In what was a crazy weekend that only can be found during the playoffs, we saw four lower seeds win at the Division II level, a triple OT game at the DIII level and the FCS playoff field finally revealed with one very big surprise and a couple of snubs. Also if you followed my previews and picks for last week you would have seen my sterling record of 7-1 in Division II, and 12-4 in Division II. Overall a 79% winning pick percentage made me look about as efficient as some of the offenses we saw this past weekend.
Divisions II had an absolutely crazy weekend, and first, before I dive into the other games and what happened let me just say, I’m sorry to California (Pa.) fans. I never should have doubted the Vulcans and I’m paying the price today as that pick ruined what could have been a perfect 8-0 record. California didn’t just beat Elizabeth City State they gave them the beat’em down to the tune of 44-0. I’ll admit that one hurt a little bit. Otherwise you had four of the remaining six games decided by 10 points or less.
Here is the quick review of what happened:
California (Pa) over Elizabeth City State University
California just put it on Elizabeth City State as QB Peter Lalich threw for 357 yards and three TD’s all of which went to All-American WR Thomas Mayo. In addition to that Rontez Miles was a beast on Saturday with six tackles, and an INT. The talent disparity was quite clear in this one and we’ll see if the CIAA can get some respect back next week when Cal travels to Winston-Salem.
Kutztown over Concord
Despite Concord’s magical win over West Virginia Wesleyan for the WVIAC title the magic could not continue v. Kutztown. Kutztown RB Robbie Frey went for 157 yards and TD while WR Josh Smith shook loose deep twice for 67 yards and a TD. Alex Dinolfi and the defense were in beast mode as they forced six turnovers. Dinolfi made two picks by himself while the rest of the defense forced four fumbles. Kutztown will hope for the same kind of effort next week v. New Haven.
North Greenville over Albany State
North Greenville went off on Albany State as they rushed for 309 yards for scrimmage, and scored four times. Naturally my man Willy Korn made it look easy going 10 of 15 for 144 yards, and 2 TD’s. We’ll see if North Greenville can extract some revenge next week as they travel to conference foe Mars Hill.
North Alabama over West Alabama
North Alabama’s superior talent won out in this inter-conference game. CB Janoris Jenkins may have had his best game of the year as he returned a punt for a TD and grabbed an INT. In addition to that LB Marcus Dowtin shut down the West Alabama offense with 11 tackles. QB Lee Chapple was throwing darts all over the field as he tossed for 320 yards, and two TD’s. North Alabama will look to upset Delta State next weekend after Delta State beat them in OT just a few weeks ago.
Minnesota-Duluth over Saginaw Valley State
Minnesota-Duluth did what they’ve done all year and established their run game. They were able to crank out 260 total rushing yards and score four times on the ground to take the victory in Super Region 3 and the matchup with CSU-Pueblo next week.
Wayne State over St. Cloud State
The only thing to know about this game is that RB Toney Davis carried the ball 38 times, ran for 326 yards, and scored five TD’s. I don’t care who you are, if you’re able to do that in a game nobody is going to beat you. Wayne State will hope Davis can do it again next week v. Nebraska-Kearney.
Washburn over Abilene Christian
The Washburn defense forced ACU QB Mitchell Gale to throw three INT’s and held All-American DE Aston Whiteside to half a tackle in the big win. QB Dane Simoneau continued to show why he should be the Harlon Hill Trophy winner with a 424 yards, and two TD game. RB Jonathan Cooper added 117 yards and four scores to seal the deal for Washburn and send them to the jungle to play Pittsburgh State.
Northwest Missouri State over Western Missouri
RB James Franklin rumbled for 111 yard and two scores as Northwest got a big win over Missouri Western to advance to the second round and get a game with Midwestern State. Northwest won this game by playing good defense. They forced three turnovers and held QB Travis Partridge to only 77 total yards from scrimmage.
At the Division III level most of the games went as planned except for the big upset of Centre over Hampden-Sydney and the triple OT thriller that saw Monmouth defeat Illinois Wesleyan. This sets up not only a number of intriguing second round matchups but also gets a step closer to seeing some games where either Wisconsin-Whitewater or Mount Union might trip up. I’ll have more on how each team got to the second round in this week’s DIII playoff preview.
Finally yesterday morning the FCS bracket was announced on ESPNU. This was the only bracket announced that was on TV and they did a pretty good job with it. Most of the bracket went as expected however, as always the selection committee loves to make a few surprises. The biggest one of course was seeing 7-4 Eastern Kentucky get in over schools like Illinois State and Bethune-Cookman. EKU was the OVC’s second team in and many are still questioning why they got in.
For those not familiar with the FCS bracket you can see it here. It’s a 20 team field with 12 teams getting a first round bye. This weekend we will only have 4 games as most teams will get a weekend off to get healthy and game plan. The FCS is also the only playoff tournament that will get a game in every round broadcast on TV as the first round matchup between EKU and James Madison will be on ESPNU on Saturday at noon.
The plan this week is to once again preview every small school playoff game even with the holidays. We hope you’ll continue to read Crystal Ball Run and our previews all week long and I want to wish you and your family a Happy Thanksgiving!
Matthew C. Elder will be covering the Division II and Division III Playoffs for Crystal Ball Run all postseason long.
Follow him on Twitter @MatthewCElder.
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