Sept. 2, 2009

 

By Amy Farnum
NCAA.com

Defending Division II national champion University of Minnesota Duluth may not have been tested in its 56-0 drubbing of Concordia-St. Paul last weekend, but the second-ranked Bulldogs will have a much tougher match-up when they host No. 8 Central Washington in a nationally-televised contest Sept. 3.

Central Washington also opened the season with a shutout last week as the Wildcats downed Mesa State, 10-0, but there’s no doubt that UMD junior running back Isaac Odim will do his best to help the Bulldogs put points on the board. 

The native of Rochester, Minn., scored UMD’s first five touchdowns in the season opener, while racking up a career-best 354 all-purpose yards.  He ran 12 times for 187 yards and two TDs, caught three passes for 75 yards and two scores, and then returned a kickoff 92 yards for a touchdown to start the second half.  He was selected Northern Sun Intercollegiate
Conference Offensive Player of Week for his stellar performance.

Odim’s offensive talents will be up against a CWU defense that allowed just 252 total yards versus Mesa State.  Senior linebacker Buddy Wood tallied 10 tackles with an interception and a fumble recovery in the shutout against the Mavericks, and garnered Great Northwest Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Week for his contributions.

The game will be televised live by CBS College Sports (DISH Network 152, DirecTV 613) at 7 p.m. CDT, and can be accessed via a video stream on NCAA.com.  It will be CWU’s first-ever national television appearance.

NEW ERA:  Newberry College staged one of the biggest upsets during the opening weekend of NCAA Division II football, knocking off No. 12 Valdosta State in a come-from-behind 31-24 victory on Aug. 29 in head coach Todd Knight’s first game at the helm of the program. 

The victory gave Newberry a huge boost in the AFCA Division II Top 25, as the scarlet and gray collected 71 votes to come in 26th this week after not receiving any points in the preseason poll.  Catawba, a fellow member of the South Atlantic Conference, cracked the national rankings at No. 25, while the SAC’s Carson-Newman fell to No. 22 following a loss to Winona State last weekend.

Senior quarterback Brandon Gantt completed 25 of 39 passes for 333 yards and three scores and an interception, while running six times for 35 yards without a sack in Newberry’s upset of the Blazers.  Gantt’s passing yardage total was the ninth best in school history, and he was named South Atlantic Conference Offensive Player of the Week honors for his efforts.

Newberry looks to make a climb up the poll as it travels to Division I FCS foe Austin Peay Sept. 5.

FIRST-TIMERS:  Five schools are debuting football programs in 2009, including two teams in Division II – University of Incarnate Word and University of New Haven.

Incarnate Word started off its’ first-ever season on a high note, defeating Monterrey Tech, 42-39, last weekend.  MT of Mexico’s national league of American football had won 26 straight games entering the contest.  UIW will face its first Division II foe when the Cardinals travel to Arkansas Tech on Sept. 5.

Following a five-year hiatus from the football field the University of New Haven returns to action as a member of the Northeast-10 Conference.  The Chargers will begin the year at Lincoln University (Pa.) Sept. 5. 

QUICK HITS:  Terry Bowden’s first game as a head coach since 1998 started off with a bang as North Alabama scored the first time it touched the football and never looked back in a 41-9 victory over Southern Arkansas.  Junior Charles McClain returned a punt for a touchdown with 12:33 remaining in the first quarter as the native of Oxford, Ala., got the Lions on the board with his second career punt return TD.  McClain was selected Gulf South Conference Special Teams Player of the Week for his stellar effort.  The fourth-ranked Lions open their home schedule by hosting No. 22 Carson-Newman on Sept. 5 in one of four Top 25 match-ups this weekend.  In addition to Minnesota Duluth and Central Washington on Thursday night, Saturday will feature clashes between No. 6 Bloomsburg and No. 17 California (Pa.), and No. 5 Pittsburg State-No. 7 Chadron State … Shaw University senior defensive back Quintez Smith returned three interceptions for touchdowns in the Bears’ 54-30 win over Elizabeth City State University.  Smith collected 194 return yards and nine tackles in the contest, and was named Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association Defensive Back of the Week for his performance … Edinboro senior quarterback Trevor Harris was responsible for 453 yards of total offense and three touchdowns in the Fighting Scots’ 42-30 win over West Liberty State last weekend.  The victory moved the Edinboro six spots up the AFCA Division II Top 25 to No. 15.