D-II Spreadsheet: (Excel2003, 306 kb)
A Quick Mea Culpa:
In yesterday’s FCS recap, I said all the unbeatens were in the grid; I completely forgot about 5-0 Alabama A&M, and for that I offer my apologies to the Bulldogs for the oversight.
D-II Games of the Week:
We’re being brief here, because Other Stuff is getting in my way.
Ferris State committed four turnovers on the day, but the truly deadly one was on their own 28 late in the fourth quarter. It led to a 13-yard pass to Tim Hogue from Jonathan Jennings for a Saginaw Valley State score which happened to tie the game at 24. The soul-crushing defeat was sealed for the Bulldogs when freshman QB Jason Vander Laan was sacked on fourth-and-20 in overtime after Saginaw had scored on their possession.
Meanwhile, a team which just refuses to get themselves out of this section week after week finally got here for the wrong reason. Sixth-ranked California (PA) has been living on the edge all season, parlaying three close wins into appearances here in four weeks. It finally came back to bite the Vulcans, who never led against West Chester after a costly turnover on their first possession led to a Rams score. West Chester scored again shortly thereafter, and most of the game then consisted of California scoring to get back within seven, and then West Chester getting the points right back. Late in the third quarter, the Vulcans finally tied the contest at 27, but the Rams came right back to score again, first with a 43-yard Shawn Leo field goal and then Rondell White scored on a one-yard plunge. The Vulcans fought back, scoring on a Trey Johnson touchdown reception from Peter Lalich, and got the ball back a final time with 1:43 to play. Unfortunately, the California miracles had run out; Lalich was picked off, and the Rams iced the clock.
White ran for 200 yards and a score, and added a 21-yard touchdown reception in the first half. West Chester quarterback Mike Mattei had 289 yards and three touchdowns. Clearly, although California’s offense can play with anyone — Lalich had his fourth straight 300-yard passing game, hitting 342 with three scores — they have defensive problems which just aren’t going to cut it come playoff time, and a weak rushing game which prevents the Vulcans from eating clock isn’t helping; they need to get things fixed in a hurry.
The Problem With Emporia:
The Emporia State Hornets are 5-0, and finally snuck into the poll at #25. They’re the last of the 5-0 teams to get into the rankings, though there are still a couple of 4-0 squads that haven’t gotten on the board yet (Bentley, Harding, and Southern Arkansas). There is, however, a reason for this: the five teams Emporia State has beaten have a combined record of 2-23. All five of those teams are facing beatdowns this week as well, so if everything goes to form on Saturday, Emporia State will be 6-0 and their opponents will have an overall record of 3-32. Worse, some of those wins against legitimately bad teams have not been impressive; two weeks ago, they beat Northeastern State 30-20, and last week the only word one can realistically use is “escape” as they only beat Lincoln 37-26.
You can see where this might be a concern.
Next week, the Hornets are going to have to face Lindenwood, who are currently 4-1 and should be expected to win this week. If they survive that, then it’s a road game at Truman State which is winnable, but then the fecal matter strikes the rotaty oscillating device because Emporia finishes against Missouri Western State, at Northwest Missouri State, and at Washburn. It’s certainly possible the Hornets could run the table (and they miss Pittsburg State entirely, which helps), but it’s not at all likely. More likely is a three-game skid to end the season, and it’s entirely possible that 5-0 could turn into 6-4 or even 5-5. It’s a harsh judgment, but it’s the reality of the situation.
Normally, I would just mention these in the Nail-Biters subsection below, but this is just ridiculous. Further, it’s not like a wave of 17-14 games or some other extremely common scoreline; 23-21 isn’t horribly bizarre or anything, but it is a little odd.
However, the fact that four games in Division II ended with that score on Saturday is bizarre. Livingstone won by that score at Virginia Union and Elizabeth City State won at home over Saint Augustine’s; both games were CIAA conference games, making the coincidence even nuttier. Chadron State won at Adams State by the same margin. The fourth 23-21 result was Central State (OH) winning at William Jewell in GLVC play; also in the GLVC, Saint Joseph’s (IN) barely missed making this a quintet because they failed to miss an extra point, beating Quincy 24-21 at home.
I mentioned that Bentley and Southern Arkansas were unbeaten in the above note; the rest of the unbeatens are in the grid below, and yes I am sure this time. Southern Arkansas plays Harding this week, so the number will definitely shrink by at least one from the current seventeen.
On the other side of the coin… eighteen teams remain winless after last week’s action. Benedict, Brevard, Lake Erie, Lincoln (MO), Lock Haven, Minnesota State-Moorhead, Nebraska-Kearney, North Greenville, Northeastern State, Pace, Quincy, Saint Anselm, Seton Hill, and Western State, plus D-II newcomers Azusa Pacific, Northwestern Oklahoma State and Southern Nazarene are all 0-5. Fort Lewis is 0-4. The surprising names on this list are Kearney, North Greenville, Southern Nazarene, and Azusa Pacific. The former two were D-II playoff participants last year; the latter two played in the NAIA playoffs. That they can’t buy a win this season is astonishing.
Lock Haven, of course, has now claimed sole possession of the longest losing streak in D-II history with last week’s loss to Shippensburg. They’re at 47 in a row and counting.
And the “other curiosities” rundown:
at Findlay 43, Notre Dame (OH) 42 (2OT)
at Malone 33, Tiffin 27 (2OT)
at Texas A&M-Commerce 21, Texas A&M-Kingsville 14 (OT)
Edinboro 31, Long Island-C.W. Post 24 (OT)
Winona State 45, at Upper Iowa 42
Albany State 17, Kentucky State 14 (at Chicago)
Glenville State 17, at West Liberty 14
American International 27, Assumption 23
New Mexico Highlands 40, at Colorado Mesa 36
at Wayne State (NE) 31, Augustana (SD) 27
at Clarion 31, East Stroudsburg 24
Done Been Trucked:
Merrimack 63, at Pace 14
at Miles 50, Benedict 7
at Lenoir-Rhyne 52, North Greenville 10
at North Alabama 41, Shorter 0
Defense Is an Optional Package:
at Lincoln (PA) 55, Johnson C. Smith 53
Kutztown 56, at Slippery Rock 49
at Tusculum 49, Brevard 39
Western New Mexico 54, Colorado Mines 28
at Southern Connecticut State 45, Saint Anselm 34
at Lindenwood 49, Nebraska-Kearney 28
No Offense… But No Offense:
Shaw 16, at Virginia State 6
at Bentley 17, Stonehill 7