There are just two teams remaining in the 2018 DII football championship. After two tightly-contested national semifinals games, Valdosta State and Ferris State are set to battle in the DII football championship game Dec. 15 in McKinney, Texas.
Let's go beyond the box scores and look at some of the more interesting numbers and performances from Saturday's DII football action.
0: Losses that Ferris State and Valdosta State have on the season. The Blazers enter the game 13-0 while the Bulldogs are 15-0. No team has ever finished a season 16-0 in DII football lore.
2: Blocked punts and defensive touchdowns in the Notre Dame (OH) vs. Valdosta State semifinal matchup. The Blazers blocked a punt in the first quarter for a safety and the Falcons followed suit later in the game, setting up a one-yard touchdown run by quarterback Chris Brimm. David Brown picked off a Brimm pass in the third quarter and took it 100 yards for Valdosta State, while Guam Lee took a fumble recovery 82 yards to the house, cutting the Blazers lead to six late in the fourth quarter
Can we talk for a minute about the “convoy” during @black7era’s 100-yard pick six?!? It’s the longest interception return in @BlazerAthletics history, and 7️⃣ guys helped 7️⃣ get 6️⃣. 🔥🏈🔥 #BlazerNation pic.twitter.com/eRcBCVVbVz— Matt Malone (@SpideyMatt05) December 9, 2018
3: Harlon Hill candidates who performed extremely well on Saturday. Jaleel McLaughlin ended his freshman campaign with more yards rushing than anyone else on the day, piling up 175 yards in a heartbreaking loss. Rogan Wells didn't put up his best numbers of the year, but he was efficient — completing 79 percent of his passes — in commanding the Blazers offense to victory. Jayru Campbell had the best overall day in the semifinals, totaling 354 yards on 251 passing yards and two touchdowns.
6: Total points DeShaun Thrower had in the 2018 DII men's basketball championship finals. Thrower helped Ferris State to its first basketball championship. His interception on Minnesota State's final drive sealed the deal and has the Bulldogs in a position to win its first football championship.
12 and 45: Seconds it took both Ferris State and Minnesota State to rack up multiple scores in their semifinals matchup. Trailing 21-10 in the final minute of the first half, the Mavericks scored a Justin Arnold 27-yard touchdown and quickly got the ball back to set up a field goal as time expired to cut the lead to two. With the Mavericks still in the ball game late in the fourth quarter, the Bulldogs scored twice in 12 seconds to put the game out of reach.
20: Sacks totaled by Notre Dame (OH)'s Sha'haun Williams after taking down Rogan Wells on Sunday. While it fell one short of Grand Valley State's Matt Judon's single-season record, there is nothing to be ashamed of with only the third 20-sack season in DII history.
27: Average amount of yards in which both losing teams outgained the winning teams. Minnesota State piled up 469 total yards to Ferris State's 457, while Notre Dame outgained Valdosta State 371 to 329. The Falcons held that vaunted Blazers' offense to its lowest point and yards total of the 2018 season.
190.5: The average yards rushing per team on Saturday on a day when quarterbacks were, for the most part, held in check. Each team had a 100-yard rusher as well. Notre Dame (OH)'s freshman phenom McLaughlin led all rushers, Minnesota State's Nate Gunn had 149 yards and a touchdown, Valdosta State's Jamar Thompkins' career-best 84-yard touchdown run led to a 145-yard day, and Ferris State's Jayru Campbell posted 103 yards even though it was running back Marvin Campbell who had two touchdowns including a 40-yard practically-untouched romp to the end zone.
2,421: Total yards McLaughlin ends the 2018 season with. It was the single greatest season by a freshman — and fourth-best all-time — in DII football history topping Wayne State's Joique Bell's 2,065-yard DII debut in 2006. In comparison, McLaughlin outgained Bell by 356 yards with just 30 more carries. His 18 touchdowns were ninth overall in DII for the year.