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Wayne Cavadi | | August 31, 2018

These are our favorite moments, highlights from DII football opening night

Thursday night saw the DII football season commence. With both the defending champion Texas A&M-Commerce and reigning national runners-up West Florida in action, along with quite a few top 25 teams, there was plenty of excitement to go around.

Let's take a look at some of our favorite moments from opening night.


No. 22 Carson-Newman carried a three-point lead into the half, but No. 2 West Florida's backup quarterback Sam Vaughn connected with Lee Walker for the go-ahead touchdown in the third quarter, sealing the Argos first win.

Unranked Texas A&M-Kingsville had the reigning champs on the ropes, up 16-0 in the third quarter. But, the Lions came roaring back and forced a double-overtime thriller to open the season 1-0.

For the second straight season, No. 4 Indiana (Pa.) and No. 15 Ashland played a thriller right down to the wire. Last season, a game-winning field goal as time expired gave the Crimson Hawks the win. This season, Ashland's late comeback was thwarted by some big D to preserve the 21-17 victory for IUP.

MORE: 17 impact players for the 2018 season 

The Bulldogs are breaking it out early. Minnesota Duluth opened with a commanding 49-3 victory over Minot State and flashed some hardware early in 2018.

No. 10 Grand Valley State avenged its 2017 opening night loss to No. 13 UIndy in dominating fashion. Bart Williams looked sharp, leading the Lakers to a 30-7 victory, with plays like this perfectly placed pass.

It was a back and forth battle in the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association opener between No. 5 (tie) Fort Hays State and No. 18 Central Missouri. A timely interception sealed the deal for the Tigers, who haven't lost in the MIAA in over a year. 

MORE: 5 DII showcase games we're excited about | Complete schedule 

Speaking of the MIAA, how about this video-game-like punt return from Pittsburg State's Kiante Hardin?

Lenoir-Rhyne had upset on its mind, but a huge 22-point fourth quarter moved No. 12 West Alabama to 1-0.

Stay tuned, DII football fans. We're only halfway through the opening-weekend action. Expect more highlights and dramatics on Saturday when the rest of DII opens its season.

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