Category Archives: Football

What we learned in the first round of the DII Football Championship

(This was run on NCAA.com, please see the full article HERE)

Welcome to the 2018 DII Football Championship. Or should we call it Upset City?

The first round of the tournament went just as expected. That is to say, it was completely unpredictable.

No. 7 Wingate started the day by taking down No. 2-seeded West Georgia, the No. 10 team in DII football. No 6 New Haven followed suit, taking down No. 3 West Chester in a Super Region One that saw all three games end in upset fashion. Two former national champions entered the day ranked as sixth seeds. Both — Northwest Missouri State and Texas A&M-Commerce — advanced in convincing fashion. All said, there were seven lower-seeded teams that punched their ticket to the second round.

MORE: Interactive bracket | Printable bracket | Buy 2018 championship tickets

That didn’t mean some of the top teams didn’t perform, however. Here’s what we learned in the first round of the DII Football Championship.

Northwest Missouri State is back in postseason form

Last year was an odd one for the Bearcats. They battled injury, actually had a losing streak (albeit two whole games) and were eliminated in the first round in a heartbreaking 21-18 loss to Ashland. The 2018 Northwest Missouri State team put together a complete effort in the first round and look like that scary team that ran to back-to-back undefeated seasons.

Northwest Football@NWBearcatFB

TOUCHDOWN BEARCATS! Northwest’s Isaiah Strayhorn scores his second rushing touchdown of the day – this one from three yards out – and gives the Bearcats a 35-17 lead at Grand Valley State. 4:06 left in the 4th qtr. Northwest has rushed for 313 yards against the Lakers

Freshman quarterback Braden Wright has garnered most of the talk this season with an MIAA Freshman of the Year campaign, but it was his running game that picked it up today. Isaiah Strayhorn averaged 15.5 yards per carry in amassing 171 yards and two touchdowns while Josh Caldwell added 147 yards and two touchdowns as well. That notorious Rich Wright defense did its thing, limiting a strong Grand Valley State offense to just 239 yards and 17 points. Austen Eskew powered the pass rush with three sacks while Jake Richards added nine tackles and two interceptions. The Bearcats played a well-balanced game and next week’s showdown with No. 2 Ferris State may just be the game to watch.

MORE: We picked our bracket and sleepers for the DII Football Championship

Super Chargers fueled by great quarterback play

There are two Chargers — New Haven and Hillsdale — in the DII Football Championship. Both were underdogs, both are in the second round. Both were fueled by the tremendous play of their quarterbacks.

Heading into the week, NCAA.com called Hillsdale the Super Region One sleeper, mainly because, “the Chance Stewart to Trey Brock connection is as fun as any to watch in DII, giving them a dynamic duo that may surprise a few people.” The two delivered in the first round, as Stewart threw for 305 yards and three touchdowns, with 170 of those yards and two of those touchdowns going to Brock. Hillsdale now has a date with No. 1-seeded Notre Dame (OH) in the second round, and its pass attack should be a fun counter to the Jaleel McLaughlin-led rush-heavy Falcons offense.

New Haven Football@NewHavenNation

TOUCHDOWN Ju’an Williams to tie the game!! 🏈⚡️

New Haven: 28
West Chester: 28

New Haven rolled through its DII slate perfect until dropping a thrilling 17-13 loss in the season finale to LIU Post. The win cost them the Northeast-10 championship, but perhaps the end result lit a fire that makes them a dangerous threat this postseason. LIU Post was upset by Slippery Rock while the unranked Chargers, with an obvious chip on their shoulder, went blow-for-blow with No. 8 West Chester, winning 35-28 and moving on to a showdown against The Rock.

Both quarterbacks played well in the game, but it was New Haven’s Ajee Patterson who had the edge. The Chargers scored five touchdowns and Patterson had all of them. He threw for 265 yards and three touchdowns and though he only netted four yards on the ground, he added two one-yard rushing touchdowns. His West Chester counterpart A.J. Long had a fine day as well but fell one touchdown short.

MORE: A region-by-region look at the DII Football Championship

Slippery Rock’s Wes Hills can run

The Rock was one of two No. 7 seeds to advance. They went into Brookville, NY facing an LIU Post rush defense that was No. 10 in DII football. That didn’t seem to bother Slippery Rock running back Wes Hills one bit.

