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Zach Pekale | | December 1, 2020

5 standout performances from the DII fall football season

Pittsburgh Athletics Pittsburgh State quarterback Mak Sexton. Pittsburg State quarterback Mak Sexton threw for 398 yards and three touchdowns against Nebraska-Kearney.

The DII fall football season has come to a close. With 19 games to choose from, we looked back at five of the top performances from the 2020 fall season.

T.J. Davis runs wild against Chadron State

We knew Davis was a star in the making last year, when he scored 25 total touchdowns and posted more than 1,000 yards rushing for Nebraska-Kearney. Although the Lopers only played twice this fall, that was enough proof to validate Davis' star potential, which was on full display in UNK's 45-35 shootout win over Chadron State. The sophomore quarterback only completed two passes that afternoon and one was a 27-yard touchdown. Davis made the Eagles pay on the ground, regardless of what coverage was thrown his way. He carried the ball 20 times for a video-game like 252 yards, adding three touchdowns. A full season of Davis in 2021 can only lead to good things at UNK.

Alfred Grear goes off on Abilene Christian

Angelo State was the only DII team to beat a FCS opponent this season. A big reason why was Grear's performance against Abilene Christian. The sophomore running back had a career day for the Rams as he piled up 247 yards on 20 carries in a 34-21 win. To better understand how dominant Grear was, ASU didn't exceed 215 rushing yards as a team in any of its other three games. Grear surpassed that by himself against ACU. He had four touchdowns on the afternoon, showing off his goal-line abilities on short scores of 1 and 4 yards while breaking loose for touchdown runs of 68 and 61 yards. He would've had a fifth score too, an 86-yard run, if not for a late block in the back.

Colorado Mesa shuts down Chadron State

The Mavericks' defensive showing in their season opener is our first and only team-wide recognition on the list. Tremaine Jackson made his head coaching debut for Colorado Mesa with his defensive pedigree on full display in a 10-7 overtime win over Chadron State. After the Eagles averaged more than 37 points per game in 2019, CMU nearly pitched its first shutout since 2013 before Chadron got on the board in the final minute of the game. Instead CMU settled for its fewest points allowed in its last 23 games. CMU's Jordan Ellis made two of the top individual defensive plays of the game, recovering a bobbled punt in the second half before intercepting Chadron State's Dalton Holst in overtime.

Lewis, SD Mines win the Battle for the Homestake Trophy

Big-time performances always mean a little bit more in a rivalry game and South Dakota Mines running back Ahmad Lewis showed that in the 135th Black Hills Brawl. The Hardrockers downed Black Hills State 34-17 in head coach Charlie Flohr's debut to reclaim the Homestake Trophy behind Lewis' huge day on the ground. The junior had his best game of the season against the Yellow Jackets, racking up 176 yards and two touchdowns on 27 carries. He also added five catches for 60 yards in quarterback Jayden Johannsen's debut.

Mak Sexton lights up Nebraska Kearney

Pittsburg State had multiple quarterbacks a year ago before Mak Sexton took over as the starter full time. He needed just one game to show why he won the job. While the Gorillas lost 31-26 to Nebraska-Kearney, Sexton spent much of the afternoon picking apart the Lopers defense. The sophomore erupted for 398 passing yards and three touchdowns. In a high-scoring offense like Pitt State, Sexton should be a player to watch next season.

DII football Sunday: A new Power 10, Harlon Hill watchlist, and what you may have missed in Week 1

Ferris State opened with a win to maintain the top spot, but there was certainly a shakeup in the latest DII football Power 10 rankings. Take a look, plus more than 20 players to watch for the 2022 Harlon Hill Trophy.

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