2019 Division II Football Championship – Second Round
The first round of the 2019 DII football championship is in the books. Upsets were rampant on Saturday, Nov. 23 as a pair of No. 2 seeds fell, as well as two No. 4 seeds and one more three-seed. Sixteen teams can start to prepare for Saturday, Nov. 30 when the second round of the DII football tournament continues.
The University of West Florida has once again made short work of Wingate in the first round of the NCAA Division II playoffs.
The Argos thumped Wingate 38-17 on a rainy Saturday at Irwin-Belk Stadium in North Carolina. Leading 17-3 at halftime, UWF quickly grew that lead to 31-3 to deflate the Bulldogs before late consolation scores. It was a banner day for UWF’s hometown running backs as Pace’s Anthony Johnson Jr. rushed for 109 yards and a touchdown while Pine Forest’s Jaden Gardner rushed for 82 yards and a score.
Quarterback Austin Reed was limited to just eight completions in a consistent pouring rain, but still managed 165 yards and three touchdowns. Navarre wide receiver Quentin Randolph had 63 receive yards and two scores. Randolph has five touchdowns in the last three games. Veteran receiver Tate Lehtio was Reed’s favorite target with five catches for 81 yards and a score.
Miles’ season ended in the first round of the NCAA Division II playoffs on Saturday, as the Golden Bears fell 36-7 at No. 6 Lenior-Rhyne in Hickory, N.C.
The Golden Bears’ lone touchdown came on a 38-yard run by Donte Edwards with 9:36 left in the third quarter. But Lenoir-Rhyne (12-0) led 26-0 by that point and held Miles (9-3) to just 125 yards of offense.
“They did a lot of things to take away what we do best, which is run the football. Hats off to them,” Miles coach Reginald Ruffin said. “We couldn’t throw the football. I don’t know the reason for that. But the best team won today. We did the best we could.”
Lenoir-Rhyne rushed for 323 yards on a rainy day, but also scored on a blocked punt and a safety. Jaquay Mitchell and Ameen Stevens both ran for touchdowns for the Bears, while Grayson Willingham threw a touchdown pass to Josh Ramseur and Chas Allbaugh kicked two field goals.
Stevens ran for 128 yards for Lenoir-Rhyne, while Mitchell added 78. Edwards led Miles — which won its second straight SIAC title this season — with 80 yards on 15 carries.
Lenoir-Rhyne advances to face Carson-Newman in a second-round game next Saturday.
Some incredible upsets and fantastic finishes went down. Here are the highlights.
- Lindenwood went into Cliff Harris Stadium and took down No. 2-seeded Ouachita Baptist 41-38, getting the go-ahead field goal with just over a minute left. It was a back and forth battle all day long, but in the end, the Lions defeated their third top 25 team of the season. Lindenwood will be heading to one of the winningest teams in DII football history and try to make Northwest Missouri State its next top 25 victim.
- Not to be outdone, Texas A&M-Commerce traveled to Tarleton State — owners of the best home record in DII football — and upset the No. 2-seeded Texans in a rematch from earlier in the season. Quarterback Miklo Smalls led the Lions through the air (197 yards passing) and on the ground (126 yards rushing), but it was the defense that deserves the credit here. The Lions held one of DII football’s best offenses to 16 points and 330 total yards in the upset.
- You could barely catch your breath with the three games played at noon. All three came down to the final minutes of play. Indiana (Pa) took the lead over Shepherd with 1:40 left, but Tyson Bagent led the Rams right back down to field connecting with Devin Phelps for the 31-27 win with just 11 ticks on the clock. Notre Dame jumped out to a big lead but was able to hold off West Chester’s 17-point second half and win 31-24. Tiffin’s star running back Ja’Quan Hardy gave the Dragons the late lead with 1:26 remaining, but Collin DiGalbo found big tight end Jack Pilkerton for the six-yard touchdown and 33-31 lead with 44 seconds left on the clock and inevitably the win.
- Carson-Newman and West Florida did their best to shake things up in Super Region Two. Both teams went on the road and pulled off impressive wins. The Eagles defense struggled to maintain dual-threat Ja’Rome Johnson but stepped up when it needed to in a 17-9 win. West Florida, our team to watch in this part of the bracket, dominated Wingate. Quarterback Austin Reed and Quentin Randolph hooked up for two more scores in the 38-17 win after connecting three times a week ago.
Saturday, Nov. 23 | First round (all times Eastern)
- Shepherd 31, Indiana (Pa) 27
- Kutztown 33, Tiffin 31
- Notre Dame (OH) 31, West Chester 24
- West Florida 38, Wingate 17
- Carson-Newman 17, Bowie State 9
- Lenoir-Rhyne 36, Miles 7
- Central Missouri 37, Indianapolis 27
- Lindenwood 41, Ouachita Baptist 38
- Northwest Missouri State 7, Harding 6
- Texas A&M-Commerce 23, Tarleton State 16
- Colorado School of Mines 24, Sioux Falls 21
- Colorado State-Pueblo 17, Augustana (SD) 0