Full recaps of the first-round action in Super Regions One and Two, plus a look at how my pre-game predictions turned out and previews and predictions for the second round games, after the jump. For team capsules, see the first round precaps for Super Region Three and Super Region Four.
SUPER REGION THREE:
#6 Wayne State (MI) 48, #3 Saint Cloud State 38
at Husky Stadium, Saint Cloud MN; attendance 837 (blame the snow)
In a heavy snowfall which ended up closing I-94 west of Saint Cloud and necessitated a 50-minute halftime just to clear the field, Wayne State and Saint Cloud still managed to rack up yards and points before the Warriors pulled away on two Toney Davis touchdown runs in the final sixteen minutes. The above link includes a sweet photo gallery showing the game conditions.
Saint Cloud led 21-6 early, but a six-and-a-half minute stretch in the second quarter saw Wayne State take the lead on a 55-yard scamper by Josh Renel and two Davis touchdowns from 36 and 15 yards out. Tyler Aldridge got the Huskies back within three by booting a 23-yarder at the end of the half. Midway through the third, Wayne’s Raleigh Ross snagged his first career interception and ran it back to the house to give the Warriors a ten-point lead. Phillip Klaphake then hit Renard Robinson for their second TD connection of the day with 1:10 to go in the third to bring the Huskies back within three, but only 13 seconds later Davis burst free and scored from 47 yards out to regain the ten-point margin.
The teams traded scores from that point. With just under four minutes to go, Davis scored again to seal the win; with 2:31 to go, Klaphake hit Damon Treat for a 74-yard TD pass to come back within 10, but couldn’t get any closer.
The Warriors only had 27 yards passing, but they didn’t need it. Davis broke a Wayne State school record previously held by current New Orleans Saints RB Joique Bell with 326 yards on the ground, scoring five times. For the Huskies, Klaphake racked up 284 yards in the air with three TDs and 2 INTs. He also led all Saint Cloud rushers with 65 yards, including a 49-yard scamper which set up the Huskies’ third-quarter score.
My pregame prediction: Saint Cloud 27, Wayne State 22. Well, the “good” Wayne showed up, or at least the “awesome” Toney Davis. The snow actually seemed to help both teams offensively; watching the game, there were moments on both sides where ball carriers took advantage of slippy-sliding defenders to rack up extra yards.
6 Wayne State (MI) (9-3) at 2 Nebraska-Kearney (10-1)
Cope Stadium/Foster Field, Kearney NE, 1pm ET
Video available via B2Live. Audio available via WDTK and KRNY. Live Stats available via Nebraska-Kearney.
Series: first meeting.
Nebraska-Kearney 32, Wayne State 28. I expect Mickey Mohner to do a lot more against Kearney than he did against Saint Cloud, but at the same time I don’t envision Toney Davis having a career day against a team allowing only 86 rushing yards per game. Wayne State, on the other hand, is going to be susceptible to Kearney’s rushing attack, and they’re also going to have problems scoring once they get into the red zone. I’ve picked a close game here, but I may still be overvaluing Davis’s performance.
#4 Minnesota-Duluth 30, #5 Saginaw Valley State 24 (OT)
at Malosky Stadium, Duluth MN; attendance 1012
Chase Vogler hit freshman Aaron Roth for a 23-yard gain on the first play of Duluth’s overtime possession, then kept the ball himself to score the winning touchdown as Duluth held off the Cardinals.
The Bulldogs had taken a 17-7 lead into the half, but Saginaw chipped away, eventually claiming a 21-17 lead just after the fourth quarter opened. Duluth answered with a 22-yard scoring run from Zach Hulce, and the teams then battled back and forth until Scott Stanford tied the game for Saginaw with a 21-yard field goal with three seconds to go. Saginaw thought they’d scored on their possession of overtime when Jonathon Jennings hit Nick Gallina for a 10-yard touchdown strike, but the play was called back on a holding penalty. The Cardinals had to settle for another Stanford field goal, setting up Duluth’s winning possession.
For the Bulldogs, Vogler only went 10-16 for 84 yards in the air; the offense was driven by Zach Hulce’s 123 yards and two touchdowns on the ground. Brian Lucas added 67 yards, and Vogler ran for 58 and the game-winning score. Saginaw, held to a mere 34 yards on the ground, had to rely on the pass; Jennings threw for 324 yards and three scores, including a 76-yard connection with Jeff Janis which tied the game at 7-7 early in the second period.
My pregame prediction: Duluth 31, Saginaw 24. Yeah, okay. That was a good call, wasn’t it?
4 Minnesota-Duluth (10-2) at 1 Colorado State-Pueblo (11-0)
Neta & Eddie DeRose ThunderBowl, Pueblo CO, 2pm ET
Video available via B2LiveTV. Audio available via KCSJ. Live Stats available via CSU-Pueblo.
Series: first meeting.
