The DII Football Championship delivered plenty of excitement and action in the first round on Saturday. Seven lower seeds advanced, while program and conference records fell.
Let's take a look at some of the more impressive stats and feats from the first round.
The most intriguing numbers from the first round
Road victories in the NCAA tournament for Slippery Rock. The Rock's 20-14 victory over No. 2-seeded LIU Post in New York was their first road playoff win in program history.
Consecutive seasons the Wingate Bulldogs have appeared in the postseason, a first in program history. Last year, they were blanked in the first round by West Florida 31-0. This year, a 14-0 fourth quarter led to arguably the biggest shocker in the first round, as the Bulldogs took down No. 10-ranked West Georgia. Redshirt-freshman quarterback Shaw Crocker connected twice with freshman wideout Jalen Brooks, including on the go-ahead touchdown.
Two was also the number of dynamic running back duos that eclipsed 100 yards on Saturday. Isaiah Strayhorn (171 yards, two touchdowns) and Josh Caldwell (147 yards, two touchdowns) did damage for Northwest Missouri State, while Al McKeller (137 yards) and Toriano Clinton (106 yards) pulled it off for Indianapolis. Though neither Greyhounds running back scored, quarterback Jake Purichia punched in two rushing touchdowns as part of a four-touchdown performance.
Consecutive postseason victories for the defending national champion Texas A&M-Commerce Lions. They came in the underdogs against a stout Minnesota Duluth defense but were propelled to the upset by their own defense and special teams, scoring twice on punt returns. This was an all-out defensive battle as Minnesota Duluth's lone touchdowns both came via its defense.
Lower seeds that surprised on Saturday and advanced to the second round. All three games in Super Region One resulted in the lower seeds advancing, as two upsets went down in Super Region Four. The No. 6 seeds were most successful with three victories in the first round as the higher seeds may now be the underdogs. Here's the breakdown:
- No. 1 seeds: 4 (Notre Dame (OH), Valdosta State, Ouachita Baptist, Minnesota State)
- No. 2 seeds: 2 (Ferris State, Tarleton State)
- No. 3 seed: 1 (Lenoir-Rhyne)
- No. 4 seeds: 2 (Bowie State, Indianapolis)
- No. 5 seeds: 2 (Hillsdale, Colorado State-Pueblo)
- No. 6 seeds: 3 (New Haven, Northwest Missouri State, Texas A&M-Commerce)
- No. 7 seeds: 2 (Slippery Rock, Wingate)
The average margin of victory by the 12 winning teams. While that is somewhat inflated by Tarleton State's 58-0 victory over Azusa Pacific, most of the games were decided by at least one score, making it a decisive Saturday for the victors.
The most points scored this week, and largest margin of victory, as Tarleton State shut out Azusa Pacific 58-0. It is the Texans' second-straight 58-0 shutout and their first home playoff win in program history.
Total yards Harding held Ferris State to despite falling 21-19 in the day's closest game. The Bulldogs were the No. 6 total offense in DII football, putting up 517 yards per game. The Bisons entered the second half down 21-0 and nearly pulled off the comeback with a 19-point fourth quarter, completely shutting down Ferris State in the second half. Cole Chancey led the way with 101 yards and a touchdown on the ground.
Total victories in Lenoir-Rhyne history, No. 500 coming in its commanding first-round 43-21 victory over Florida Tech. The Bears forced six turnovers in yet another high-scoring output, extending their winning streak to 11 in a row.
Career passing yards for Hillsdale's Chance Stewart, who set the Great Midwest Athletic Conference single-season record by throwing for 305 yards and three touchdowns in No. 5 Hillsdale's upset of No. 4 Kutztown.
Here is a position-by-position breakdown of some standout performers in the first round:
|Collin DiGalbo||Kutztown||485 total yards, 3 total TD|
|Amir Hall||Bowie State||411 total yards, 3 total TD|
|Chris Laviano||LIU Post||333 yards, 1 TD|
|Ajee Patterson||New Haven||269 total yards, 5 total TD|
|Chance Fuller||Fort Hays State||252 yards, 3 TD|
|Xavier Turner||Tarleton State||206 yards, 3 TD|
|Isaiah Strayhorn||Northwest Missouri State||171 yards, 2 TD|
|Wes Hills||Slippery Rock||167 yards, 1 TD|
|Josh Caldwell||Northwest Missouri State||147 yards, 2 TD|
|Al McKeller||UIndy||137 yards|
|Marche Dennard||Colorado State-Pueblo||125 yards, 2 TD|
VIDEO: Trey Brock’s 60-yard touchdown! pic.twitter.com/vU9lkVm0zL— Hillsdale College Chargers (@HCChargers) November 17, 2018
|Trey Brock||Hillsdale||170 yards, 2 TD|
|Jermaine Wynn, Jr.||Slippery Rock||155 yards, 2 TD|
|Michael Richardson||LIU Post||150 yards|
|Brody Oliver||Colorado School of Mines||127 yards, 1 TD|
|Rommell Guerrier||Florida Tech||116 yards, 1 TD|