Bentley surprised New Haven in Friday night on the DII football showcase, picking up its first win of the season in an impressive 31-14 victory. It was the first of a few surprises, especially in the top 25 this week. Here's where you can find the full top 25 schedule and rankings as well as box scores and results to all of the Week 4 action.
THE TOP 25 RANKINGS, RIGHT NOW: Valdosta State cements its spot at No. 1 as top 10 holds strong
Undefeated Northwest Missouri State hosted Central Oklahoma in Saturday's DII football showcase MIAA showdown. A top 25 matchup and big conference games filled the rest of the slate.
DII football Week 4 games to watch
Northwest Missouri State 59, Central Oklahoma 10
WHAT WE SAID: At first glance, the Bearcats have been their normal selves in 2019, out to a perfect 3-0 start. It's been an odd season, however, as they needed to put together tremendous second halves in order to win in each of its first two games. Last week, a very opportunistic secondary was on display, picking off six passes and allowing exciting sophomore quarterback Braden Wright to lead Northwest Missouri State to a 66-point outburst.
One of the key factors in this Bearcats' offense has been new addition Justin Rankin at running back. The Kent State transfer — projected to be the DII newcomer of the year — has burst onto the scene, averaging 124.3 yards per game with three scores on the season. If he helps control the tempo this week, it would greatly benefit the Bearcats.
The Bronchos haven't scored less than 28 points in any game this season. That includes putting up 35 points on opening night against a now-nationally-ranked Pittsburg State squad. They dropped 63 points last week behind a 28-point second quarter, showing they can score fast and in bunches. Northwest Missouri State will want to come out strong and not have to play from behind against Central Oklahoma on Saturday.
|Central Oklahoma vs. Northwest Missouri State by the numbers|
|Stats||Central Oklahoma (2-1)||Northwest Missouri State (3-0)|
|Point allowed/ game||20||28.67|
|Rush yards/ game||186.3||225.3|
|Pass yards/ game||219.3||258.3|
|Yards Allowed/ game||378.7||385.7|
|PLAYERS TO WATCH|
|T.J. Roberts, RB: 273 yards, 3 TD||Braden Wright, QB: 772 yards, 9 TD|
|Dustin Basks, WR: 168 yards, 1 TD||Justin Rankin, RB: 389 yards, 3 TD|
|Jeremiah Hill, LB: 25 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 BU, 1 QBH||Imoni Donadelle, WR: 253, 3 TD|
No. 5 Notre Dame (OH) 40, Urbana 20
WHAT WE SAID: Notre Dame (OH) travels to Urbana University in a battle of 3-0 Mountain East Conference teams. It also features a matchup of two of the best running backs thus far in the Falcons' Jaleel McLaughlin and Urbana's W.R. Sanders, Jr.
No. 13 Minnesota Duluth 42, Bemidji State 7
WHAT WE SAID: Minnesota Duluth travels to fellow undefeated Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference rival Bemidji State. The Beavers, who began the season 3-0 last year before falling to the Bulldogs in double overtime in Week 4, have not beaten Minnesota Duluth since 1999. Minnesota Duluth can't overlook this game based on history alone with Bemidji State looking to prove they belong amongst the NSIC elite.
Angelo State 28, No. 15 Midwestern State 6
WHAT WE SAID: Midwestern State struggled in Week 3 but walked away victorious nonetheless. This week the Mustangs travel to Angelo State in a battle of 3-0 teams. The Rams are averaging 52.3 points per game this season and can't be taken lightly with an explosive offense, and thus far, tough defense.
No. 22 Harding 14, Henderson State 13
WHAT WE SAID: Harding hasn't allowed a touchdown in nine quarters but will be put to the test against a Henderson State team that has its offense clicking right now. With that early-season loss to Ouachita Baptist on its resume, Harding can't afford to drop another game to keep its playoff hopes alive.
No. 20 CSU-Pueblo 24, No. 11 Texas A&M Commerce 17
WHAT WE SAID: Colorado State-Pueblo saw its home winning streak end last week against then-No. 17 Colorado School of Mines and welcomes its second top 25 team to the ThunderBowl in as many weeks. That should put Texas A&M-Commerce on high alert, which is looking to stay undefeated against a team very much looking to defend its home turf.
DII showcase: Bentley 31, New Haven 14
WHAT WE SAID: The Chargers were a DII football tournament team a year ago, upsetting No. 3 West Chester and making it to the second round. New Haven lost its dynamic quarterback (Ajee Patterson) and leading rusher from that team, but returning wide receivers Ju'an Williams and AJ Greene have made the transition go smoothly for Nick Robins. After dropping its first game to now-nationally ranked IUP, New Haven steamrolled its next two opponents.
Bentley hasn't been as fortunate, losing both of its games thus far in 2019. The Falcons hung tough, putting a big scare into No. 16 West Chester in Week 1, losing a tightly-contested 14-7 ball game, before falling to 0-2 in a close 28-23 loss in Week 2. Bentley already showed it can hold top competition in check, so New Haven will have to be at its best to come out a winner.
|New Haven vs. Bentley by the numbers|
|Stats||New Haven (2-1)||Bentley (0-2)|
|Point allowed/ game||13.3||21.0|
|Rush yards/ game||169.7||168.5|
|Pass yards/ game||166.3||182.0|
|Yards Allowed/ game||215.3||368.5|
|PLAYERS TO WATCH|
|Shamar Logan, RB: 273 yards, 2 TD||Andrew Brazicki, RB: 218 yards, 1 TD|
|Ju'an Williams, WR: 209 yards, 1 TD||Drew Mahoney, WR: 144 yards|
|Shawn Tafe, DB: 14 tackles, 1 TFL, 3 INT||Stephen Strum, QB: 364 yards, 1 TD|
DII football Week 4 Harlon Hill watch:
There are plenty of players from our preseason Harlon Hill watchlist on display this Saturday, as well as quite a few showing that they deserve to be amongst the finalists. Here are a few to watch this weekend and be sure to check back at NCAA.com on Sunday for your weekly dose of the best stats across DII football.
- No one has figured out Slippery Rock's Roland Rivers III yet. He's passed for 1,113 yards and 16 touchdowns through three weeks and is facing a Seton Hill team that has allowed 30.0 points per game, so far.
- Cameron Mayberry has had a quiet season by his standards (he's still averaging 107 yards and 1.7 touchdowns a week) for Colorado School of Mines. This week he faces a New Mexico Highlands team allowing 275.5 yards rushing per game.
- Al McKeller of Indianapolis already has 295 yards rushing and five touchdowns in 2019. It will be interesting to see how he fares against Southwest Baptist's defense which has yet to allow a rushing touchdown and just 143.3 yards per game.