Week 8 of the DII football season was quite a successful one for the top 25. Only one team lost, and that was No. 25 Virginia Union who played red-hot No. 15 Bowie State.
Let's take a look at the best individual performances and team stats from the weekend.
The DII football top 25 by the numbers
1 — Top 25 teams that lost. No. 15 Bowie State showed it is the best of the best in the CIAA, taking down No. 25 Virginia Union 52-17.
2 —Total shutouts in Week 8, one more than last week. Indiana (Pa.) shut down Gannon 35-0 and Minnesota State dominated Minnesota Crookston, 81-0.
UNDER-THE-RADAR: 15 players you may not know but absolutely should
3 — Pick-sixes by the CSU-Pueblo defense in its 52-12 victory over Adams State. Kyle Rosenbrock had the first score of the day and Luke Conilogue followed less than a minute later to give the ThunderWolves an early 14-0 lead. Amu Aukusitino had the longest with a 72-yard return.
23 — Consecutive wins by Valdosta State, the longest current winning streak in DII football. It ties the GSC record as well. The Blazers' home winning streak is at 12, tying them for second with Tarleton State and trailing Notre Dame (OH) by one for the longest current streak in DII.
29— Average margin of victory for the 24 top 25 teams that won on Saturday, the largest number of the season. For the second week in a row, Minnesota State had the largest victory with an 81-point win, but six top 25 teams won by 40 or more points in this monster week. Notre Dame (OH) and Valdosta State had the narrowest victories, winning by five points apiece.
32 — Consecutive wins in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference by Minnesota State, who set a program record with 81 points in a victory over Minnesota Crookston this week, one week after setting the program record with 74 points against U-Mary. The Mavericks' last loss in the NSIC was Oct. 29, 2016.
49 — Seconds left on the clock when Valdosta State took the lead for good against unranked North Greenville. Rogan Wells took a fourth-and-two on a quarterback keeper and went all the way to the house to avoid the upset.
DII football standout players for Week 8
Let's take a look at some of the best stats from inside the top 25.
|Ja'Rome Johnson||Bowie State||395 pass, 56 rush, 3 TD|
|Jayru Cambell||Ferris State||347 pass, 61 rush, 4 TD|
|Roland Rivers III||Slippery Rock||342 pass, 3 TD|
|Payne Sullins||Angelo State||327 pass, 3 TD|
|Braden Wright||Northwest Missouri State||227 pass, 80 rush, 5 TD|
Other notables: Brook Bolles, Central Missouri; John Matocha, Colorado School of Mines; Quinton Maxwell, IUP
|Michael Zerman||Colorado School of Mines||298 rush, 10 rec., 3 TD|
|Daniel McCants||Tarleton State||250 rush, 4 TD|
|Cole Chancey||Harding||206 rush, 2 TD|
|Abdul-Hassan Neblett||Kutztown||203 rush, 10 rec., 4 TD|
|Al McKeller||UIndy||184 rush, 2 TD|
Other notables: Brockton Brown, Ouachita Baptist; Toriano Clinton, UIndy; Nate Gunn, Minnesota State; Antonio Lealiiee, Texas A&M-Commerce; Jaleel McLaughlin, Notre Dame (OH); Jaquay Mitchell, Lenoir-Rhyne; Nijere Peoples, Wingate; Kaleb Sleezer, Minnesota State
|Jermaine Wynn, Jr.||Slippery Rock||153 yards, 1 TD|
|Zimari Manning||Tarleton State||143 yards, 2 TD|
|Marvelle Ross||Notre Dame (OH)||141 yards|
|Shane Zylstra||Minnesota State||128 yards, 2 TD|
|Keke Chism||Angelo State||121 yards, 1 TD|
|Jalen Brooks||Wingate||121 yards, 2 TD|
Other notables: Sy Barnett, Ferris State; Ryan Stokes, Texas A&M-Commerce; Dareke Young, Lenoir-Rhyne
DII football outside the top 25
This week, we focus our attention on the players who performed well against top 25 teams, some of the 15 players we looked at earlier this week as players that should be on your radar, and a few other student-athletes that caught our eye.
Tiffin's Stanley Jackson, Jr. had a quiet day by his standards but still found the end zone. That was primarily because Dragons running back JaQuan Hardy went off for 124 yards and three touchdowns. There were stats aplenty in this one: Lake Erie's quarterback Javarian Smith threw for 469 yards and two scores, connecting primarily with Nate Dantley, Jr. (200 yards) and Josh Hufstetler (117 yards, two touchdowns).
THE BEST STADIUMS IN DII: A bucket list of stadiums, based on fan vote
Remember how we said to watch Missouri Southern quarterback Jacob Park? Well, if you didn't, you missed the performance of the weekend. Park threw for 408 yards and five touchdowns while rushing for 46 yards and three touchdowns. That's his third 400-yard game in his last four, and eight total touchdowns, two shy of the single-game record.
Tariq Bitson continues his climb up the all-time single-season receiving leaders. He reeled in 208 yards, his fourth 200-yard game of the season, and is 521 yards shy of the record. You can track his chase of history here.
How about some defensive player love this week? Fort Valley State's Demetrius Harris continued his attack on poor DII football quarterbacks with four tackles, a sack, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery. This is exactly why he was one of two defensive players we felt needed more attention in the national spotlight.
Here's who else caught our eye. We're focusing on really big days as the season winds down. Bold players were one of our 15 under-the-radar student-athletes you should be following.
- Tyson Bagent, QB, Shepherd: 326 yards, 2 TD
- Cade Brister, QB, Lindenwood: 325 pass, 31 rush, 5 TD
- Chance Fuller, QB, Fort Hays State: 435 yards, 3 TD
- Brant Grisel, QB, Charleston (WV): 368 yards, 4 TD
- Andrew Rund, QB, Quincy: 336 pass, 56 rush, 3 TD
- Jarodd Epperson, RB, Augustana (SD): 156 rush, 82 rec. 2 TD
- Elijah Miles, RB, Chadron State: 183 yards, 1 TD
- Michael Roots, RB, Central Washington: 219 yards, 4 TD
- Gei'vonni Washington, RB, Ashland: 174 yards, 1 TD
- Deshaun Wethington, RB, Chowan: 297 yards, 3 TD
- Michael Allen, WR, Bloomsburg: 164 rec. 26 rush, 2 TD
- Dajuan Greene, WR, Elizabeth City State: 191 yards, 2 TD
- Josh Powell, WR, Western New Mexico: 214 yards, 1 TD
- Manny Ramsey, WR, Fort Hays State: 169 yards, 1 TD
- Gavin Rose, WR, Catawba: 194 yards, 2 TD
- Payton Rose, WR, Lindenwood: 177 yards, 3 TD
- Juwan Scott, WR, Limestone: 154 yards, 2 TD
- Mike Strachan, WR, Charleston (WV): 175 yards, 4 TD
- Tevon Wright, WR, Chadron State: 175 yards, 2 TD