No. 1 Valdosta State 36, Fort Valley State 21

MACON, Ga. -– Top-ranked Valdosta State tallied 454 yards of total offense as the Blazers defeated Fort Valley State 36-21 in DII football action at Henderson Stadium Saturday afternoon.

Valdosta State tallied 169 rushing yards and 285 through the air. Cedric O'Neal led the Blazer rushing attack with 94 yards and a score while Willie Downs had three catches for 97 yards and two scores and Regginald Lewis tallied six receptions for 95 yards and a touchdown. Cayden Cochran completed 20-of-32 passes for 285 yards and three touchdowns while rushing for seven yards and another score.

Justin Williams had 10 tackles, including three for loss, to lead VSU defensively while Lance Holder finished with eight tackles and an interception.

No. 2 Minnesota State-Mankato 34, Mary 21

BISMARCK, N.D. -- There may have been several weather delays before and during the game, but even those could not hold back a high-powered Minnesota State-Mankato offense as the Mavericks ran away with a 34-21 victory against Mary Saturday evening.

In total, the Mavericks gained 376 yards, through 58 plays, for an average of 6.5 yards per play. On the ground, MSU netted 127 yards to Mary's 22. In the air, the Mavericks threw for 249 yards, edging out the Marauders 243 passing yards.

The duo of sophomore Connor Thomas and senior John Wolf both notched their first rushing touchdowns of the season as they led the Mavericks with 48 and 47 yards, respectively. Wolf also completed 13-of-20 passes for 249 yards and a touchdown.

Senior Dennis Carter and junior Austin Rieder paced the Maverick receiving corps with 64 and 61 yards, respectively. Junior Keyvan Rudd tallied 53 receiving yards as well.

No. 3 West Texas A&M 48, Western State Colorado 21

GUNNISON, Colo. –- West Texas A&M senior quarterback Dustin Vaughan likes playing Western State Colorado.  Saturday, he went 37 of 57 for a career-high 470 yards and a career-high six touchdowns as the No. 3-ranked Buffaloes won 48-21 in Gunnison, Colo.

Vaughan, a senior from Corpus Christi, Texas, threw a then-career-high five touchdowns last season vs. the Mountaineers in Canyon and had 409 yards. In the two games vs. Western State, Vaughan has thrown 11 touchdowns and 879 yards and gone 58-89 in passing.

Not only did Vaughan impress on Saturday, but senior wide receiver Torrence Allen had a career-high 206 yards receiving on 12 catches and two scores. Junior transfer Anthony Johnson had an impressive debut for the Buffs with three catches for 53 yards and two scores. Sophomore Word Hudson had 62 yards on four receptions.

On the ground, the Buffs were led by sophomore Geremy Alridge with 50 yards on 11 carries, while senior Aaron Harris had 44 yards on seven touches.

With the win, the Buffs snapped a four-game skid in season-openers and improved to 31-9 all-time versus teams from the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference.

As a team, the Buffs tallied 562 yards of total offense and allowed just 267 as they ran 89 plays to just 61 for WSCU. The defense held WSCU to just 18 yards on the ground and 249 through the air, while coming up with four sacks, 10 tackles for loss and recovered three fumbles.

No. 4 Northwest Missouri State 45, No. 22 Saginaw Valley 24

MARYVILLE, Mo. -- The No. 4 Bearcats came away with an impressive 45-24 victory against Saginaw Valley. The Cardinals stopped Northwest in the first possession of the second half. Saginaw then went 74 yards in six plays for a touchdown with a 11:40 left in the third.

Even though the Bearcats still held an 11-point lead, the momentum had clearly shifted to Saginaw. One miscue or poor offensive series and Northwest was looking at a nail biter.

The Bearcats quickly took the suspense out of the game when senior quarterback Trevor Adams tossed a 70-yard touchdown pass to senior Clint Utter.

It took Northwest less than two minutes to regain an 18-point lead. Adams completed 15 of 20 passes for 285 yards and a touchdown. Utter caught four passes for 160 yards.

“I’m very proud of our kids effort,” Northwest head coach Adam Dorrel said.”We put a lot of preparation in this first game and it started in spring practice. I’d also like to thank our strength and conditioning coach. I try to give Joe Quinlin the game ball but he had already left. I thought our kids’ conditioning took over in the second, third and fourth quarters. That is a testament to our kids’ work ethic."

Northwest led 14-10 at the end of the first quarter and was clinging to a 21-17 lead with just under five minutes left in the second quarter.

