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Wayne Cavadi | | October 25, 2018

A wild west shootout in Texas and a fight for the PSAC top Week 9's DII football games to watch

Newcomers headline this week's D2 top plays

The regional rankings are out. The DII football postseason lurks right around the corner. But there’s still plenty of exciting football to be played before the regular season concludes.

Here are three games to keep an eye on this Saturday.

MORE: The first DII football regional rankings were released. Here's what we learned. 

No. 12 West Chester at No. 15 Kutztown 🎥 WATCH ON TWITTER | FACEBOOK

This top 25 showdown between undefeated teams will play a huge roll in determining the winner of the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference. The winner of this game will be the last remaining undefeated team in the entire conference.

Kutztown and West Chester both boast offenses that can put up big numbers. The Golden Bears are the No. 2 offense in the PSAC, while West Chester is No. 3. But it's on the defensive side of the ball where the Golden Rams may have the edge, their PSAC-best defense allowing just 14.6 points per game. They pace DII football with a whopping five sacks per game, led by Tyler Morrissey, Ch’aim Smith, Nate Barnes, and Diquan Gilbert who all have six or more sacks already this season. That will put a lot of pressure on Kutztown’s quarterback Collin DiGalbo, who is having the best season of his career and coming off of a 504-yard performance (402 passing, 102 rushing) last week against Shippensburg.

MORE: 7 dangerous dual-threat quarterbacks in DII football

WCU quarterback A.J. Long will be the X-factor. Long has been dangerous on the ground and through the air this season but missed last week’s game. Mike Piperno and Zach Gilbert were able to hold it down in his stead, as the Golden Rams put up 53 points, but Kutztown is more dangerous than East Stroudsburg. If Long returns to action, this will be a duel between two of the better QBs in DII football this season.

No. 19 LIU Post at Assumption 🎥  WATCH LIVE

Assumption entered the season in the top 25, looking to build on its big 2017 that ended in the national quarterfinals. While the Greyhounds have played solid football, LIU Post is the Northeast-10 team finding itself garnering national attention.

MORE: DII football Week 8 by the numbers

This should be a great game, as a win by Assumption puts them right back in the mix for the NE10. There are plenty of exciting players on both sides of the ball that make this one worth watching. Assumption’s Deonte Harris, DII football’s record-setting return man, remains one of the most explosive players on the field who can beat you, very quickly, in so many different ways.

Pioneers quarterback Chris Laviano is having a huge season, already throwing for 1,951 yards and 19 touchdowns. Defensively, LIU Post’s Kevin Petit-Frere is amongst DII football’s sack leaders, while defensive back Nazir Streater is second in DII football in interceptions per game. This should be a wild one in Worcester, Mass. 

No. 8 Tarleton State at No. 10 MSU Texas

We knew the Mustangs would be here, but how about the Texans? Here we are, entering the ninth weekend of DII football and Tarleton State and MSU Texas are set to face off to decide the Lone Star Conference. Not only is it a top 10 showdown, but it’s also the first one in Tarleton State history.

MORE: Everything you need to know about Adam Thielen's DII career

There’s been no shortage of football power coming from the LSC the past few seasons. Mustangs quarterback Layton Rabb is amongst the best in DII football with 2,247 yards passing, 23 touchdowns and just one interception. But he has weapons everywhere, like running back Vincent Johnson who has 695 yards and 10 touchdowns on the ground and receiver Juwan Johnson who has 902 yards and seven touchdowns of his own. 

The Texans bring the No. 2 scoring offense in DII football to Wichita Falls, Tx. on Saturday. Tarleton State is averaging 47.3 points per game and hasn’t scored below 47 points in the past four weeks. The dangerous duo of Daniel McCants and Xavier Turner have combined for 1,239 yards and 16 touchdowns out of the backfield, while quarterback Ben Holmes (1,641 yards, 18 touchdowns) is enjoying a fine first season in Stephenville. 

If this game comes down to defense, Tarleton State has the edge with the LSC’s top-ranked squad. But this could also come down to who makes the one mistake. It should be a thriller from the opening kickoff to the final whistle.

Other games to pay attention to:

South Dakota Mines at No. 6 Colorado School of Mines: Like offense? Tune in to this one. The Orediggers are third in DII scoring 46.4 points per game while the Hardrockers are sixth dropping 44.3. Plus, how can you possibly turn down a matchup between the Orediggers and Hardrockers? Those are easily two of the most fun nicknames in DII football.

No. 9 Grand Valley State at Saginaw Valley State: The Battle of the Valleys has much more to it than expected at the beginning of the season. Saginaw Valley State is amid its first winning season in five years and came in at No. 10 in Super Region Three. You know how they can move up the rankings? With a big upset this weekend against the Lakers.

MORE: AFCA Top 25 | Week 8 poll reaction

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