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Wayne Cavadi | NCAA.com | October 14, 2022

More upsets rock the DII football Power 10 rankings — here's what you missed from another wild Saturday

Ferris State wins the 2021 DII football championship in dominant fashion

Three Power 10 teams lost. Four other teams in the top 25 lost. And Delta State just keeps on winning. 

DII FOOTBALL HUB: News, rankings, stats for 2022

It was just another wild week in DII football. Let's jump right into the big games and then see how they affected this week's DII football Power 10.

One week in, one week out: Carson-Newman downs No. 9 Newberry

This one is about as stunning as it gets. The Eagles, coming off a 1-9 season last year, entered this game 1-3. After a commanding 24-14 win, they have now doubled the win total from last season and picked up the program's 650th win in upset style. Newberry jumped out to a 14-0 lead, but with star quarterback Dre Harris out of the picture, the Eagles defense stopped Newberry in its tracks, firing off 24 unanswered points and securing the victory with a late interception off Brayden Phillips. They also held Harlon Hill contender Mario Anderson to 82 yards, his lowest output of the season after rushing for at least 101 yards in each of his first three games. 

Indiana (Pa) downs Slippery Rock to stay undefeated in PSAC

Last week, I had Slippery Rock just outside the Power 10, coming in at No. 11 on my top 25. It was because, as I said, "aside from a win against West Chester, the competition is a combined 1-11 in the other three wins." IUP came into this game undefeated as well and was the No. 1 offense in the PSAC, a mere 0.3 points ahead of Slippery Rock, staring down The Rock's No. 1 defense in the PSAC. It was Harlon Hill candidate Duane Brown who helped secure the victory with a monster 140-yard, two-touchdown day in sloppy conditions. The Crimson Hawks are now 4-0 and the lone undefeated team in the West, joining No. 3 Shepherd as the only teams off to a perfect start overall in the PSAC.

Sioux Falls claims the Key to the City, knocks off No. 7 Augustana (SD)

The Cougars, who cracked the D2Football top 25, won the battle for Sioux Falls, taking down an injury-riddled Augustana (SD). This one had the makings of a blow out as Cougars' quarterback Adam Mullen had an almost effortless first scoring drive to set the tone. Sioux Falls ran it up to 31-10 before Augustana came firing back, capping a 17-point fourth quarter with a pair of Casey Bauman touchdown passes. The Vikings even had the ball in the waning seconds with a chance to tie but fell just short. Sioux Falls star running back Thuro Reisdorfer had a big game controlling the clock, rushing for 136 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Expect Sioux Falls to climb, but don't be surprised to see just a small stumble for a very good Augustana team.

No. 25 Delta State drops 70 on No. 13 Valdosta State

Home sweet home. After a surprising 4-0 start against a tough schedule away from home, Delta State finally got to play in front of its home fans... and what a show they put on display. This is the third week Delta State has made an appearance in the games-of-the-week recaps. First, it was thanks to a defeat in the FCS ranks, then it was a victory over Power-10 West Florida, and now, a complete throttling of the defending national runners-up. Quarterback Patrick Shegog had himself a day, and could arguably be the D2Football offensive player of the week. He threw for 346 yards and four touchdowns while rushing for 65 yards and three touchdowns for a seven-touchdown day. He was responsible for four scores in the second quarter alone, putting this one out of reach by the half, 42-17. 

No. 2 Grand Valley State reigns supreme in Battle of the Valleys

Saginaw Valley State was off to a terrific 4-0 start this season but had a very large test ahead of it. The Cardinals had to go Grand Valley State and Ferris State — the top two teams in the country — in back-to-back weeks. It did not start well as the Lakers improved to 5-0 on the season with a commanding 29-10 win. Abe Swanson, who is vying for defender of the year honors, led this defense, posting 12 tackles (one for a loss), two quarterback hits, and an interception. The Oct. 15 Anchor-Bone Classic can't get here soon enough.

Go for two! Mississippi College stuns No. 6 West Georgia

This was a back-and-forth battle all night, but in the end, the Choctaws defeated the Wolves 39-38. Mississippi College had the upper hand in the second half, outscoring the Wolves 29-17. However, this one was decided in the final seconds. Marcus Williams punched in his second touchdown of the day, capping an impressive 105-yard rushing performance against this tough Wolves defense to put the Choctaws down one. Instead of going for the tie, Ron Craten punched in the two-point conversion and the Choctaws left victorious.

Obviously, the DII Power 10 once again has a new look. Who do we welcome this week to the party? Why let's take a look.