With 2:32 left in the second quarter, junior running back Robert Burton scored his second touchdown of game on a 13-yard run that gave the Bearcats a 28-17 lead.

And just before the second quarter ended, the biggest play of the half occurred for the Bearcats when senior defensive back Brandon Dixon recovered a fumble and raced 70 yards for a touchdown with 10 seconds before halftime.

UNC Pembroke 25, No. 5 Winston Salem State 21 Highlights

PEMBROKE, N.C. – Fifth-ranked Winston-Salem State scored 21 unanswered points to take a 21-12 advantage with 4:24 left in the third quarter, but UNC Pembroke used a game-changing interception return for touchdown by Mike Lawrence and took the lead for good on a 22-yard field goal by Connor Haskins four minutes later en route to a 25-21 win against the Rams on Thursday evening at Grace P. Johnson Stadium.

The win gave the Braves (1-0) their first win against a top-10 opponent, while also helping the Black & Gold snap a three-game losing streak to get on the board against their region nemesis. The setback ended a 20-game regular season win streak for the Rams (0-1) who had not dropped a regular season outing since a 31-27 loss to Shaw on Oct. 30, 2010.

The game, which attracted a stadium record 7,948 fans, was played in front of a live national television audience on CBS Sports Network as NCAA Division II's "Game of the Week".

"I am so proud of our guys. This is the first step in what we are trying to accomplish," said UNCP head coach Pete Shinnick. "You saw a football team out there tonight that played really well together. Winston-Salem State always seems to have an answer, and they couldn't tonight. That's a great credit to our defense."

Senior Luke Charles finished the outing with a modest 218 yards on 24-of-39 passing, while Elliott Powell finished his night with 75 yards on 16 carries. Jason Perry led the receiving corps with 59 yards on four catches, with senior Te'vell Williams hauling in eight of Charles's passes for 46 yards. Haskins did his part as well, completing the night with a trio of field goals, including a 44-yarder midway through the fourth quarter that provided the game's final points.

But this night belonged to UNCP's stop troops. The Black & Gold held WSSU to just 91 rushing yards on 36 carries, while also recording 11 tackles for loss (-36 yards) and forcing three turnovers. Special teams was also a plus on the night, especially in the first quarter when Rakeem Overby returned a punt 55 yards and newcomer George Whigham followed with a 69-yard kickoff return later in the period.

No. 6 Missouri Western State 26, Central Missouri 23

WARRENSBURG, Mo. -- Central Missouri dropped its season opener 26-23 to sixth-ranked Missouri Western on Thursday. The Griffons scored the game-winning touchdown with just 14 seconds left.

The Mules (0-1, 0-1 MIAA) had rallied to take the lead 23-20 on a 15-yard strike from Hayden Hawk to Cullen Rosine on 4th-and-5 with 4:32 to play in the game.

The Mules struck first taking the opening kickoff 43 yards in 10 plays capped off by a 42-yard field goal from Zach Gebhardt. The big play on the drive took place when Hawk hit Tristan McClelland for 22 yards to the Griffon 31 yard line on third and 10.

After a couple of stalled drives by both teams UCM got the ball back on its own 14 yard line. On the third play of the drive Hawk hit Anthony Kirkwood, who broke a tackle and scampered 73 yards to the endzone for the touchdown. The extra point was no good and the Mules led 9-0.

The Griffons (1-0, 1-0 MIAA) responded on their next drive covering 70 yards in nine plays to get on the board. Raphael Spencer ran it in from 11 yards out to pull MWSU to within a pair at 9-7.

The second half started just like the first half ended with both defenses dictating the game. After a UCM three-and-out the Griffons got the ball back on their own 22. On third and eight Travis Partridge's pass was intercepted by Tevin Teamer, who took it back 30 yards for a UCM touchdown and a 16-7 Mule lead.

Missouri Western answered back with a three-play, 72-yard drive capped by a 55-yard touchdown from Partridge to Stephon Weaver to pull the Griffons within 16-13.

Facing a third down and six to start the fourth quarter, Partridge found Derek Libby for a 56-yard touchdown to give the Griffons their first lead of the night at 20-16.

The Mules put together a 14-play, 53-yard drive to get the lead back. UCM converted three fourth downs on the drive, including the touchdown from Hawk to Rosine.

No. 25 Shepherd 33, No. 7 Shippensburg 0

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. –- Junior quarterback Trae Tinsman completed 14-of-23 passes for 138 yards and two scores, while redshirt-freshman running back Jabre Lolley added 18 carries for 95 yards and a pair of touchdowns to lead No. 25 Shepherd to a 33-0 win against No. 7 Shippensburg in football action in at Ram Stadium on Saturday.