Rock Athletics

@Rock_Athletics

FB: Let’s talk about this guy for a second. Today, Jake Chapla set the SRU single-season record for made field goals (15) and took over sole possession of the all-time career record for made field goals (37). Oh yea… he’s only a junior.

Hills found a second gear five weeks ago and has been borderline unstoppable since minus a “rough” outing against West Chester in the PSAC Championship when he still ran for 92 yards. Hills posted three 200-yard games in a row to close out the regular season and he came close to another one Saturday. The senior running back ripped off 167 yards and a touchdown against a Pioneers defense that allowed just 93.7 yards per game this season. Next up is another NE10 foe in a New Haven team that allowed 169.5 yards per game and 13 touchdowns on the ground this season.

MORE: Watch the DII plays of the week for Week 11

Tarleton State is for real

In the most complete game of the first round, the Texans utterly dominated Azusa Pacific 58-0. Everyone came to play and put up some serious numbers in the process.

Running back Xavier Turner has exploded in the second half of the season, now posting seven-straight 100-yard games. Five of those games were better than 164 yards rushing, and Saturday was more of the same as Turner posted his third 200-yard performance of the season while scoring three touchdowns. Despite the ground control, quarterback Ben Holmes was in charge as well, responsible for three touchdowns of his own.

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Tarleton Athletics@TarletonSports

TARLETON PLAYOFF RECORD!

Xavier Turner is the first Texan in school history to rush for 200 yards in an NCAA playoff game! 206 yds, 3 TDs Texans lead 51-0 heading into 4Q

And how about that defense? The Texans posted their second straight 58-0 shutout and have now outscored their opponents 175-3 over the last three weeks. Up next is the defending national champion Texas A&M-Commerce, who the Texans beat on October 13, 47-21. But don’t think this will be an easy matchup.

Last season, the Lions entered the tournament the No. 5 seed and opened the postseason with three consecutive upsets, including taking down Super Region Four No. 1-seed Central Washington and the No. 1-ranked Minnesota State Mavericks. Head coach Colby Carthel whipped up some of that postseason magic in the first round, lighting up DII football’s third-ranked scoring defense with 33 points. That Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs defense came to play, scoring two touchdowns, but so did the Lions, holding the Bulldogs to just 188 total yards and scoring a couple of touchdowns itself.

Throw away the records and stats. This Lions vs. Texans matchup is a Lone Star Conference rivalry on DII football’s biggest stage. Be ready for a war.

Three surprises that shouldn’t be all that surprising

Bowie State defeated West Alabama in a shootout. Amir Hall still flies under-the-radar but shouldn’t any longer. The stud quarterback threw for 360 yards and a touchdown while rushing for 51 yards and two more touchdowns. Next up is No. 1 Valdosta State. If there is a quarterback in DII football that can hang with the high-octane Blazers’ offense, it’s Hall.

Colorado State-Pueblo’s defense held Colorado School of Mines to 37 yards rushing and 17 points. Both were the Orediggers lowest outputs of the season. Brandon Payer, Darius Williams, Kyle Rosenbrock, and company are the real deal, holding Isaac Harker under 300 yards passing for the first time since Oct. 6 and just the third time all season (twice were against the ThunderWolves). They stuffed Cameron Mayberry, the No. 5 rusher in DII football, to 1.55 yards per carry. It was sweet revenge as Mayberry scorched the ThunderWolves for 203 yards and three touchdowns earlier this season. They face No. 1-seeded Minnesota State next.

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CSU-Pueblo Football@CSUPFootball

TOUCHDOWN!!! Another BIG RUN by Marché Dennard, as he goes 40 yards on 3rd-and-2 to the end zone!! PAT blocked, Pack lead 30-10 with 12:04 left in the 4th.

Lenoir-Rhyne scored 43 points and rolled to 22-point victory. The Bears are also a bit under-the-radar, but this offense finds a way to score points in bunches without having any players atop the leaderboards. Lenoir-Rhyne has not scored less than 30 points all season. Next up is the surprise Wingate Bulldogs who convincingly upset No. 10 West Georgia. These two have faced once before this season, with the Bears coming out on top 31-24. Expect another close one in Round 2.

