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Wayne Cavadi | | September 21, 2018

DII football showcase: CIAA teams clash as G-MAC foes face in a pivotal conference battle

Dive into this week's top plays in DII football

The Week 4 DII football showcase has two big conference showdowns on its slate. The first game heads to Winston-Salem, North Carolina for a Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association battle between Virginia Union and the Rams. Game 2 is a Great Midwest Athletic Conference bout with postseason implications brewing as we head to Findlay, Ohio for a matchup between the Oilers and Ohio Dominican.

Here's everything you need to know about this weekend's action.

MORE: Three teams crash the new top 25 | Top 25 by the numbers

Virginia Union at Winston-Salem State, 6:05 p.m. ET | WATCH LIVE

Both the Panthers and the Rams have had a tough go at getting things started this season. The two teams lost games last week due to Hurricane Florence and are probably itching to get back on the field for the Winston-Salem Classic this Saturday.

MORE: Bowman Gray Stadium makes DII football stadium bucket list

For Virginia Union, it has become the Taylor and Taylor show. Quarterback Darius Taylor leads the charge through the air, while Tabyus Taylor controls the ground game. It may come down to Darius this week, however, as Winston-Salem boasts the best rush defense in the CIAA, and tenth-best overall in DII football. 

That stingy Rams defense has quite a few players to watch, but Jack Nimmons is one to watch. The senior defensive end already has three sacks through two games, adding a fumble recovery to his stats as well. Offensively, the Rams have been more run-heavy the past two seasons with Kerrion Moore leading the way. This may be to their advantage as the Panthers allow over 200 yards a game on the ground.

2018 outlook

Virginia Union (1-1) Winston-Salem state (1-1)
2017 record: 6-4 2017 record: 6-4
Head coach: Alvin Parker (first year) Head coach: Kienus Boulware (5th year)
Preseason ranking: NR | Current ranking: NR Preseason ranking: NR | Current ranking: NR

Key players (2018 stats):

Darius Taylor, QB: 475 total yards, 3 TD

Tabyus Taylor, RB: 284 yards, 5 TD

Tovias Parker, DB: 7 tackles, 2 Int.

Key players (2018 stats):

Kerrion Moore, RB: 152 yards, 3 TD

Jack Nimmons, DE: 10 tackles, 3 sacks

Tyron Roberts, DE: 10 tackles, 1 sack

2018 by the numbers

Virginia Union Winston-Salem State
Points: 31.5/game Points: 15.0/ game
Pass yards: 181.5/ game            Pass yards: 179.5/ game                                             
Rush yards: 218.5/ game Rush yards: 115.5/ game
Total offense: 400.0 yards/ game Total offense: 295.0 yards/ game
Points allowed: 30.5/ game Points allowed: 27.0/ game
Total defense: 377.5 yards/game Total defense: 285.0 yards/game

Ohio Dominican at Findlay, 7:05 p.m ET | WATCH ON TWITTER OR FACEBOOK

The second game of the showcase is a big one in the G-MAC. Both teams entered the season in the top 25 and were projected to finish first and second in the conference. Now, with one loss each, this game has tremendous implications in who will be the G-MAC champion. The importance of this game hasn't gone unnoticed, as Cox TV will be airing the game live nationally as well.

MORE: How UWF's Sam Vaughn went from UGA practice squad to DII starter

There should be plenty of offense in this one. Findlay has the sixth-best offense in DII football, already amassing 531 yards per game. Four running backs -- Michael Campbell, Richard Wilson, Brian Benson, and Demondre Blanks -- have already eclipsed the 100-yard mark on the season, while quarterback Rhys Gervais has three sure-handed receivers to choose from as well. 

Speaking of receivers, Ohio Dominican's Cory Contini is amongst the best in DII football, and he and Devanaire Conliffe can make things difficult for any secondary. Add in E.J. Colson out of the backfield and the Panthers offense is just as tricky to solve as the Oilers. This game has all the makings of a shootout and should be a thriller right to the very end.

2018 outlook

Ohio Dominican (2-1) Findlay (2-1)
2017 record: 7-3 2017 record: 10-3
Head coach: Kelly Cummings (2nd year) Head coach: Rob Keys (8th year)
Preseason ranking: No. 23 | Current ranking: RV Preseason ranking: No. 25 | Current ranking: RV

Key players (2018 stats):

E.J. Colson, RB: 290 yards, 1 TD

Cory Contini, WR: 223 yards, 4 TD

Thompson Ross, LB: 32 tackles, 1 sack

Key players (2018 stats):

Rhys Gervais, QB: 646 yards, 3 TD

Michael Campbell, RB: 209 yards, 3 TD

Peter Norris, WR: 228 yards, 2 TD

2018 by the numbers

Ohio Dominican findlay
Points: 23.3/ game Points: 46.7/ game
Pass yards: 256.7/ game            Pass yards: 258.7/ game                                             
Rush yards: 119.7/ game Rush yards: 272.3/ game
Total offense: 376.4 yards/ game Total offense: 531.0 yards/ game
Points allowed: 24.7/ game Points allowed: 31.7/ game
Total defense: 427.3 yards/game Total defense: 311.3 yards/game

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