NCAA DII Recap
No. 21 Texas A&M-Commerce Lions (8-2, 7-1)
Last Week: Texas A&M-Commerce scored a touchdown late in the first quarter and late in the fourth quarter to seal an important 17-3 road win over Angelo State. Miklo Smalls completed 14-of-22 passes for 142 yards and a touchdown while adding a touchdown rushing. Jemal Williams rushed for 89 yards on 10 carries. Chris Williams led the Lions defense with six tackles, three solo, and two tackles for loss as the defense held ASU to only 161 total yards including 68 total rushing yards in the game. Click this link to read more about the Lions big win.
The Verdict: The Lions secured their fifth straight trip to the playoffs with the road win last week. However, thanks to the NCAA Division II deciding to change the playoff format this season, the Lions first-round opponent is the LSC champions. In the old format, TAMUC would have probably been a No. 5 seed and traveled to Colorado this week.
This Week: TAMUC travels to play No. 3 Tarleton in the first round of the playoff on Saturday afternoon at 1 p.m.
Angelo State Rams (8-3, 5-3)
Last Week: An incredible defensive battle took place at LeGrand Stadium and unfortunately for ASU, they were unable to score enough points as they lost 17-3 at home to No. 23 Texas A&M-Commerce. Running back Daven Manning led the offense with 68 yards rushing on 18 carries as the Rams gained only 161 total yards in the contest. The Rams defense was outstanding and was led by linebacker Hunter Kyle who recorded 14 tackles, six solo, two tackles for loss and two sacks.
The Verdict: This is obviously a devastating loss for the Rams as it kept them from earning a spot in the playoffs. It was a successful season under first-year head coach Jeff Girsch and ASU showed great improvement after two consecutive six-win seasons and two straight appearances in the Heart of Texas Bowl.
This Week: ASU has concluded its season.
West Texas A&M Buffaloes (8-3, 5-3)
Last Week: WT ran out to a 24-point halftime lead and held on for a big 34-24 win at home over rival Midwestern State last Saturday. Nick Gerber completed 13-of-24 passes for 218 yards and three touchdowns while adding 40 yards rushing on eight carries. Semaj Mitchell and Logan Vallo each scored a receiving touchdown. Jordan Johnson led the rushing attack with 92 yards rushing on 15 carries while Vallo and Khalil Harris each added a rushing touchdown. Linebacker Hayden Dennis had 13 tackles, five solo, and one tackle for loss while Tobias Harris had another outstanding game with 11 tackles, 10 solo, two tackles for loss, one quarterback hurry, broke up three passes and intercepted a pass.
The Verdict: The Buffs finished the season with the most overall wins since 2013 and most LSC wins since 2016 as head coach Hunter Hughes has done a remarkable job in his first three years on campus. The Buffs recent success combined with the beautiful new stadium has the future of the program looking solid.
This Week: The Buffs have concluded their season.
Midwestern State Mustangs (5-6, 3-5)
Last Week: MSU-Texas trailed by 24 points at halftime and made a run in the third quarter before losing 34-24 on the road to West Texas A&M. Triston Williams and Kaylor Sullivan combined to complete 23-of-40 passes for 319 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions. Lazarus Fisher led the rushing attack with 77 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries. Defensive back Marcus Wilkerson had another incredible game with 14 tackles, five solo, and one-half tackle for loss.
The Verdict: This was a tough season for the Mustangs as they lacked the depth to overcome injuries. This is the first losing season for MSU since 1999 and the first losing season in Bill Maskill’s 19 seasons as head coach, including 17 seasons at MSU. The Mustangs will reload and get ready for another run next season.
This Week: MSU-Texas has concluded its season.
UT Permian Basin Falcons (4-7, 2-6)
Last Week: UTPB exploded in the first half last Saturday and ended its season with a dominating 70-14 win at home over Texas A&M-Kingsville. Quarterback Kameron Mathis completed 10-of-13 passes for 183 yards and three touchdowns while rushing for 103 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries. Davion Sutton added 148 yards rushing and two touchdowns on 15 carries while Marquis Simmons had 14 carries for 145 yards. Senior linebacker Chris Hoad went out in style with 14 tackles, five solo, one tackle for loss and scored a touchdown when sophomore linebacker John O’Kelley intercepted a pass and handed the ball to Hoad at the 18-yard line for the touchdown in a show of selflessness. The video of this play has made the rounds on social media.
The Verdict: The Falcons had a fantastic season by any standard as they finished their fourth season of football in program history by setting records with most overall wins and most conference wins in a season. Head coach Justin Carrigan is building a solid program at UTPB and has a talented young group returning for next season.
This Week: UTPB has concluded its season.
Texas A&M-Kingsville Javelinas (2-9, 1-7)
Last Week: TAMUK had a terrible first half last Saturday which led to a 70-14 defeat on the road to UT Permian Basin. Quarterback Koy Detmer Jr. completed 18-of-33 passes for 165 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Kris Barnes gained 83 yards rushing on 15 carries and Devin Milburn led the receivers with 65 yards on six catches. Linebacker Tre’Michael Tutt registered nine tackles, three solo, for the Javelinas.
The Verdict: This was a tough season for the Javelinas and they announced on Monday morning that head coach Daren Wilkinson would not return next season. The Javelinas have a proud winning tradition but have not won a conference title since 2009. TAMUK would be best served with their next head coach having ties to the Houston area and focus on that city and the Corpus Christi area during recruiting to rebuild the team.
This Week: TAMUK has concluded its season.
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