No. 1 Valdosta State 41, Shorter 0

VALDOSTA, Ga. -- The defending NCAA Division II national champion Valdosta State Blazers withstood an early challenge by the Shorter Hawks and took control in the second half to claim a 41-0 win Saturday night at Bazemore-Hyder Stadium in the Gulf South Conference opener for both teams.

The Blazers moved to 2-0 with the win. The loss leaves the Hawks with an 0-3 overall record -- the first time Shorter has started the season dropping its first three games.

The Hawks finished the game compiling 312 yards in total offense but hurt themselves by fumbling the ball five times with Valdosta recovering it four times and converting three of them into scores.

Valdosta was held without any points through the first quarter but scored 13 in the second quarter. The Blazers added 21 more points in the third quarter to open up the game.

Cayden Cochran threw for 177 yards and three touchdowns for Valdosta and Austin Scott added 125 rushing yards and two touchdowns.

No. 2 Minnesota State-Mankato 21, No. 7 Minnesota-Duluth 17

DULUTH, Minn. -- It went down to the wire between second-ranked Minnesota State-Mankato and No. 7 Minnesota-Duluth on Saturday evening in Malosky Stadium, but it would be the Mavericks that would hold their ground as they came away with the 21-17 win.

With the win, MSU improves to 3-0 on the season, while UMD falls to 2-1.

In front of the fourth-largest home crowd in Minnesota Duluth's history (5,723), the Mavericks won their third consecutive game behind some solid defense down the stretch, including a crucial redzone stand during the final seconds of the fourth quarter.

A series of runs and a false start pushed the Bulldogs back to the MSU 16-yard line. UMD then threw a pass that appeared to give the Bulldogs the go-ahead touchdown, but a holding penalty negated the touchdown and pushed the Bulldogs back to the MSU 26-yard line. The Mavericks then took over possession after a pair of incomplete passes to close out the game with a 21-17 win.

No. 3 Northwest Misouri State 49, Fort Hays State 14

HAYS, Kan. -- Third-ranked Northwest Missouri State improved to 3-0 overall and 2-0 in MIAA play with a victory against Fort Hays University (0-3, 0-3) on Saturday evening 49-14 at Lewis Field Stadium. The game was the Bearcats’ first road test of the season and early on, Northwest erased any doubts of the outcome, jumping out to 42-7 halftime advantage.

Quarterback Trevor Adams completed 13 of his 15 pass attempts for 165 yards and two touchdowns. Brady Bolles was 6-of-12 for 72 yards and a touchdown. Combined, the duo connected with nine different receivers.

Running back Billy Creason rushed for three first half touchdowns, finishing the night with 26 yards on eight carries. Creason became the first Bearcat since Jordan Simmons to rush for three touchdowns, with Simmon’s feat coming last year against Emporia State on Nov. 3 at Bearcat Stadium. Robert Burton III had a team-high 95 yards on eight carries, including a 61-yard run in the first quarter to set up Creason’s and the Bearcats’ second touchdown of the evening.

Defensively, linebackers Eric Reimer and D.J. Gnader had a team-best six tackles. Despite not forcing an interception, the Bearcats pressure forced three Tiger fumbles. Cody Matthewson and Bryce Enyard each forced and recovered fumbles. Jacob Vollstedt also forced a fumble that was recovered by Zach Maloley late in the second quarter.

The Bearcats finished the evening with 519 total yards and 23 first downs. Northwest was very efficient in the red zone, scoring touchdowns on all five trips inside the Tiger 20-yard line. The Bearcats also held a 31:03 advantage in time of possession to Fort Hays’ 28:57.

No. 4 West Texas A&M 62, Texas A&M-Commerce 28

CANYON, Texas -- Texas A&M-Commerce made 25th-ranked West Texas A&M take notice on the opening play of the game, but the Buffs wore down the Lions in the second half to win 62-28 at Kimbrough Memorial Stadium. The Buffs improve to 3-0 on the year and the Lions fall to 2-1 on the year and 0-1 in Lone Star Conference play.

West Texas A&M outgained A&M-Commerce 590 yards to 331 on the night, thanks in large part to 508 passing yards from quarterback Dustin Vaughan as the Buffs threw the ball 62 times on the night. Vaughan also threw for four touchdowns, each one going to a different receivier.

Both Anthony Johnson and Torrence Allen finished with more than 100 yards receiving, with Johnson going off for a nine-catch, 181-yard night with one touchdown grab.

Curtis Slater and Shane Pennix each had two sacks as the Buffs got to A&M-Commerce quarterbacks Tyrik Rollison and Harrison Stewart seven times.

No. 5 Colorado State-Pueblo 44, Western New Mexico 7

PUEBLO, Colo. -- The Colorado State-Pueblo ThunderWolves defeated the Western New Mexico Mustangs 44-7 in the 2013 CSU-Pueblo home opener.

The ThunderWolves amassed 553 total offensive yards and forced 13 Mustang punts in the victory, which was a school-record third consecutive game of scoring at 40 or more points.

CSU-Pueblo ran a no-huddle offense for most of the game, making it difficult for the Mustang defense to keep up. The up-tempo offense was effective, as proved by Kieran Duncan's 57-yard touchdown on an end-around run that gave the ThunderWolves a 14-0 advantage in the first quarter.

