Another week of the DII football season is in the books. More of the mighty have fallen, and with losses to Bemidji State, Emporia State, East Stroudsburg and Texas A&M-Kingsville, there are just 19 undefeated teams remaining. The top 25 is destined for a new look come Monday.
The Homestake Trophy is going back to South Dakota Mines, a Power 10 upset, and the weekly dose of big-time box score stuffers were just some of the headlines. Here's what you missed in Week 5:
Missouri Western downs No. 10 Emporia State
The Griffons were a mere 5-6 last year, but after Saturday's top-10 upset, they improved to surprising 4-1 and in a second-place logjam in the tricky MIAA. Missouri Western fended off an Emporia State second-half comeback after building a 24-6 first-half lead. The two teams exchanged field goals in the final minute — with the Hornets' Caden Dodson tying the game with 46 seconds left and the Griffons' Cody Watson winning it with just seconds remaining. While the Hornets made great second-half adjustments and there was simply no answer to quarterback Braden Gleason (363 yards passing and two touchdowns) the Griffons tightened up and pulled off the biggest upset of the week.
No. 5 Minnesota State sneaks by then-No. 6 Bemidji State
Once again, this NSIC battle was a nationally-ranked matchup, and just like last year, it came down to the fourth quarter. Shen Butler Lawson Jr. had yet another monster day and scored the go-ahead touchdown to keep Minnesota State a perfect 5-0. Jacob Daulton (10 tackles, one sack, one interception) led the defensive charge that never let Brandon Alt get comfortable at quarterback for Bemidji State. The Beavers still remained right in it and had a chance to extend the game until Dakota Smith blocked the game-tying field goal. The NSIC is shaping up to be a real tough battle at the top, so this is a big leg up for the Mavericks.
Texas Permian Basin upsets Texas A&M-Kingsville
While this is an upset on paper — Texas A&M-Kingsville was nationally ranked in both top 25 polls — it was really a wake-up call to the Lone Star Conference and DII football... UTPB is a really good football team. Its lone loss was by a mere touchdown to Western Colorado and now it has its first big win under its belt. The Falcons defense held the Javelinas in check and the offense powered the Falcons to victory. It was the Falcons first win ever over a nationally ranked team.
Slippery Rock rolls Indiana (PA) in nationally ranked battle
Another one of my games of the week delivered. Slippery Rock came out and scored the first 28 points of the game in its first nationally-ranked battle of the year showing that this offense will not be slowed down by anyone. Surprisingly, the pass-heavy attack took a back seat to the rushing game as Khalid Dorsey ran for 123 yards and three touchdowns while Isaiah Edwards scored two touchdowns of his own. It was the first win for Slippery Rock over IUP in three years.
WEEK 5 STATS AND SCORES: The complete scoreboard
South Dakota Mines prevail in Black Hills Brawl
The Hardrockers improved to 66-61-11 in DII football's most-played rivalry, routing Black Hills State by a score of 49-14. South Dakota Mines scored the first three touchdowns of the game and never looked back. The defensive front was strong, recording four sacks and seven tackles for a loss. Of course, the dynamic Jayden Johannsen had a big day, totaling more than 300 yards and five scores. The Orediggers hope to keep the momentum rolling and play upset special against Western Colorado next week.
What else you missed...
The Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs are now 5-0 and look like real contenders. Quarterback Kyle Walljasper is a real player to watch, as he threw for 173 yards and three touchdowns while rushing for more than 100 yards for the fourth time this season. Kutztown has been a giant killer the past two weeks, downing nationally-ranked Shepherd and then undefeated Emporia State this week. It took an impressive comeback, led by Judd Novak passing for the final two scores of the game to give the Golden Bears the win. Quarterback Sammy Edwards has Valdosta State back in the Gulf South hunt and possibly top-25 conversation. He piled up his third game in five tries with at least four touchdowns and the Blazers improved to 5-0.
The DII football Power 10 Rankings: Week 5
No. 1 Ferris State | Previous: 1
The Bulldogs' first game back after the memorable with Montana was a good one. Ferris State's offense racked up 705 yards while holding the opponents to just 98 in a commanding 78-3 win. Quarterbacks Carson Gulker and Mylik Mitchell were responsible for six of the scores and Xavier Wade hauled in three touchdown passes. A complete victory, the Bulldogs host Saginaw Valley State next week looking for more of the same.
No. 2 Colorado School of Mines | Previous: 2
The Orediggers' offense has now outscored its RMAC opponents 160-28 after another multiple-touchdown victory this past weekend. John Matocha has now thrown for 1,523 yards and 14 touchdowns, but it was Noah Roper who put forth his best game to date, piling up 110 yards and two touchdowns on the ground. Colorado Mesa — the only RMAC team to defeat Mines the past three seasons — is up next.
No. 3 (tied) Pittsburg State, Grand Valley State | Previous: 3 (tied)
And just like last year, the Gorillas are the last undefeated team standing in the MIAA. Now 5-0, Pittsburg State is rolling, dominating its way to a 42-7 victory — its most lopsided of the season. The MIAA's No. 2 scoring defense takes on the high-flying offense of Emporia State next week, so the Gorillas will be put to the test on both sides of the ball.
The Lakers utterly dominated Saginaw Valley State in its return from a bye week. Grand Valley State allowed just 142 total yards in a balanced victory with all its weapons firing. Four different Lakers recorded a sack, while the defense added two touchdowns and the special teams had a kickoff and punt return. The Lakers go out of conference against Kentucky State next week.