Colorado State-Pueblo 27, Minnesota-Duluth 13. Duluth is a running team, going against one of the nastiest run defenses in all of college football, and against a team with a ridiculously high turnover margin. Vogler’s relatively absent performance against Saginaw isn’t exactly the sort of thing that will make me predict an upset when they’re going to need him to rack up passing yards in order to do so.
SUPER REGION FOUR:
#3 Washburn 52, #6 Abilene Christian 49
at Yager Stadium, Topeka KS; attendance 4410
Abilene Christian stormed back from a 24-point deficit, but came up short when Washburn recovered an onside kick in the final minute.
The teams traded punches for the first 20 minutes. Washburn took a favorable return on the opening kick and drove 60 yards, scoring on a 14-yard Justin Cooper run to take the early 7-0 lead. Abilene responded, with Mitchell Gale hitting Darrell Cantu-Harkless for 41 yards on their first play from scrimmage; three plays later Daryl Richardson scored from 12 yards out to tie the contest. Cooper again scored, this time from 12 out, to cash in on a drive keyed by a 35-yard pass from Dane Simoneau to DeJuan Beard; again ACU answered, driving 80 yards and scoring on a 3-yard keeper by Gale.
The kickoff and a four yard gain on the ground ended the first quarter; on the first play of the second, Simoneau hit Matt Kobbeman for a 67-yard scoring strike to go back up 21-14. Only a minute and nine seconds later, Gale had tied the game up again, connecting with Demarcus Thomas on a 73-yard score. Washburn then chewed up four and a half minutes, the drive stalling at the ACU 18; Jeremy Linn put the Ichabods up 24-21 with a 35-yard field goal. The ensuing possession saw the first stop of the game, as Washburn forced Abilene three-and-out. Two minutes later, Cooper ran in from 9 yards out for his third score of the game, and Washburn was rolling.
Another three-and-out gave Washburn the opportunity to extend the lead, and the Ichabods did so; Sean McPherson scored from four yards out to put Washburn up 38-21. ACU tried to drive, but the half ended with Washburn up 17.
Abilene crept into Washburn territory on the first possession of the third quarter, but Marty Pfannenstiel picked off Gale at the 33 and returned it to midfield. Six plays later, Cooper had his fourth rushing TD of the day, bouncing in from five yards out to give Washburn a 45-21 lead.
It looked like Abilene was doomed when Gale was again picked off, this time by Adebayo Oladapo again at midfield; this time, however, the Wildcats forced Washburn’s first punt of the afternoon. Four plays later, Gale hit Taylor Gabriel for a 71-yard score. After another Washburn punt, Gale connected with Harkless for a 58-yard play that brought Abilene to the Washburn 10; the next play, Gale found Gabriel again. The kick failed, but still, it was suddenly 45-34. ACU forced yet another punt, and the third quarter ended.
Three minutes into the fourth, Gale found Richardson in the flat, and Richardson rolled 34 yards to the end zone. Suddenly, after converting the 2-point try, Abilene had closed to within a field goal. When Washburn again went three-and-out, it looked like momentum was now entirely on Abilene’s side. However, after driving into Ichabod territory, Gale was sacked twice in succession, forcing a punt. With just over four minutes to go, Simoneau reasserted control, hitting Ronnell Garner for a 61-yard score to give Washburn a ten point cushion.
Two minutes later, it seemed as though Washburn had it in the bag; Gale was intercepted by DeJuan Beard at the Washburn 8, and Beard returned the pick to midfield. The Wildcats used their timeouts and forced a three-and-out, however, leaving themselves 1:34. They used 57 seconds, Charcandrick West rumbling in from 27 yards to again bring the game within three. But the onside kick was recovered by Washburn, and one knee to the ground finally ended the craziest game of the day.
For the losing Wildcats, Gale went 29-48 for 506 yards, throwing four TDs but also three picks. Richardson ran for 132 yards and a score, and hauled in 10 catches for 115 yards and another TD, giving him 247 all-purpose yards. Gabriel had 6 catches for 119 and 2 TDs, while Cantu-Harkless joined the two in the 100-yard club with 5-117.
Simoneau masterminded the Washburn attack, going 23-39 for 424 yards and 2 scores, with no INTs. Justin Cooper had 107 yards to go with his four touchdowns. Matt Kobbeman led the Ichabod receiving corps, hauling in six catches for 131 yards. Jahmil Taylor recorded 2.5 sacks.
My pregame prediction: Washburn 44, Abilene Christian 21. Which was one point away from being the actual score of the game before Abilene started their comeback. Strange, really.
3 Washburn (10-2) at 2 Pittsburg State (10-1)
Carnie Smith Stadium/Brandenburg Field, Pittsburg KS, 2pm ET
Video available via B2LiveTV. Audio available via KTPK. Live Stats available via Pittsburg State.
