DCTF Small College Review: Trinity, UMHB secure playoff spot; UIW, Angelo State score big wins

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The results fell into three separate categories, with so much on the line his week throughout the small college ranks this week. Let’s take a look at who fits into each category with one week remaining in the regular season for NCAA Division II and III teams.

Secured conference title and playoff berth

There is not much suspense remaining in DIII with one week remaining. Trinity continued its incredible season with a thrilling 28-27 road win over Birmingham Southern.

The contest went back and forth throughout, with the Tigers never trailing while never leading by more than seven points.

BSC scored a touchdown with 23 seconds remaining and elected to try for the two-point conversion and the win. However, the pass to the end zone fell incomplete, giving Trinity its first Southern Athletic Association title.

The win also secured the Tigers an automatic bid to the playoffs and is their first playoff appearance since 2011. In addition, the SAA title is Trinity’s first conference title since 2012.

No. 2 Mary Hardin-Baylor also secured its automatic berth to the playoffs and the American Southwest Conference title with a 59-14 win over Howard Payne.

HPU took an early 14-0 lead before the Cru took control. At halftime, the game turned ugly when a brawl broke out along the Yellow Jackets sideline, resulting in every player on both teams receiving an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.

Kept hopes alive

The DCTF Game of the Week turned out to be one of the best college football games of the season.

Incarnate Word kept its conference title, and playoff hopes alive with a riveting 55-52 win over No. 6 Southeastern Louisiana. 

The fourth quarter kept fans on the edge of their seats with four lead changes in the final 11:22 of the game.

After SLU took a 45-42 lead with 11:22 remaining, Kevin Brown took a shovel pass 80 yards to put the Cardinals back on top with 4:05 left on the clock. Cole Kelley led SLU back down the field and took a 52-49 lead with 1:55 remaining in regulation.

That was too much time for Cameron Ward, who marched the Cardinals down the field and found Robert Ferrel on a 24-yard touchdown pass with 25 seconds left in the fourth quarter and provided UIW with the 55-52 victory.

Angelo State kept its playoff hopes alive and sent a statement to the Super Region Four committee with a dominating 30-3 win over Texas A&M-Commerce.

The Rams’ offense began rolling following a scoreless first quarter. ASU reeled off 30 consecutive points over the second and third quarters, with the Rams’ defense sealing the win with a 46-yard interception return for a touchdown by Andrew Pitts.

The path for both UIW and ASU is simple, win out and earn a playoff bid. But rest assured, finishing the season without a loss will not be easy for either team.

Still Anyone's Guess

The Lone Star Conference provided another day of wild results. The day began with Texas A&M-Kingsville defeating UT Permian Basin 29-22 and finished with West Texas A&M knocking off No. 21 Midwestern State 15-12.

It was the Buffs’ fourth consecutive win at home over MSU and their seventh win in their last eight games against the Mustangs in Canyon.

Here’s where things stand with one week left in the regular season. MSU will be outright LSC champs with a win over UTPB at home next Saturday. However, a Mustangs loss combined with Angelo State and Texas A&M-Commerce wins would leave MSU in a four-way tie with the Rams, Lions, and Buffs.

This week’s regional rankings could provide some clarity regarding the playoff picture. On Saturday, Angelo State will be in the best position and secure a playoff spot with a win at Texas A&M-Kingsville.

MSU is the big question mark right now and could be left out of the playoffs even with a win over UTPB and the outright LSC title. Division II no longer awards automatic bids, which could leave the Mustangs without a playoff berth. 

The craziness of the Southwest Junior College Football Conference continued last Saturday with Kilgore defeating Tyler, Blinn falling to Northeastern Oklahoma A&M, Navarro beating Cisco, and Trinity Valley suffering a road loss to New Mexico Military.

Here’s what we know: NMMI is in the SWJCFC playoffs set to begin Saturday. Kilgore and Tyler should be in the semifinals at 4-3, but four teams are 3-4 with only one spot remaining for the playoffs.

The conference will release the playoff seeds and the semifinal pairings on Monday afternoon.

Helmet Stickers

Cameron Ward, UIW

In the Cardinals’ big victory, Cameron Ward outdueled the reigning FCS Player of the Year, Cole Kelley of Southeastern Louisiana. Ward completed 34-of-52 passes for 610 yards and seven interceptions.

Jacob Clarkson, Texas A&M-Kingsville

Clarkson had a monster day in Texas A&M-Kingsville’s 29-22 road win over UTPB. The senior defensive end finished with eight solo tackles, four sacks, forced two fumbles and recovered a fumble for the Javelinas.

JT Cavender, West Texas A&M

The freshman linebacker from Midlothian, Texas, had an outstanding performance in the Buffs win over rival MSU, registering 20 tackles (15 solo), with one tackle for loss, and forced and recovered a critical fumble at the goal line to end a Mustangs threat.

Plays of the Week

Each week, we scour social media to find the top plays. However, we are sure to miss some incredible plays from the 35 small college teams in Texas, so we are seeking your assistance. 

If you find a great play worthy of a nomination, use hashtag #dctftopplays to make sure we notice.

Here are the top five plays from Week 10:

 

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