Sept. 15, 2009

By Amy Farnum

The Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference boasts four teams ranked in the AFCA Division II Top 25 this week, each of which will be involved in two of the three match-ups between nationally-ranked opponents.

No. 7 Minnesota State-Mankato and No. 20 Wayne State (Neb.) clash in a battle of unbeatens on Sept. 19.  Both teams are fresh off convincing victories over of NSIC foes as Minnesota State handled Mary, 35-14, and Wayne State downed St. Cloud State, 41-20, last weekend. 

Minnesota State is 3-0 for the first time since 1993, while Wayne State quarterback Silas Fluellen threw for 312 yards and three TD against the Saints as he continued to move up the NSIC all-time passing and total offense yards charts to fourth.  Fluellen was named NSIC Offensive Player of the Week for his efforts.

Augustana (S.D.) is ranked No. 25 in the AFCA Division II Top 25 after opening with a 3-0 mark for the first time since 2006.  It is the first time the Augies have been nationally ranked since the poll began in 2000.   On Sept. 19, they will put their unbeaten record on the line at defending NCAA champion and eighth-ranked Minnesota-Duluth, which got by Southwest Minnesota State, 34-27, last weekend after falling to Central Washington in its previous game.

THE RISING: With three Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association members ranked in the top 12 (No. 6 Northwest Missouri State, No. 11 Pittsburg State, No. 12 Central Missouri), the rest of the league is doing its best to get noticed.  Washburn and Missouri Western have both posted 3-0 marks this season, earning some well-deserved attention, and will meet one another on the gridiron on Sept. 19.

After a resounding 54-31 victory over Missouri Southern in the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association opener, Washburn cracked the national poll at No. 22 for the first time since early last season.

The Ichabods have been getting outstanding play in all aspects of the game, but sophomore quarterback Dane Simoneau stood out last week with a career-best 306 yards passing, three TD passes and another on a run in just three quarters of action.  Simoneau, who was named MIAA Offensive Player of the Week, leads an offensive unit that tops the nation in scoring (54.3 ppg) is first in the league in total offense (508.7).

Missouri Western downed Fort Hays State, 31-7, on the strength of one of the league’s top offenses that includes wide receiver Cedric Houston.  He leads the MIAA with 135.3 receiving yards and 193.0 all-purpose yards per game.  The Griffons are the first team receiving votes in the AFCA Division II Top 25.

STINGY ‘STANGS: Midwestern State continues to lead the nation in scoring defense, allowing just a total of nine points in three victories this season.

Senior Emmanuel Bagley tallied a career-high 13 tackles, and contributed a sack and a forced fumble in the Mustangs’ stellar 52-3 win over Northeastern State on Sept. 12.  Bagley, a linebacker from Dallas, Texas, was selected Lone Star Conference South Defensive Player of the Week for his role with the defensive juggernaut. 

The Mustangs, who rank fourth in the nation in total defense (184.67 ypg), have not allowed a touchdown in 12 quarters of action this season.  Midwestern State hosts Incarnate Word on Sept. 19 – a team that scored just 10 points in its season-opening loss to Arkansas Tech on Sept. 5.

LIONS ROAR: Concord University is off to a 3-0 start after scoring 150 points in its first three games.  The Mountain Lions had scored just 150 points in their previous 15 contests.  They rank second in the nation in scoring offense (50.0 ppg) and total offense (565.33 ypg).

The Mountain Lions are led by wide receiver Thomas Mayo, who paces the nation with 190.0 yards receiving per game.  Mayo has scored seven touchdowns in the first three contests, and is tied for sixth in scoring with 14.0 points per game.

Concord travels to the University of Charleston (W.V.) for a West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference showdown of unbeaten squads on Sept. 19.  The Golden Eagles are also 3-0.