There were plenty of thrills on Halloween around the world of DII sports. Nebraska-Kearney prevailed in its DII football season opener against Pittsburg State in a game that came down to the wire. Two Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference teams found themselves in a second-half shootout, with Chadron State coming out on top, 37-22. And several cross country programs maintained their dominance as two more conference's championship meets were decided.
But before we get into the week that was, there's plenty of action in the weekend ahead. Here are the DII football matchups we'll be watching:
Saturday, Nov. 7 (all times Eastern)
Western Colorado at Colorado Mesa | PPD
(UPDATE: This game was tentatively rescheduled to Nov. 14 due to coronavirus concerns shortly after publication)
The Mountaineers get their first DII football matchup after falling to FCS Stephen F. Austin in their 2020 opener on Saturday. Colorado Mesa looks to get back on track after a week off. The last time the Mavericks took the field, they dropped the first game of the Tremaine Jackson head coaching era. Running back Jesse Rodriquez has been an absolute machine for Mesa, scoring in each of his three games and already amassing 415 yards on the ground.
South Dakota Mines at Black Hills State | PPD
(UPDATE: As expected, this game was officially canceled due to coronavirus concerns shortly after publication)
Black Hills State hasn’t played in two weeks after canceling its October 22 match against Chadron State due to coronavirus concerns, so this game is a question mark. If it does get played, it will be the 136th Black Hills Brawl. Mines took the first meeting earlier this season as Hardrockers star running back Ahmad Lewis totaled 236 yards and two touchdowns. It is the oldest played rivalry in DII football.
Chadron State at Nebraska-Kearney | 4 p.m.
This week's winners meet up in an exciting inter-conference showdown as RMAC and MIAA teams collide. The Eagles will have to find an answer for the Lopers dual-threat quarterback TJ Davis, who had four rushing touchdowns on Saturday. Dating back to last season, Davis has rushed for a touchdown in each of his last nine games while eclipsing the century mark five times.
Angelo State at Abilene Christian | 4 p.m.
The Wildcats' head coach Adam Dorrel is no stranger to DII football. The former Northwest Missouri State head coach and three-time DII football champion leads his 1-3 squad against Angelo State. The Rams have faced FCS competition this season, falling to Stephen F. Austin earlier in October. They would love to close out their 2020 season with a signature win.
Pittsburg State at Missouri Western | 4 p.m.
The Gorillas find themselves in another fun MIAA matchups this coming Saturday. The Griffons had a huge 2019, finishing 9-3 with a victory over Henderson State in the Agent Barry Live United Bowl. That was a very senior-laden team on offense and the 2020 rendition has a very different look. Mak Sexton and the Pittsburg State offense looked like it really started gelling under new head coach Brian Wright's game plan. It will be interesting to see if the Gorillas can carry that momentum into this game right off the bat.
ICYMI: Nebraska-Kearney, Chadron State pick up DII football wins
There were two really fun games played last weekend. Here is what you missed:
Nebraska-Kearney 31, Pittsburgh State 26
UNK and Pittsburg State faced off in the first MIAA football action of the season. The Lopers ended a 12-game drought against the Gorillas in a thriller that came down to Pittsburg State's final drive. We watched from start to finish and brought you an instant reaction for stats, highlights and takeaways from the MIAA opener. You can read more by clicking the link below:
Chadron State 37, South Dakota Mines 22
This was a rather ho-hum game for the first 30 minutes. After a scoreless first quarter, the Eagles entered halftime with a 9-3 lead. Then the fireworks began as the two teams combined for 47 points and 427 yards in the second half. Chadron State's running backs Jalen Starks and Christopher Busby found the end zone four times to get the Eagles over .500 on the season and a perfect 2-0 against the Hardrockers.
Several other DII teams were in action in cross-division matchups. Follow our weekly scoreboard for all the action.
DII college basketball on track to commence this month
It is officially November, and that means DII college basketball tips off this month. Let's just keep the ball rolling and continue our look at contenders for the 2020-21 season.
DII men's basketball: West Liberty
The Hilltoppers explosive offense is always dangerous and among the highest-scoring in the nation at ANY level on an annual basis. West Liberty will get to make another run with all five starters returning. Dalton Bolon, a two-time All-American, leads the way and fellow guards Will Yoakum and Pat Robinson III both chipped in 18.0 points per game last year giving the Hilltoppers an exciting "Big Three".
DII women's basketball: Lubbock Christian
You can't talk about DII women's basketball contenders and not have the Lady Chaps in the conversation. Steve Gomez has led Lubbock Christian to a pair DII women's titles in the past five years, including an undefeated run in their first-ever season as a DII program in 2016. Sure, they will have to replace Maddi Chitsey, but there is plenty of experience with five players returning that spent time in the starting rotation in 2019.
West Texas A&M men’s cross country makes it eight in a row
The Buffs ran away with the Lone Star Conference men’s cross country title Saturday in San Angelo, Texas. It was the eighth-consecutive title and the fourth-straight for current head coach Jake Krolick. DBU took their first LSC cross country title on the women’s side. The Patriots won with a remarkable 25 points, the lowest total in LSC championship competition since 1996.
The Gulf South Conference also crowned its men's and women's cross country champions on Saturday. The Lady Flames of Lee continued their GSC dominance, winning their fourth-consecutive conference title. The men's meet saw a repeat champion as well, as Alabama-Huntsville won its second-straight men's championship.