DCTF Small College Review: Three Texas teams earn FCS playoff bids

Courtesy of Angelo State Football

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Last week, the NCAA provided Texas small college fans with a gut punch by leaving Midwestern State and Hardin-Simmons out of the playoffs.

On Sunday, the NCAA gave the state of Texas a boost by placing three teams in the FCS playoffs.

Let’s take a look at the FCS bracket, along with wins for Angelo State and Mary Hardin-Baylor.

Three teams for Texas

Heading into the FCS selection show on Sunday, we knew Sam Houston and Incarnate Word were in the playoffs. The Bearkats secured their spot with the WAC automatic bid while UIW earned the Southland Conference automatic berth.

Both teams took care of business on Saturday, with SHSU securing the No. 1 overall seed in the tournament with a 35-9 win over Abilene Christian. The Cardinals dispatched Houston Baptist 55-14 to earn their first outright Southland title.

The wildcard was Stephen F. Austin, who made a late charge towards an automatic berth by winning their final five games. The ‘Jacks 31-17 win over then No. 19 Eastern Kentucky was the signature win they needed to earn the at-large bid.

SFA officially learned its fate during the selection show and will travel to meet UIW at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 27. The winner between the ‘Jacks and Cardinals will travel to play Sam Houston on Saturday, Dec. 4.

Look for a preview of the UIW-SFA game on TexasFootball.com in the next few days.

Rams start fast for playoff win

Angelo State wasted little time finding the end zone in the Rams’ first NCAA Division II playoff game since 2014 and first home playoff game since 2005.

Alfred Grear opened the game with a 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, and quarterback Zach Bronkhorst scored a 69-yard rushing touchdown just over four minutes later to give ASU an early 14-0 lead.

The Rams kept adding to its total throughout the game, putting up 41 points in the first half before cruising to a 48-14 victory over Minnesota-Duluth.

Angelo State is rewarded with another home playoff game at 1 p.m. Saturday when they host Nebraska-Kearney, who defeated Western Colorado 31-24 in the opening round.

Defense leads Cru to victory

Mary Hardin-Baylor and Trinity renewed their rivalry in the opening round of the NCAA Division III playoffs, and both defenses came ready to play.

The Cru scored the contest’s only touchdown with 1:44 remaining in regulation to earn a hard-fought 13-3 win over the Tigers.

UMHB advances to the second round and will meet Birmingham Southern at noon on Saturday. This season, the Panthers finished second to Trinity in the Southern Athletic Association and defeated Huntingdon 24-14.

Check out my three thoughts from the press box, including quotes from both teams.

The story includes quotes from UMHB coach Pete Fredenburg on his decision to take points off the board with under two minutes to play and try for the fourth down conversion.

The Cru hit a 39-yard field goal on fourth and six, but Trinity was penalized for being offsides, and Fredenburg decided to take the three points away and go for the first down, which resulted in a touchdown that sealed the win for the Cru.

Helmet Stickers

Rodney Dansby, Houston Baptist

Houston Baptist linebacker Rodney Dansby ended his freshman campaign with a tremendous performance, recording 18 tackles, including ten solo tackles and 1.5 tackles for loss in the Huskies loss to UIW.

Alfred Grear, Angelo State

Grear not only put Angelo State in the lead early in its playoff game against Minnesota-Duluth with a 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, but the running back added 70 rushing yards on seven attempts in the Rams victory.

Sean Walton, Tarleton

Tarleton senior defensive lineman Sean Walton finished his collegiate career in style, registering eight tackles, including five solo tackles, four tackles for loss, two sacks, and one quarterback hurry in the Texans’ win over Central Arkansas.

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 12:


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