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Wayne Cavadi | NCAA.com | October 11, 2022

GLIAC powers remain atop the latest DII football Power 10 rankings ahead of Anchor-Bone Classic

DII football 2022 midseason review, postseason predictions

We are about halfway through the regular season and some of the normally predictable storylines have been downright... well, unpredictable. Valdosta State had its third loss, Northwest Missouri State, now with two losses, is battling for its postseason life, and teams like last year's five-win Benedict, Delta State and Texas A&M-Kingsville are undefeated and climbing the rankings on a weekly basis.

At least Ferris State is doing Ferris State things... for now.

DII FOOTBALL HUB: News, rankings, stats for 2022

This coming weekend, No. 1 Ferris State and No. 2 Grand Valley State go head-to-head in a battle of DII supremacy. It will no doubt be the game of the season so far. But that's next week. Let's get caught up on the week that was in DII football.

West Florida is back on track with strong second half

(Photo courtesy of Morgan Givens, West Florida)

I was on hand at this top-25 showdown, and it was a good old-fashioned GSC slugfest. There was plenty of impressive play to walk away with, mostly on the offensive side of the ball as West Florida walked away victorious 42-28. 

Head coach Pete Shinnick has an eye, and perhaps a magic wand, for quarterbacks. Byron "PeeWee" Jarrett looked good against a tough defense, throwing for 235 yards and two scores while rushing for 74 yards and another touchdown. He is still a bit interception prone, but he has an absolute rifle of an arm and can zip passes all over the field. Wide receiver David Durden is an NFL talent: he's tough — going over the middle into traffic for big plays — and athletic, as you can see above, coming down with the touchdown that put the game out of reach. He finished with 142 yards and that big touchdown. Running back Shomari Mason is a ball of dynamite and can reel off big plays, rounding out a very dangerous trio.

The Wolves have an uphill battle to return to the postseason, but they have a fun running back to help them try. Jaxton Carson is heating up with his second 100-yard game in a row (this one was for a game-high 148 yards) and his second three-touchdown game in a row. Listed at just 5-8 and 229 pounds, he is a wrecking ball, runs very hard and is very tough to bring down... especially when he is in the air. 

Welcome to the Jungle: The MIAA is Gorilla Country

This was a classic MIAA fight to the finish, but in the end, Pittsburg State rose victorious 24-22. That moves the Gorillas to 6-0 and the lone undefeated team in the MIAA. It looked like this one was going to get out of hand early, as the Gorillas rumbled out to a 21-3 halftime lead, but Northwest Missouri State did those Bearcat things. The Bearcats defense held Pitt State to just 21 total yards in the second half — TWENTY ONE —  allowing the offense to get back in the game, a comeback that fell just short despite an impressive 19-3 second-half run. Gorillas' quarterback Chad Dodson Jr., whose name is becoming familiar in these recaps, had another nice day, throwing for 283 yards and three touchdowns despite the Bearcats making things very difficult for him.

Indiana (PA) keeps the Coal Pail, stays undefeated

In this classic PSAC rivalry, nationally ranked IUP pulled off the fourth-quarter comeback to take down rival Cal (PA) in the 2022 Coal Bowl, 22-21. The win brings the series to a Vulcans' 8-5 advantage. The fourth quarter was all IUP, as the Crimson Hawks outgained the Vulcans 149-65, but Cal didn't go away. The Vulcans had the ball on the final drive, but a costly penalty ran 10 seconds off the clock, playing to IUP's favor. Pitt State transfer Mak Sexton had another nice day under center for IUP, tossing the ball for 305 yards and a score.