Sophomore running back Allen Cross led all rushers with 26 carries for 106 yards. Blair Brooks had six carries for 34 yards to lead the Red Raiders.

Byrd led the Shepherd receivers with three receptions for 54 yards, while junior wdide receiver William McKenzie had four catches for 22 yards. Trevor Harman had five receptions for 79 yards to lead Shippensburg.

The Shepherd defense limited 2012 Harlon Hill award winner Zach Zulli to a 13-of-27 effort for 140 yards and two interceptions. The Rams also allowed only 32 rushing yards on the day. Shepherd also took advantage of six Shippensburg turnovers.

Freshman linebacker Octavius Thomas recorded a team-high seven tackles (six solo), while sophomore outside linebacker David Gladden added six stops. Mike Goode recorded a game-high 11 tackles for the Red Raiders.

No. 8 Colorado State-Pueblo 41, Northern Colorado 36

GREELEY, Colo. -- In the ThunderWolves' first game against an NCAA Football Championship Subdivision school, the Pack answered the call, parlaying a 28-point second quarter into a halftime lead and eventually a 41-36 victory against the Bears.

Early on, the Pack was the exact opposite of fine, looking like it would get rolled up at the hands of more experienced Bears. Northern Colorado went up 16-0 midway through the second quarter after a few Pack punts and an interception by new Pack quarterback Chris Bonner.

The ThunderWolves, trailing 23-21 with 1:43 remaining, marched 84 yards in 13 plays, capping the drive with a 17-yard touchdown pass to running back Cameron McDondle to take a 28-23 lead into halftime.

The Bears would re-take the lead after a seven-play, 80-yard drive to go up 29-28, but the ThunderWolves would again break Northern Colorado's back with a defensive score as LaRon Tarkington returned an interception 66 yards for a score to put the Pack up 34-29.

The ThunderWolves' fortunes improved even further when it went on a 70-yard scoring drive, capped by a two-yard touchdown plunge by McDondle with 8:13 left in the game to take a 41-29 lead.

After UNC got within a score after a 1:31 touchdown drive, culiminating in a 16-yard rush by Tromaine Dennis, CSU-Pueblo was forced to punt, giving the Bears the ball at their own 39-yard line with 5:04 remaining, setting up an exciting finish.

But after giving the Bears a first-and-10 at the ThunderWolves' 25-yard line, the Pack held, culminating in a sack by Mike Pennel on third down that put UNC in a fourth-and-18 situation on the 33-yard-line. The ensuing incomplete pass sealed the Pack win.

No. 19 Indianapolis 10, No. 9 Ashland 9

INDIANAPOLIS -- A 37-yard field goal with seven minutes left in the first half proved to be the winning score as No. 19 Indianapolis upset No. 9 Ashland in Indianapolis.

Chris Mills gave the Greyhounds a 7-0 lead early in the first quarter, but Ashland ran off 10 consecutive points. But a 10-play, 63-yard drive set up Scott Miller's game-winning kick.

Senior running back Klay Fiechter ran for 109 yards on 31 carries to lead the Indianapolis offense.

Ashland was held to 11 first downs and 256 yards of total offense, compared to 405 total yards for Indianapolis. But three Indianapolis interceptions kept Ashland in the game.

No. 10 Indiana (Pa.) 30, Southern Connecticut State 20

NEW HAVEN, Conn. –- Four different Crimson Hawks scored touchdowns in 10th-ranked IUP's 30-20 defeat of Southern Connecticut State in the 2013 season opener on Saturday afternoon at Jess Dow Field.

Three newcomers, Erik Finklea, Drew Carswell and Israel Green, as well as junior Sean McVay recorded the scores for the Crimson Hawks.

IUP's defense shined, led by preseason All-American Carl Fleming who posted a career-high 15 tackles. Alexander Berdahl, who led the Crimson Hawks in tackles last season, recorded 13.

The run game was effective as IUP managed 204 yards on 36 attempts. De'Antwan Williams surpassed the 100-yard mark, with 135 yards on 18 attempts. Four running backs saw playing time as Finklea, Green and Jay Watkins all had carries. Finklea finished the game with 50 yards on seven carries and a touchdown. Green had 14 yards on three carries and a touchdown.

The Crimson Hawks were stellar in the air, with Terrill Barnes finishing the day with 162 yards on eight catches. Pat Brewer and Carswell both finished with 51 yards and McVay went 22 yards on two receptions and added a touchdown.