Series: Pittsburg State leads 60-23-1 (last: 43-25 Washburn, at Pittsburg State on 10/5/2011)
Pittsburg State 35, Washburn 32. Yes, Washburn shelled Pittsburg in Pittsburg just a few weeks ago. Since then, they’ve lost to Central Missouri and almost choked away a 24 point lead to an inferior team. Pittsburg’s had an extra week to prepare to deal with Simoneau, and they’re simply a better team. That I have the result within the home-field advantage margin is indicative; I’d be picking Washburn if the game wasn’t in Pittsburg.
#5 Northwest Missouri State 35, #4 Missouri Western 28
at Spratt Stadium, Saint Joseph MO; attendance 8420
Northwest Missouri charged back after allowing Missouri Western to score the first 16 points of the game to advance to the second round.
The game started ominously, as Northwest’s Trevor Adams threw a backward pass which hit the turf and was gathered up by Ben Jackson, who rumbled all the way to the NWMSU one yard line. On the next play, MWSU quarterback Travis Partridge plunged in for the score, and 29 seconds into the game the Griffons led 7-0. Northwest’s next drive was doomed as well; on the sixth play, having penetrated into Griffon territory, Adams was picked off by Cody Kremer. The Bearcat defense held, but Greg Zuerlein nailed a 58-yard field goal to make it 10-0. Adams was again picked off, this time by Shane Simpson on the second play of the ensuing drive; Simpson returned it for a 55-yard score, but Zuerlein’s PAT failed. Still, less than four minutes into the game the Griffons had a 16-0 lead.
It took three plays for the Bearcats to finally get on the board, as Adams hit David Mosley for a 51-yard score. The remainder of the first quarter was all defense.
On the first play of the second quarter, Zuerlein again booted a field goal, this one from 57 yards, to extend MWSU’s lead to 19-7. Northwest’s ensuing drive went nowhere, and a bad snap on the punt attempt resulted in a turnover on downs at their own two yard line. MWSU’s Michael Hill fumbled on the first play, however, and Northwest recovered essentially on their own goal line. Ultimately, this was the key play in the game. The teams continued battling for field position through the second quarter, with the only penetration across midfield coming on MWSU’s final possession of the half, which ended with a 52-yard Zuerlein field goal with under a minute to go in the half. The teams went to the locker room with the Griffons up by 15.
After MWSU was forced three-and-out on the opening drive of the second half, they opted to fake the punt. Reggie Jordan was stopped short, giving the Bearcats the ball on the Griffon 46. Four plays later, James Franklin busted loose for a 35-yard TD run, and Northwest was back within eight. The Griffons responded then with their first true sustained scoring drive of the game, culminating with a 38-yard run by Derek Libby; Northwest immediately replied with a 66-yard trick pass from WR Tyler Shaw to Taylor Pierce to pull back within nine; the kick failed. After forcing a punt, Northwest again went to work; Franklin closed the drive with a 20 yard run, and the third quarter ended with the Bearcats only trailing 29-27.
Western went three-and-out, and Northwest again drove; this time, they reached the nine yard line before hitting a fourth down, and opted to kick for the lead. Todd Adolf’s 26-yard attempt was wide left, however, giving the Griffons the ball at the 20. Then disaster hit. Partridge was sacked, and the ball came loose; DL Matt Longacre scooped it up and scooted the eight yards into the end zone. The Bearcats went for two and got it, and suddenly led the game 35-29. Western was unable to respond offensively, and Northwest killed the clock to seal the win.
Adams was 19-33 for 182, with a TD and two picks; adding in Shaw’s TD pass, Northwest was 20-34 for 248 overall. Franklin ran for 111 yards to go with his two scores, and Adams added 78 yards on the ground himself. Both Mosley and Pierce had 89 receiving yards and a score each. For the Griffons, Partridge only had 93 yards in the air, and no TD passes. Hill had 65 yards rushing. Zuerlein was the hero in the losing effort, hitting field goals from 58, 57, and 52, which for a D-II kicker is just insanity.
My pregame prediction: Northwest 35, Missouri Western 27. Understand, I’m not trying to brag; this is the first time I’ve ever tried to play the score prediction game like this, and I’m really sort of stunned that I did as well as I did this week. I was 6-2, and called two games almost exactly, and I’d be overworking the humility circuits if I didn’t admit that was a good performance on my part. Now, we’ll just have to see how well I did on D-III and NAIA picks…
5 Northwest Missouri State (10-2) at 1 Midwestern State (11-0)
Memorial Stadium, Wichita Falls TX, 1pm ET
Series: 3-0 Northwest Missouri State (last: 2006, 27-0 at Northwest)
No internet video feed. Audio available via Stretch Internet. Live Stats available via StatBroadcast.
Northwest Missouri State 45, Midwestern State 37. Really, it all comes down to this. Statistically, the two teams are almost even overall. Northwest, offensively, is more of a passing team, while Midwestern is a running team. Defensively, Northwest is more balanced while Midwestern is more oriented to stopping the run. There are two keys which lead me to my prediction: Northwest is +9 on turnovers while Midwestern is -1, and Northwest played a much tougher schedule, meaning that the essential equality in the team’s statistical profiles suddenly becomes an edge for Northwest.