|Top Division II Matchups|
Who: Augustana (S.D.) Vikings at Minnesota State-Mankato Mavericks
Who: No. 5 North Alabama Lions at No. 23 West Alabama Tigers
Who: Saginaw Valley Cardinals at No. 15 Wayne State (Mich.) Warriors
Who: No. 6 Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs at No. 11 St. Cloud State Huskies
Who: No. 25 Colorado Mines Orediggers at Adams State Grizzlies
|Watch Them Now|
81 Vernon Johnson
Key Notes: Freshman Vernon Johnson only had three catches in his first four collegiate games at Midwestern State entering last weekend’s matchup against then-No. 9 Abilene Christian. That all changed quickly. Johnson had his “Welcome to College” moment, tying the longest pass play in college history with a 99-yard touchdown catch. The Mustangs went on to blow away the Wildcats 70-28 to remain undefeated this season. We’ll see if Johnson’s production picks up at Eastern New Mexico this weekend.
Other Players to Watch this Week: Travis Daniels, UNC-Pembroke (Sr., RB); Joe Glendening, Hillsdale (Jr., RB); Clay Garcia, Colorado Mines (Sr., QB); Cody Haffly, Wingate (Sr., QB); Isaiah Voegeli, Merrimack (Jr., WR); Dan Fisher, Bloomsburg (So., K); Devin Haywood, Incarnate Word (So., DB).
|Keep Your Eyes on This|
• It’s the 64th meeting between No. 5 North Alabama and No. 23 West Alabama this Thursday night, but it’s the first time that the two teams are ranked. UNA will be facing former Lion quarterback and Harlon Hill Trophy winner Will Hall for the first time as head coach at West Alabama. Hall quarterbacked the Lions in 2002-03 and led the 2003 squad to a 13-1 record and to the semifinals of the Division II playoffs. Hall led Division II in passing efficiency that season. North Alabama leads the series 47-15-1, including an exciting 24-23 win a year ago after trailing 24-3 in the fourth quarter. The Lions are coming off their bye week, following an excruciating overtime loss to Delta State.
• After its loss against Wayne State (Neb.) earlier this season, No. 6 Minnesota-Duluth has reeled off five wins in a row. But things get tougher this week as the Bulldogs travel to No. 11 St. Cloud State. Points will be tough to come by as both teams are in the top seven in scoring defense — allowing only 15 points per game. Both also have great rushing offenses, with the Bulldogs averaging 251.8 ypg on the ground and the Huskies netting 235.5. UMD took last season’s meeting 40-17.
• Six teams are either 6-1 or 5-2 in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference, including the two teams that play Thursday night in the Division II Game of the Week. Minnesota State-Mankato will host Augustana (S.D.) in a battle to stay in the NSIC title race. Augustana leads the all-time series with a 23-18 record. The Mavericks have lost two of the three games against Augustana under head coach Todd Hoffner.
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