The 2022 DII football Power 10: Week 6

No. 1 Ferris State | Previous: 1: This was one of the tougher weeks Ferris State has had in a while, eking out a 33-28 victory in the final minutes. As expected, a very good Saginaw Valley State team gave the Bulldogs a run for the money. Ferris State jumped out early to a 20-7 lead in the first quarter, but the Cardinals pumped the brakes on the Bulldogs' offense and had the lead late into the fourth quarter. A 13-0 final stanza by the defending champs helped them stay perfect as a matchup with Grand Valley State awaits. That's 32-straight GLIAC victories for the Bulldogs and 19 wins in a row. Caleb Murphy had three more sacks and now has 12.5 through five games in 2022.

No. 2 Grand Valley State | Previous: 2: The Lakers traveled out of conference and had little trouble moving to 6-0. They completely dominated American International 45-3. Tariq Reid handled the scoring duties as he ran for 151 yards and three scores, while a pair of Grand Valley State quarterbacks tossed touchdown passes showing this team's depth. Next week can't get here soon enough.

No. 3 Shepherd | Previous: 3: Tyson Bagent had a quiet day by his standards, throwing for just 211 yards and totaling four touchdowns. Of course, that was because it all came in the first half, as Shepherd cruised to a 72-7 victory this week. This offense is clicking and will be difficult for Millersville to handle next week.

No. 4 Angelo State | Previous: 4: Well, hello Zach Bronkhorst. The Rams' quarterback, who already took a big step forward this year, had one of his most significant days of the season, throwing for a season-high four touchdowns. In fact, those four scores were better than any game he played last year. With an already deep rushing attack, if Bronkhorst continues to progress, Angelo State gets into that "how do you beat this team?" conversation. Western New Mexico finds out next week. 

No. 5 Ouachita Baptist | Previous: 5: The steamroller known as the Tigers' offense keeps chugging along, this week dropping 63 points in a decisive victory. Both TJ Cole and Kendel Givens went off, rushing for a combined 247 yards and five scores. This weekend should be another high-scoring affair against the Boll Weevils. 

No. 6 Pittsburg State| Previous: 7: I already talked about just how good this team is and the Gorillas have a very winnable game this coming week against Lincoln (MO). Pittsburg State is scoring 30 points per game and is tied atop the MIAA in scoring defense allowing 16 points per game. That kind of score differential is a lot for opponents to overcome.

No. 7 Delta State | Previous: 9: Ho hum. The Statesmen won another game on the road, now 5-0 away from home on the season. This one was yet another commanding victory, winning 47-14. Patrick Shegog was everywhere again, throwing for two scores and rushing for another. The defense forced four interceptions (one for a 99-yard pick-six) and racked up six sacks. West Alabama gets the next shot to try and stop the Statesmen.

No. 8 Ashland | Previous: 6: The Eagles do drop a few, but it's purely based on the schedule the other teams that passed them have played. Ashland stayed undefeated this week in shutout fashion downing Walsh 35-0. The two-headed running back monster of Larry Martin and Gei'vonni Washington did their thing, but it was a balanced attack everywhere, with both special teams and defensive scores. Next week should be a good test against a very good Ohio Dominican team.

No. 9 Harding | Previous: 8: Harding drops a spot for the same reason as Ashland, strength of schedule. It is certainly not because of strength of offense, which racked up another 56 points this weekend. Thirteen different players had at least one rushing attempt, while four of them scored at least once. Next week should be a fun one against Henderson State.

No. 10 West Florida | Previous: 10 (tied): That was a big win the Argos needed on the resume, and let's be honest, to at least stay in striking distance of Delta State. The offense is very fun to watch and will cause trouble. A game against a vastly improved Shorter team awaits.

