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Wayne Cavadi | | September 4, 2018

Early upsets, big rushing days and plenty of touchdowns highlight Week 1 of DII football

Manning's tackle-breaking TD headlines DII Top Plays

Week 1 is officially in the books for DII football. Texas A&M-Commerce began its title defense with a thrilling win on opening night, while several top 25 teams racked up points and stuffed the stat sheets, sending an early message.

Let's go behind the box scores and break down the top 25 by the numbers for Week 1.


-9 – Net rushing yards No. 25 Findlay held Kentucky Wesleyan to in its opening game. 

1 – Top 25 team ventured outside DII football and took on an FCS team. No. 9 Central Washington fell 58-13 to in-state rival and the seventh-ranked FCS team, Eastern Washington.

2 – Overtimes it took the defending national champion Texas A&M-Commerce to complete its comeback and win over a Texas A&M-Kingsville team that certainly grabbed some attention in the DII showcase.

2 – Two is the magic number as it is also the amount of top-25 teams that were upset on opening weekend. Both games were fantastic finishes that saw tremendous comebacks fall just short. Notre Dame College hung on to defeat No. 16 Shepherd 35-33 while Kutztown scored in the final minutes to down No. 17 Assumption 32-28.

4 – Ranked teams who lost to other DII ranked teams. No. 15 Ashland lost in the final minutes to No. 4 Indiana (Pa.). by a score of 21-17. IUP's wide receiver Ricky Rogers caught all three of the Crimson Hawks touchdowns. No. 13 Indianapolis lost 30-7 to No. 10 Grand Valley State. No. 18 Central Missouri just couldn't get past MIAA rival, No. 5 Fort Hays State, losing 20-16 despite a strong rushing day from Devante Turner (106 yards and 1 TD). Layne Bierberle reeled in 112 yards and a touchdown for the Tigers. And No. 22 Carson-Newman, which led at the half, wasn't able to hold on against No. 2 West Florida falling 19-9 in Pensacola. 

5 – Amount of top 25 teams that scored more than 45 points this weekend.

6 – Scoring plays that Colorado State-Pueblo had that were 65 yards or longer. Darius Williams got the action started, returning a missed field goal for a touchdown while running back Austin Micci had not one, but two 80-yard touchdown runs to highlight the bunch.

69 – Most points scored by a winning top 25 team this week. No. 25 Findlay opened its arsenal against Kentucky Wesleyan. The Oilers combined for 384 yards rushing and six touchdowns on the ground. Michael Campbell and Richard Wilson both eclipsed the 100-yard mark, with Campbel scoring two of the six rushing touchdowns.

361 – Total margin of victory in the top 25. This does not include the Central Washington game as it was played out of division.

Here is a position by position breakdown of this weekend's top performers.


Quarterback School  Stats
Tyson Bagent Shepherd 518 yards, 3 TD, 3 INT
Jayru Campbell Ferris State 304 total yards, 3 total TD
Shane Bucenell Ohio Dominican 299 yards, 3 TD
Preston Wheeler Texas A&M-Commerce 298 yards, 3 TD, 1 INT
Braden Wright Northwest Missouri State 279 total yards, 4 total TD
Lenny Williams IUP 277 total yards, 3 TD
Layton Rabb Midwestern State 273 yards passing, 5 TD


Running Back School Stats
Gabriel Watson Sioux Falls 200 yards, 3 TD
Austin Micci Colorado State-Pueblo 177 yards, 3 TD
Chawntez Moss Grand Valley State 135 yards, 1 TD
Andrew Vaughn  Ashland 133 yards, 1 TD, 15 receiving
Marcheé Dennard Colorado State-Pueblo 132 yards, 2 TD
Nate Gunn Minnesota State 119 yards, 2 TD, 36 receiving
Receiver School  Stats
Ryan Feiss  Shepherd 172 yards, 1 YD
Wayna Allen Shepherd 165 yards, 1 TD
Austin Paritee Grand Valley State 134 yards, 2 TD
Cory Contini Ohio Dominican 125 yards, 1 TD
Devanarie Conliffe Ohio Dominican 116 yards, 2 TD
Dion Earls Ferris State 114 yards, 2 TD

Outside the top 25:

There were definitely some noteworthy opponents by teams that will have a real chance to crack the top 25 in the near future. 

Keep an eye on the Colorado Mines offense. Wide receiver Brody Oliver, one of's 17 impact players for 2018, had 195 yards and five touchdowns, four of which tied an NCAA DII record by coming in the same quarter. The Orediggers running back Cameron Mayberry is also a force, rushing for 137 yards and two touchdowns, while quarterback Isaac Harker threw for 317 yards and five touchdowns.

Bowie State's quarterback Amir Hall is in rare company when it comes to athletic abilities. He threw for 365 yards and two touchdowns while adding 58 more yards on the ground against FCS competition.

California (Pa.)'s young quarterback Noah Mitchell threw for 329 yards and three TDs as the Vulcans lost a tight one to No. 23 Ohio Dominican but should make plenty of noise. 

Colorado Mesa's dual-threat quarterback Eystin Salum did Eystin Salum things in the Mavericks opener. He threw for 257 yards and a touchdown and ran for 111 more with another touchdown.

MORE: Meet the best rusher in DII football, Gannon's Marc Jones

Marcus Jones watch: Last year, the Gannon running back led DII with 2,176 yards rushing and 29 touchdowns on the ground, not eclipsing the 150-yard mark just once all of last season. He's right back on track in 2018, reeling off 160 yards and a touchdown in Gannon's opener. 

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