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Wayne Cavadi | | September 29, 2017

Colorado Mesa, Colorado State-Pueblo highlight DII football showcase in RMAC Top 25 showdown

  Expect plenty of offense when two of DII's footballs best rushing attacks collide.

Remember last week's Division II football showcase? The No. 2 team in DII football was upset by an underrated Ashland team. Then-No. 25 Catawba followed with a huge 37-12 win over Mars Hill, solidiying its presence as a real postseason contender. You'd think that would be hard to beat.

Not so fast.

RELATED: A Top 25 shakeup highlights this week's DII poll

Starting the day's showcase will be a Top 25 battle in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference. Two offensive powerhouses will go head-to-head for RMAC superiority. The nightcap is a battle for Florida, with possible Top 25 implications to the winner of the Coastal Classic.

Here's some numbers, players and facts to know about each game.

Colorado Mesa (4-0) at Colorado State-Pueblo (3-1), 4 p.m. ET


Defenses simply can't get overconfident when playing the Mavericks. Two weeks ago, running back David Tann ran for 197 yards and four touchdowns. This past weekend, Tann was held to just 58 yards, so quarterback Eystin Salum stepped up with 212 yards passing, 164 yards rushing and three total touchdowns. This is an offense that can beat a team in many different ways.

While the defense does let up some yards, defensive back Dustin Rivas should help hold the passing game in check. His 47 career passes defended are amongst the best in DII.

RELATED: Colorado Mesa's David Tann is 'Invincible'

Rivas' play will help the lineman and linebackers focus on the ThunderWolves running game. Colorado State-Pueblo has not one, but two 300-yard rushers. This past weekend, Marché Dennard played the hero, reeling off 159 yards and two touchdowns, but Austin Micci added 91 and a touchdown of his own. 

Big-hitting Brandon Payer will have his hands full with Salum and Tann, but defensive back Darius Williams may be the x-factor. The reigning RMAC Defensive Player of the Week is coming off a two-interception game, one of which he took to the house. If Payer can help control the ground game, and Williams and the secondary take out the passing game, the ThunderWolves could come away with the upset.

2017 outlook:

Colorado Mesa Colorado State-Pueblo
2016 record: 9-3 2016 record: 8-3
Head coach: Russ Martin (6th season) Head coach: John Wristen (10th season)
Preseason ranking: 23 | Current ranking: 8 Preseason ranking: 10 | Current ranking: 17

Key players:

Eystin Salum, QB: 1,364 total yards, 12 total TD

David Tann, RB: 435 yards, 5 TD

Blake Nelson, DL: 31 tackles, 5 TFL, 1 sack

Key players:

Marché Dennard, RB: 329 yards, 4 TD

Austin Micci, RB: 306 yards, 6 TD

Brandon Payer, LB: 39 tackles, 6.5 TFL, 3 sacks

2017 by the numbers:

Colorado Mesa Colorado State-Pueblo
Points: 37.75/ game Points: 37.2/ game
Pass yards: 251.25/ game            Pass yards: 223.3/ game                                             
Rush yards: 234.8/ game Rush yards: 242.5/ game
Total offense: 486 yards/ game Total offense: 465.8 yards/ game
Points allowed: 20.75/ game Points allowed: 14.5/ game
Total defense: 441.3 yards/ game                  Total defense: 331.8 yards/ game

West Florida (2-1) at Florida Tech (3-1), 7 p.m ET


A Gulf South Conference battle with state pride on the line. This has all the makings of some good Saturday night football.

West Florida is still the newbie to the GSC, in just its second season in the DII football conference. The Argonauts went 5-6 on their maiden voyage through the GSC and are looking to improve in year two. West Florida's offense is in the middle of the pack offensively, but still efficient. They will need to be all that and more against Florida Tech's top-ranked defensive unit. 

RELATED: Meet the DII running back with more yards than any FBS or FCS RB

Florida Tech is dangerous because they have weapons on both sides on the ball. Antwuan Haynes is one of the top running backs in the GSC, second to only Delta State's Chris Robinson in yards. His average per carry (7.33) is tops amongst GSC starting backs, and No. 10 in all of DII. The defense, however, shines brightest. It is one of the best units in DII football. The Panthers are No. 4 in total defense and No. 12 in scoring defense. 

2017 outlook:

West Florida Florida Tech
2016 record: 5-6 2016 record: 8-3
Head coach: Pete Shinnick (2nd season) Head coach: Steve Englehart (5th season)
Preseason ranking: NR | Current ranking: NR Preseason ranking: RV | Current ranking: RV

Key players:

Antoine Griffin, WR: 252 yards

Reggie Barnes, LB: 20 tackles, 2 sacks

Andre Duncombe, LB: 10 tackles, 1.5 sacks

Key players:

Antwuan Haynes, RB: 389 yards, 3 TD

Romell Guerrier, WR: 279 yards, 2 TD

Adnonis Davis, DE: 14 tackles, 5 TFL, 2 sack

2017 by the numbers:

West Florida Florida Tech
Points: 30/ game Points: 33/ game
Pass yards: 233.67/ game            Pass yards: 242.5/ game                                             
Rush yards: 82.3/ game Rush yards: 179.5/ game
Total offense: 316 yards/ game Total offense: 422 yards/ game
Points allowed: 23/ game Points allowed: 12/ game
Total defense: 352.3 yards/ game                  Total defense: 237.8 yards/ game

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