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Wayne Cavadi | | October 9, 2022

The 11 most played rivalries in DII football history

Ferris State wins the 2021 DII football championship in dominant fashion

South Dakota Mines and Black Hills State met in the 137th Black Hills Brawl on Saturday, Oct. 1. While that makes it the oldest rivalry in DII football, both teams had first-place aspirations with the top spot in the RMAC on the line in this year's rendition. Black Hills State rose victorious, cut into the Hardrockers all-time lead in the rivalry, and improved to 5-0—the Yellow Jackets best start since 1951.

Let's take a look at the 11 most-played rivalries between current DII football programs.

That rivalry from the Mount Rushmore State is the oldest on the list, dating back to 1895. The Hardrockers were shutout by their now-Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference foes 18-0 that late November day. South Dakota Mines took it to heart, and when the teams next met in 1900, the Hardrockers dominated the Yellow Jackets 27-0 to start a 14-game unbeaten stretch in the rivalry. After the Yellow Jackets latest victory, the Hardrockers lead the all-time series, 65-61-11.

Harlon Hill Trophy candidate and Hardrockers' quarterback Jayden Johannsen continued his torrid start with a 350-yard, two-touchdown day, but the balanced attack from BHSU proved victorious in this one.

In 2021, Tuskegee and Morehouse played for the 109th time since the first meeting between the two in 1902. Tuskegee holds the most lopsided advantage on our list, leading the all-time series 71-30-8 despite Morehouse's 31-15 victory on Oct. 9, 2021. Tuskegee avenged that loss in 2022, with an eerily similar 31-14 victory.

The Turnpike Tussle and Battle of the Ravine — perhaps two of the better know rivalries in all of college football — are famous because of their proximity. Emporia State and Washburn travel the 58-mile trek down the Kansas Turnpike each year for some exciting MIAA football while Henderson State and Ouachita Baptist literally walk across the street to each other's stadium to see who will claim the rights to the Ravine.

Washburn cut into Emporia State's lead in 2019 with a 37-17 victory, but Emporia State struck back in 2021 and 2022, most recently defeating Washburn 42-35 in a thriller. Ouachita Baptist eked out a 24-21 victory in 2019, breaking the deadlock, and now have a 44-43-6 advantage in the series. This rivalry is reserved to close out the season on an annual basis. 

Below is a list of the 11 most played rivalries in DII football along with their series records and the most recent matchup between the two. 

DII football rivalries: The 11 most played rivalries in history

Games Teams (Series leader listed first) Series Record First game LAST meeting
136 South Dakota Mines, Black Hills State 65-61-11 1895 BHSU, 24-17
118 Emporia State, Washburn 59-53-6 1899 Emporia State, 42-35
110 Virginia State, Virginia Union 57-45-9 1900 VSU, 27-24 (OT)
109 Tuskegee, Morehouse 71-30-8 1902 Tuskeegee, 31-14
105 Southeastern Oklahoma St., East Central 50-47-8 1909 East Central, 42-38
99 Catawba, Lenoir-Rhyne 49-46-4 1907 Lenoir-Rhyne, 49-3
99 Pittsburg State, Emporia State 64-34-2 1915 Pitt  St., 14-13
97 Truman, Central Missouri 52-40-5 1905 N/A*
93 Ouachita Baptist, Henderson State 44-43-6 1907 OBU, 24-21
91 Truman, Northwest Missouri State 54-33-4 1908 N/A+
90 Pittsburg State, Washburn 63-26-1 1921 Washburn, 49-38

(Notes: *Have not played since 2013 | + Have not played since 2011. Truman left the MIAA for the Great Lakes Valley Conference, annual games no longer scheduled. All records via the official NCAA DII football record book on

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