First five out (in alphabetical order)

  • Colorado School of Mines
  • Indiana (PA)
  • UIndy
  • Nebraska-Kearney
  • Sioux Falls

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 6 STATS
Brandon Alt Bemidji State QB 255 pass, 2 TD, 14 rush
Tyson Bagent Shepherd QB 211 pass, 1 rush, 4 total TD
Andrew Brito Saginaw Valley State QB 168 pass, 4 rush, 4 total TD
Demilon Brown Arkansas-Monticello QB 163 pass, 57 rush, 2 total TD
TJ Davis Nebraska-Kearney QB 90 pass, 162 rush, 3 total TD
Ivory Durham Valdosta State QB 215 pass, 2 TD, 2 Int, 36 rush
Braden Gleason Emporia State  QB 317 pass, 34 rush, 4 total TD 
Jayden Johannsen South Dakota Mines QB 262 pass, 146 rush, 5 total TD
Turner Pullen McKendree QB 362 pass, 3 total TD, 1 Int
Patrick Shegog Delta State QB 259 pass, 72 rush, 3 total TD, 2 Int
Kellen Simoncic Washburn QB 280 pass, 4 TD, 1 Int, 17 rush
Mario Anderson Newberry RB 159 rush, 3 TD, 14 receiving
Ronnie Brown Shepherd RB 92 rush, 24 receiving, 1 TD
Jada Byers Virginia Union RB 205 rush, 2 TD
Toriano Clinton UIndy RB 272 rushing, 45 receiving, 5 TD
TJ Cole Ouachita Baptist RB 129 rush, 3 TD
Shomari Mason West Florida  RB 71 rush, 2 TD
Dwayne McGee Lenoir-Rhyne RB 117 rush, 1 TD, 48 receiving
Nate Omayebu III Angelo State RB 65 rush, 31 receiving
Thuro Reisdorfer Sioux Falls RB 126 rush, 2 TD, 11 receiving
Jordan Terrell Barton RB 180 rush, 1 TD, 4 receiving
Emanuel Wilson Fort Valley State RB 89 rush, 2 TD, 25 receiving
Michael Zeman Colorado School of Mines RB 147 rush, 2 TD
Brendan Beaulieu Bemidji State WR 140 receiving, 1 TD
Duane Brown IUP WR  50 receiving, 17 rush
Jeremiah Bridges  South Dakota Mines WR 100 receiving, 1 TD
David Durden West Florida WR 142 yards, 1 TD
Marquis Gray Southeastern Oklahoma St. WR 85 receiving, 1 TD
Keilahn Harris Oklahoma Baptist WR 1 TD (box score unavailable)
Danny Kitner UMary WR 58 receiving
James Letcher Jr. Washburn WR 46 receiving, 1 TD

What else you missed in Week 6

  • Last week, I took a little heat for saying that UIndy's Toriano Clinton reminded me of Barry Sanders in his college days. While it may be a very tough comp to live up to, Clinton piled up 317 yards and five total scores this week, making for his second 200-yard rushing day in a row. In this battle of Harlon Hill hopefuls, McKendree's Turner Pullen also delivered with 362 yards and two scores. Pullen has now eclipsed the 300-yard mark in five of his six games this season.
  • A few weeks back, I discussed 12 teams that were off to surprising starts and told you to watch quarterback Jack Mangel on Concord (WV). Did you watch him this week? If you didn't you missed a 444-yard, five-touchdown day as the Mountain Lions improved to 5-1.
  • Texas A&M-Kingsville is really good at football. After improving to 6-0 this week, the Javelinas now have the top scoring offense and top scoring defense in the Lone Star Conference. And that's with Super Region Four title contender Angelo State in the same conference. We're two weeks away from the showdown of undefeated LSC superpowers. 
  • The SIAC is going to be a wild battle to the very last day of the season. Normally this time of year, we have to discuss how under-the-radar Albany State (GA) is, and at 6-0, the Golden Rams are still not talked about enough. But this week, Ferris State and Grand Valley State aren't the only two conference superpowers going head-to-head. Albany State can make a big statement when it hosts fellow nationally ranked squad — and still undefeated — Benedict in a huge game. The Golden Rams still also have Fort Valley State on the slate, which is now 5-1 with its only loss coming to Benedict. This should be a fun fight to the finish. 
  • Tuskegee continued its dominance in one of the oldest rivalries in DII football taking down Morehouse 31-14. It is the most one-sided rivalry on the list.

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