No. 5 Minnesota State | Previous: 5
The Mavericks have the top-scoring offense in the NSIC and that should keep rolling this week against an MSU Moorhead team that seems to find itself in a shootout on a weekly basis. Shen Butler Lawson Jr. has been outstanding and as long as that line continues to protect him, it seems there may be no slowing the Mavericks' offense.
No. 6 Ouachita Baptist | Previous: 7
Wide receiver Connor Flannigan recorded his fourth-straight game with a receiving touchdown and Kendel Givens scored two more times in another dominating victory from the Tigers. They are outscoring their opponents 235-70 thus far in 2023 and that doesn't seem to be slowing down anytime soon. East Central is up next in a must-win as Ouachita Baptist prepares for No. 9 Harding the week after.
No. 7 Delta State | Previous: 8
The Statesmen got another complete victory as Patrick Shegog scored through the air and on the ground, the special teams delivered a kickoff return for a touchdown, and Marlon Windham had a pick-six. Delta State will need the momentum of its 5-0 start as it prepares to face a resurgent Valdosta State, which is also a perfect 5-0 to start the season. That will be a battle of the top two scoring offenses in the Gulf South.
No. 8 West Florida | Previous: 9
You'll be hard-pressed to find a better quarterback-wide receiver duo in the division right now. Peewee Jarrett totaled six touchdowns (five passing, one rushing) while throwing for more than 400 yards. His favorite receiver was once again John Jiles who has been one of DII football's best all year. The Argos are rolling and have now scored 49 and 48 points in their first two Gulf South contests. Shorter is on deck.
No. 9 Harding | Previous: 10 (tied)
Every time the Bison put up serious points, you expect to see a monster day from one of the backs, but that never seems to be the case. While Andrew Miller led the charge with 134 yards and two touchdowns, he was one of four different Harding players to rush one in the end zone. The Bison are one of the top-scoring teams in the land, dropping 50.4 points per week, but it also has the best-scoring defense in the GAC. Northwestern Oklahoma State awaits.
No. 10 Slippery Rock | Previous: First five out
The Rock has been impressive, and utterly dominating nationally ranked Indiana (PA) sees them jump into the top 10 for the first time this season. The Rock is now the lone remaining undefeated team in the PSAC and has an advantage in the PSAC West. Slippery Rock's offense is tops in the conference and paired with its No. 3-ranked scoring defense, this team is clicking on all cylinders. Mercyhurst is up next week.
First five out (in alphabetical order)
- Bemidji State: The Beavers are still a very good football team and can bounce back in a big way against Wayne State (Neb.) this week. Let's not forget, this team was a blocked field goal away from a potential win.
- Benedict: Defense tally: 13 points allowed... all year. Loobert Denelus — one of my 22 players to watch this season — has three multi-sack games in a row and nine on the year.
- Davenport: The Panthers left no doubt this week in a big 28-0 victory. They will have to keep piling up the points and wins before it closes out its season against Ferris State and Grand Valley State.
- Lenoir-Rhyne: It appears the old Dwayne McGee is back as the star running back has run for 100 yards in all four of his games and topped the 200-yard mark this week. The Bears are 5-0 with a big matchup against Limestone this week.
- UIndy: Gavin Sukup had another nice game, totaling three touchdowns and really has this Greyhound offense clicking. William Jewell is up next.
Week 5 box score stuffers: The DII football five stars
This week, we have co-players of the week with a pair of unreal performances. Shen Butler Lawson Jr. is simply bulldozing the competition. In the heated top-10 showdown, he ran for 235 yards and two touchdowns — his second 200-yard day of the season. It was also his third two-touchdown game in a row and he is quickly pulling away as the nation's best back.
West Florida's John Jiles is getting better each week. While his quarterback Peewee Jarrett had a huge day, it was Jiles who helped make it happen. He reeled in 11 receptions for 277 yards and three scores — all three of which were greater than 20 yards. He is somehow getting better each week after posting his then-season-best 175-yard, two-touchdown day last week.
- Week 1: Braden Gleason, Emporia State
- Week 2: Zach Zebrowski, Central Missouri
- Week 3: Jordan Terrell, Barton
- Week 4: Patrick Shegog, Delta State
- Week 5: Shen Butler Lawson, Jr., Minnesota State; John Jiles, West Florida
Each week, I’ll pick five stars of the week for the passing, rushing and receiving performances that stood out. Here is the Week 5 team.
|Casey Bauman||Augustana (SD)||QB||326 pass, 44 rush, 7 total TD|
|Sammy Edwards||Valdosta State||QB||393 pass, 10 rush, 6 TD|
|Peewee Jarrett||West Florida||QB||419 pass, 7 rush, 6 total TD|
|Colin Johnson||UNC Pembroke||QB||334 passing, 94 rush, 6 TD|
|Jack Strand||MSU Moorhead||QB||448 pass, 4 TD|
|Curtis Allen||Virginia Union||RB||151 rush, 22 receiving, 2 TD|
|Ronald Clackman||Tiffin||RB||189 rush|
|Latravious Boyd||Wayne State (Neb)||RB||196 rush, 3 TD|
|Shen Butler Lawson Jr.||Minnesota State||RB||235 rush, 2 TD|
|Dwayne McGee||Lenoir-Rhyne||RB||201 rush, 3 TD|
|Trey Dixon||UNC Pembroke||WR||240 yards, 4 TD|
|Yogi Flagler Jr.||McKendree||WR||166 yards, 2 TD|
|John Jiles||West Florida||WR||277 yards, 3 TD|
|Dewaylon Ingram||Northern State||WR||131 yards, 2 TD|
|Arkell Smith||Central Missouri||WR||153 yards, 1 TD|