The 2022 DII football Power 10: Week 5

No. 1 Ferris State | Previous: 1: Last year, all the talk was around the offense. While the Bulldogs are doing just fine on that side of the ball once again, this defense is scary good. This defense has allowed just 15 points in its last three games and Caleb Murphy is putting his name on just about every watch list there is. The Bulldogs have a big test next week in Saginaw Valley State in their GLIAC opener.

No. 2 Grand Valley State | Previous: 2: The Lakers have quite the resume five games in and quite honestly, if Ferris State hadn't lost since 2019, they'd probably take over the No. 1 spot. In just five games, GVSU has three top-25 victories, two of which weren't particularly close. The thing that is scary is there is no weakness, as the depth on both sides of the ball is in rare air among DII football teams. Next up, the Lakers head to Massachusetts for a game with American International.

No. 3 Shepherd | Previous: 3: It was a messy day with rain falling much of the game, and Shippensburg jumped out early, but for Tyson Bagent and his steamroller of an offense, this one was well in hand by the second half. Running back Ronnie Brown had another monster day with 196 total yards and two touchdowns, making this team much more well-rounded than last year. Lock Haven is next for the Rams.

No. 4 Angelo State | Previous: 4: The Rams are another team that doesn't like to lose. Since Alfred Grear's injury, Nate Omayebu III — who was already a star running back in a two-back system — has made himself a Harlon Hill contender, with 310 yards rushing and five total touchdowns over the past three weeks. The Rams host Eastern New Mexico next week.

No. 5 Ouachita Baptist | Previous: 5: This team is just steamrolling people, winning 42-7 this past weekend. That gives the Tigers the best scoring offense in the GAC at 42.8, but they also have the best scoring defense in the league allowing a mere 12.4 points per game. Next up is Southwestern Oklahoma State next week. 

No. 6 Ashland | Previous: 10: Another week, another big win for the Eagles. This team is rolling right now and have so many weapons that can beat an opponent. Austin Brenner chucked the pigskin for 306 yards and two touchdowns (most going to Logan Bolin who had 143 yards on the day) and a pair of running backs scored two touchdowns each. Ashland looks to cement its stranglehold on the G-MAC next week against Walsh.

No. 7 Pittsburg State| Previous: Not ranked: Wow, this team is really good, looking like the Gorillas of old. The Gorillas are the lone 5-0 team in a stacked MIAA after a dominating 38-9 win over Missouri Southern. Chad Dodson Jr. continues to impress under center, this week throwing for 201 yards and three scores while rushing in another touchdown. We got a big one next week as Pittsburg State hosts Northwest Missouri State for the top spot in the MIAA. 

No. 8 Harding | Previous: 8: Harding had no problem bouncing back, taking down Southern Arkansas by 20 points. Per usual, it was a balanced rushing attack, and it was Will Fitzhugh’s turn to lead the backfield with 90 yards and two touchdowns. Next up is Southern Nazarene.

No. 9 Delta State | Previous: Not ranked: The Statesmen fly up the rankings and deservedly so. They aren't simply 5-0 overall and atop the Gulf South Conference, but they have defeated West Florida and Valdosta State — the GSC contenders annually — in doing so. That's quite the resume and while beating an FCS doesn't count towards tournament metrics, it tells us this team isn't scared of anyone. Next week, the DII Road Warriors are away from home once again in North Greenville.

No. 10 (tie) Northwest Missouri State, West Florida | Previous: First five out: Both teams had surprising losses last week and bounced back to the win column this week. The Bearcats' defense, especially that run defense, is so impressive, but the offense will need to come together for any chance to take down the Gorillas next week. West Florida is still finding its way, but if an overtime loss by a field goal knocked the Argos out of the Power 10 last week, a game-winning field goal with the seconds ticking off the clock gets them back in. Now they hit the road and will have their hands full with a West Georgia team needing to get back in the win column.

First five (ish) out (in alphabetical order)

The times, they are a-changing. For the first time since the advent of the Power 10 rankings in 2018, Valdosta State is not in the Power 10, nor the first five out. These are crazy times in DII football, but that's what makes us love it. 

There are also some teams that have been undervalued on my part, waiting to see how they handled big competition. This week, since we are one month into the season, you get what I think rounds out the full top 25 right now.