The ThunderWolves dominance was not limited to just offense, however. In the first half, the Mustangs were held to 70 yards on 37 offensive plays, compared to 318 yards on 44 plays for the ThunderWolves.

No. 6 Missouri Western State 31, Nebraska-Kearney 19

KEARNEY, Neb. -- Missouri Western defeated the Nebraska-Kearney 31-19 on Saturday evening to win its second consecutive road game. The Griffons are now 3-0 on the season and 2-0 in the MIAA.

Dalton Krysa opened the game up with a 12-yard touchdown run. The Griffons led 7-0 midway through the first quarter.

Two more touchdowns followed as Missouri Western began to open up the lead. Stephon Weaver scored on a 13-yard pass from Travis Partridge. Weaver's score made it 14-0 right before the first quarter ended.

Partridge plunged into the end zone on the next score from the three-yard line, giving the Griffons a 21-0 lead. UNK came right back and Bronson Marsh scored on a nine-yard carry to cut the Griffon lead to 21-6 after the ensuing point after try was blocked. John Schmiemeier nailed a 33-yard field goal to close the half with a 17-point lead.

Marsh scored two more touchdowns to push the Griffons into the fourth quarter with a slim lead, 24-19. Quarterback Dalton Sealey missed on a two-point conversion that would have cut the lead to three.

But MWSU held the ball for more than four minutes on the following possession. The drive ended as Weaver collected his second score. Weaver caught a five-yard pass to put MWSU ahead 31-19.

Raphael Spencer's 171 yards came on 27 carries for a 6.3 average. Weaver had six receptions for 50 yards and his two touchdown grabs. Dee Tolliver had four catches that tallied 63 yards.

No. 8 Indiana (Pa.) 26, Seton Hill 0

GREENSBURG, Pa. -- Despite five turnovers and just 286 total yards, eighth-ranked Indiana (Pa.) posted a 26-0 win against Seton Hill in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) West opener on Saturday night at Offutt Field.

The IUP defense allowed just 115 total yards to the Griffins, tallying six sacks and 12 tackles for loss. Leading the way was Shane Meisner, who had eight tackles and two sacks. Ali Muhammad also registered two sacks while Marco Pecora added another. Kevin Clarke had a team-high 13 tackles and Eric Williams added eight and snagged an interception.

Seton Hill quarterback Nick Halfhill finished 14-of-25 for just 86 yards through the air and the Griffins rushed for just 29 yards.

Erik Finklea finished with 76 yards on 13 carries while De'Antwan Williams had 50 yards on 16 rushes. Mike Box finished 11-of-22 through the air with 146 yards. Terrill Barnes had three of those catches while Drew Carswell, Sean McVay and Pat Brewer each had two.

The win improves the Crimson Hawks to 3-0 on the year as Seton Hill drops to 0-3. It was the Griffins first PSAC West contest after moving to the conference this past summer.

No. 9 Henderson State 44, Southeastern Oklahoma 35

DURANT, Okla. -- Henderson State survived a scare by Southeastern Oklahoma as the Reddies rallied for a 44-35 win against the Savage Storm on Saturday in Durant, Okla.

Trailing 28-24 at the end of the third quarter, the Reddies scored 20 fourth-quarter points and got some big plays from the defense to rally for the win.

The Reddies, 3-0 on the year and 2-0 in the Great American Conference, cut the deficit to 28-27 on the opening play of the fourth quarter as Charles Gonsalves kicked a 26-yard field.

Henderson State's defense then came up big as Chris King intercepted a Nick Sioson pass and returned it to the Reddie 46. Rodgers threw his only touchdown pass of the game as he hit Darius Davis for a 26-yard score to put Henderson ahead 34-28 with 12:58 to play. With his touchdown reception, Davis tied a Henderson State record for career touchdown receptions collecting his 16th score.

Rodgers ended the night completing 27-of-50 passes for 384 yards, while the Reddies totaled 513 yards of total offense. Davis had a career-high 187 receiving yards on eight receptions, while Ryan McDonald rushed 24 times and compiled 81 yards on the night.

No. 10 Grand Valley State 42, Tiffin 17

ALLENDALE, Mich. -- Tenth-ranked Grand Valley State used five first-half touchdowns to beat Tiffin 42-17 in its GLIAC opener on Saturday  night in front of 10,761 fans at Lubbers Stadium.

The Lakers are now 3-0 on the year and 1-0 in GLIAC play, while Tiffin falls to 0-3 with an 0-2 mark in the conference.

Michael Ratay led the way offensively, rolling up 174 yards and three touchdowns on the ground on only 14 carries (12.4 yards/carry). As a team, GVSU had 291 yards rushing compared to 87 for Tiffin.

Isiah Grimes finished the day 11-for-23 for 266 yards and two touchdowns through the air. Brandan Green was again the leading receiver, catching three passes for 114 yards. Jamie Potts caught two passes for 60 yards, both of which went for touchdowns.

David Talley led the defense with nine tackles and a forced fumble. The defense as a whole sacked Tiffin quarterbacks seven times in game, headlined by Matt Mosley's two sacks and one quarterback hurry. Branden Delk had eight tackles, including one for loss and half a sack to go along with a pass break-up. Tommie Bush, Dylan Heyvaert and Hogan all had a sack on the day, with Hogan also recovering a fumble and hurrying the quarterback once.