in the final seconds. This week, the Broncos knocked off No. 17 Virginia Union with a 27-yarder that broke a 7-7 tie with just 0:06 remaining. Heavy rain and high winds made conditions difficult for the offenses as neither team would go over 200 total yards. Fayetteville State won the game with just 92 yards of total offense.
Fairmont State dealt a second straight loss to Notre Dame with a hard earned 17-14 win. The game was similar to last week's Glenville State victory over Notre Dame. In both games, the victor was shutout in the second half, but managed to make a multi-score first half lead hold up. The Falcons led 17-0 at the break and even though they went scoreless in the second half, they were able to move the ball, take time off the clock and limit opportunities for Notre Dame to come all the way back. Eltyab Bushra had two critical interceptions for Fairmont State. The 3-1 Falcons are having a great season, with their lone loss coming in overtime last week.
No. 21 Angelo State got back into the win column in a major way, blowing out Western New Mexico, 62-9.
Since a one-score loss to a very impressive looking Central Missouri team, Missouri Western has won three in a row. The Griffons beat Fort Hays by three touchdowns on Saturday. A huge opportunity is on the horizon with a Homecoming meeting with Emporia State.
Augustana hasn't been talked about much nationally this year, but the Vikings moved to 4-0 with a win over MSU Moorhead on Saturday. The annual Key to the City rivalry game with Sioux Falls is up next....We could say the same thing about Minnesota Duluth. The Bulldogs also made it to 4-0 on Saturday. They've got meetings with Winona State and Wayne State on deck.
Valdosta State's long road back to the national rankings took another leap forward. The Blazers are quietly 4-0 and 1-0 in the GSC.
Mars Hill held Division II's leading rusher, Barton's Jordan Terrell, to just 47 yards. Mars Hill knocked off previously unbeaten Barton 16-14 to move their record to 3-0.
Millersville continued their impressive early season form with a 23-14 win over West Chester. It was The 'Ville's first win over the Golden Rams since 2002.
You may have never heard about Allen University's football program. They're still fairly new to Division II. The Yellow Jackets are making a name for themselves in the SIAC. Saturday's win over Central State improved their record to 3-0 overall and 2-0 in conference. Allen has played four contests but one of them was a non-countable exhibition against a club team.
Kentucky Wesleyan won for the third straight week, downing Ohio Dominican in a defensive struggle. Suddenly, the Panthers are a threat in the G-MAC.
Northwood earned their first win of the year and first win under head coach Dustin Beurer. The Wood exploded for 68 points in the win over Lake Erie.
That’s all for week four. Remember to watch Inside D2Football for the weekend recap on Sunday night at 8pm, eastern.
Questions, suggestions, comments, complaints? Email me at [email protected] and follow me on Twitter @D2Chuck