  • Albany State (GA)
  • Augustana (SD)
  • Black Hills State
  • Colorado School of Mines
  • Indiana (PA)
  • UIndy
  • Nebraska-Kearney
  • Newberry
  • New Haven
  • Notre Dame (OH)
  • Sioux Falls
  • Slippery Rock
  • Valdosta State
  • Virginia Union
  • West Georgia

Harlon Hill 2022 Watch: Stats that stood out

The goal of this list is to track the contenders throughout the season. That means some players may fall out, while others are added. Bold names indicate additions to the list this week 

EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW: The essential guide to the Harlon Hill Trophy

PLAYER SCHOOL POSITION WEEK 5 STATS
Brandon Alt Bemidji State QB 298 pass, 4 TD, 2 Int
Tyson Bagent Shepherd QB 252 pass, 2 TD, 13 rush
Andrew Brito Saginaw Valley State QB 120 pass, 31 rush, 1 TD, 2 Int
Demilon Brown Arkansas-Monticello QB 302 pass, 41 rush, 2 total TD, 1 Int
TJ Davis Nebraska-Kearney QB 133 pass, 78 rush, 4 total TD
Ivory Durham Valdosta State QB 185 pass, 34 rush, 2 TD, 1 Int
Harrison Frost West Georgia QB 274 pass, 2 TD, 2 Int, 5 rush
Braden Gleason Emporia State  QB 300 pass, 4 TD, 22 rush, 9 receiving
Noah Grover Slippery Rock QB 237 pass, 2 TD, 2 Int, 16 rush
Jayden Johannsen South Dakota Mines QB 350 pass, 2 TD, 2 Int
Turner Pullen McKendree QB 343 pass, 5 TD, 28 rush
Patrick Shegog Delta State QB 346 pass, 65 rush, 7 total TD
Kellen Simoncic Washburn QB 334 pass, 23 rush, 5 total TDs, 1 Int
Mario Anderson Newberry RB 82 rush, 3 receiving
Ronnie Brown Shepherd RB 171 rush, 2 TD, 25 receiving
Jada Byers Virginia Union RB 114 rush, 2 TD, 7 receiving
Toriano Clinton UIndy RB 207 rush, 16 receiving, 3 total TD
TJ Cole Ouachita Baptist RB 113 rush, 1 TD
Josh Cummings Western Colorado RB 126 rush, 1 TD
Shomari Mason West Florida  RB 153 rush, 5 receiving
Dwayne McGee Lenoir-Rhyne RB 80 rush, 2 TD
Nate Omayebu III Angelo State RB 83 rush, 2 TD
Jesse Sherwood Southwest Minnesota State RB DNP
Jordan Terrell Barton RB 171 rush, 1 TD, 19 receiving
Michael Zeman Colorado School of Mines RB 28 rush
Brendan Beaulieu Bemidji State WR 130 receiving, 1 TD
Duane Brown IUP WR  140 receiving, 2 TD, 9 rush
Jeremiah Bridges  South Dakota Mines WR 62 receiving
David Durden West Florida WR 82 receiving, 1 TD, 2 rush
Keilahn Harris Oklahoma Baptist WR 134 receiving, 1 TD
Danny Kitner UMary WR 41 receiving
James Letcher Jr. Washburn WR 74 receiving, 1 TD, 2 rush

Here's what else you missed in Week 5

1. Rivalries renewed: Black Hills State and South Dakota Mines met in the 137th Black Hills Brawl, the longest rivalry in DII football history. This year, first place was on the line, and the Yellow Jackets won for the first time since 2019, defeating South Dakota Mines 24-17 and improving to 5-0, the lone perfect team in the RMAC. The Turnpike Tussle, the second-longest rivalry in DII history, also went down this past weekend. In this battle — played annually up and down the 58-mile trek on the Kansas Turnpike — Emporia State came out on top in an instant classic, 42-35 over Washburn. In a battle of Harlon Hill quarterbacks, the Hornets Braden Gleason (300 yards, four touchdowns) and Washburn's Kellen Simoncic (334 yards, five total touchdowns) both delivered.

2. Another week, another FCS victory: This week, the Lane Dragons became the FCS slayers, defeating Tennessee State 28-27 in overtime. The Dragons put it all on the line and instead of playing for a second overtime, went for the two-point conversion and delivered. It was an Ike Brown touchdown run, followed by his two-point conversion that won the day. Lane is now 3-2 on the season.

3. Toriano Clinton appreciation post: UIndy is very good, and Toriano Clinton needs more talk around him. Sometimes watching him run, it reminds you of Barry Sanders; someone who can get stopped behind the line, but is so quick and explosive that it turns into a 50-yard touchdown run. He showed that this weekend with a 207-yard day and even reeled in a beautiful touchdown pass. Over the past two weeks alone he has 386 yards and six touchdowns. This coming weekend should be a good one as UIndy heads to McKendree, off to a surprising 4-1 start and with one of the best offenses in DII so far in 2022.

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