MORE: Programs with the most DII football titles | DII football news

How the demise of the USFL helped me choose my presidential candidate

I’m old. I know I am old because working in the two industries in which I do — writing and then the restaurant business to make that extra jingle — I am surrounded by those younger than myself. I find myself often saying things that must sound like a foreign language as I have to explain what the heck I am talking about, like most recently when I interviewed Luke Dykstra — Son of Nails — and Wally Backman weeks apart and tried to explain how cool that was. I guess you had to be there. In 1986. Like I was.

Another one of those things was the USFL.

Keep reading for more on how the USFL has shaped my voting trends

THE 2016 NEW YORK GIANTS: RIDICULOUSLY EARLY PREDICTIONS

Here is my take on the NY Football Giants 2016 season based on the NFL schedule that was just released.  Albeit crazy early, the Giants will be an improved team, however making the playoffs will mean having to win the NFC East, and that in all likelihood will not happen for this seasons team.

Keep reading for Fan Duel Fee’s predictions on the Giants 2016 season

The NFL Rundown with SBJ: What the heck is going on?

I don’t know who Angelo Cataldi is. I have never heard him speak anywhere, and certainly not on the Philadelphia airways. SBJ knows who he is — and while I can’t agree or disagree with SBJ —  he’s clearly not happy with him. So much so, that he is questioning his entire allegiance to his favorite football team. In this week’s rundown, SBJ ponders life as an Eagles fan while still coming at you with his daily dose of what went right and wrong in last week’s prime time games. Without further ado… take it away Sportsbook Jesus.

SBJ’s weekly rundown

NFL Rundown with SBJ: 1,2,3.. what are we gonna do?

Another 5-1 week, folks. My Sportsbook Jesus is 10-2 the past two weeks. The only person you are hurting by not listening to my NFL odds man is yourself. And your lonely wallet. Your lonely, lonely wallet. Without further ado, I give you the best FREE picks on the intraweb courtesy of SBJ.

THE NFL RUNDOWN WITH THE SPORTSBOOK JESUS

See where SBJ went right in Week 5 as he preps you for Week 6!

SIX free winners for NFL Opening Day? You got it, pal!

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, I met one of the most talented, creative and humorous guys I had ever known. 22 years later he came to me and asked me if he could try out his hand in writing. I asked him what he knows best, and his response was winning people money. How can I turn that down?

So, Wayniac Nation, welcome if you would my long time friend Jared, the self proclaimed Sportsbook Jesus (I pronounce it Hey Zues because it is simply more fun). He brings you six free picks to try and get your NFL season started off on the right foot. Good luck and

may-the-odds-be-ever-in-your-favor-38

What is the Sportsbook Jesus feelin’ this week? Keep reading to find out!

The Wayniac Nation Fantasy Football Preview: Busts, Breakthroughs, Sleepers and MVPs

People often ask me, “Wayniac, shouldn’t you be winning fantasy championships year in and year out if I am supposed to trust you as a fantasy expert?” My reply is often the same: “Are you that stupid?”

As a blogger and fantasy player, I give you weekly advice about the game of fantasy football. I don’t get to draft every player I discuss, nor do I have many of them on my teams. Plus, I have to square off against my fellow experts, three of which in this preview have single handedly prevented me from winning a championship the past two seasons.

People also ask me why I started a blog. The main reason was to voice my opinion. But along the way, I formed the Wayniac Nation team. My friends know sports, especially fantasy, and I knew if I gave them the platform to find their voice they would.

Last year, we did ok in our preview (relive the memories right HERE), but as the season grew on, our weekly Starts and Sits grew stronger and stronger. This year, I added my wife to the panel of fantasy experts, as she has become quite the fantasy geek under three years of my tutelage. This is long, but my crack team of experts really have thrown together a great Fantasy Football Preview that has me proud to think how far we have come. Read it. Live it. Draft it.

No need for a magazine, all the fantasy advice you need is a click away!

Fantasy football Wayniac Nation style: A new era in fantasy football

Yup. It’s back, folks. That time of year that completely monopolizes your everyday life as you sit and check the likes of Rotoworld and Bleacher Report on an hourly basis. Fantasy football season is abound!

I have already summonsed the Wayniac Nation Fantasy Football team, and next week will be our Second Annual Breakthroughs, Busts and Sleepers Special. I got excited sending out the email to the team, I hope you are excited to see what they have to say.

But that’s next week. Today, I have a question that needs to be answered. Is there a new era in fantasy football?

Drafting a WR first overall??? Find out why you should start thinking about it.