*** NAIA ***
FIRST SEMIFINAL – It took DOUBLE OVERTIME for a victor to be determined in this clash between the 2nd seeded REINHARDT UNIVERSITY EAGLES (should be the Rottweilers) and the 5 seeds – the SOUTHERN OREGON UNIVERSITY RAIDERS (should be the Sea Gulls). The Eagles parlayed a 14-7 1st Quarter lead into a 21-7 advantage by Halftime. From there the Raiders forced Overtime with a 24-24 tie. One extra session wasn’t enough (31-31) but after the 2nd, Reinhardt University advanced to the December 16th title game by a score of 37-34.
SECOND SEMIFINAL – The top seeded Defending National Champions – the UNIVERSITY OF SAINT FRANCIS (IN) COUGARS – hosted the 3rd seeded MORNINGSIDE COLLEGE MUSTANGS. The Cougars exploded for a 19-3 lead in the 1st Quarter, with the Mustangs cutting that to a 19-10 difference at the break. That became a mere 25-20 edge as the 3rd Quarter ended. An action-packed 4th Quarter finished with the University of Saint Francis triumphant, 43-36. It will be USF vs Reinhardt U on December 16th!
*** DIVISION TWO ***
FIRST QUARTERFINAL – The Regional 6 seeds – the UNIVERSITY OF WEST FLORIDA ARGONAUTS – are still stunning the nation in their young football program’s FIRST appearance in the D2 postseason. A 7-7 tie with the top seeded UNIVERSITY OF WEST ALABAAMA TIGERS in the 1st Quarter became a 14-7 Tigers edge at the Half. The 3rd Quarter saw the Argonauts go on top 21-14, while in the 4th the teams exchanged Touchdowns for a 28-21 Upset. In just their 2nd year, the University of West Florida is headed for the Semifinals!
SECOND QUARTERFINAL – The 7th seeded HARDING UNIVERSITY BISON have got to be feeling pretty steamed that their Cinderella run has thus far been overshadowed by UWF’s performance. At any rate the Bison clashed with their Regions 4 seeds – the FERRIS STATE BULLDOGS. The Bulldogs led 7-3 in the opening Quarter but by Halftime the Bison were on top 10-7. Ferris State retook the lead 14-13 in the 3rd Quarter but Harding University ultimately did what they had to do with a 16-14 triumph.
THIRD QUARTERFINAL – In this game the 5 seeds – the TEXAS A&M AT COMMERCE LIONS visited the 2nd seeded MINNESOTA STATE MAVERICKS. Another upset was in store as the Lions put the Mavericks on notice in the 1st Quarter with a 10-7 edge. At the break the Mavericks were on top 18-13 but Texas A&M at Commerce grabbed a 21-18 advantage in the 3rd before winning it 31-21.
FOURTH QUARTERFINAL – The overall 1 seeds – the INDIANA UNIVERSITY IN PENNSYLVANIA CRIMSON HAWKS – welcomed the 3rd seeded ASSUMPTION COLLEGE GREYHOUNDS. This was a thriller all through the game, with the Crimson Hawks leading 7-3 in the 1st Quarter and by a mere 14-13 at the midpoint. IUP led the Greyhounds 21-19 to end the 3rd Quarter before snagging their 11th win in a row by a count of 27-22.
*** DIVISION THREE ***
FIRST QUARTERFINAL – The COLLEGE AT BROCKPORT GOLDEN EAGLES traveled to face the DELAWARE VALLEY UNIVERSITY AGGIES yesterday. The Golden Eagles led 14-7, 21-7 and 28-7 through the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Quarters respectively. In the 4th the Aggies mounted a maniacal comeback attempt but the College at Brockport held on for a 31-28 victory in the only upset of Saturday’s D3 playoffs.
SECOND QUARTERFINAL – The top-ranked Defending National Champions – the UNIVERSITY OF MARY HARDIN -BAYLOR CRUSADERS – played host to the UNIVERSITY OF SAINT THOMAS TOMMIES. After a scoreless 1st Quarter the two teams were knotted up at 10-10 come Halftime. Neither team scored in the 3rd Quarter but in the 4th the Crusaders put up 14 points for a 24-10 trip to the Semifinals.
THIRD QUARTERFINAL – In this game the UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN AT OSHKOSH TITANS took the field against the WARTBURG COLLEGE KNIGHTS. A 13-7 Titans lead in the opening Quarter became a 20-17 score by the break. In the 2nd Half UW-Oshkosh outscored the Knights 21-10, advancing to the Semifinals by a count of 41-27.
FOURTH QUARTERFINAL – The lone remaining spot in next week’s Semis came down to a clash between the UNIVERSITY OF MOUNT UNION PURPLE RAIDERS and the FROSTBURG STATE BOBCATS. The Purple Raiders have been proving to the world that UW-Whitewater was a mere blip on their historical dominance of D3 football. UMU seized a quick 21-0 lead in the 1st Quarter and never looked back, skinning the Bobcats to the tune of 70-37.
*** DIVISION TWO BOWLS ***
GORILLA WARFARE – Since this is the internet I need to make it clear that title is a play on words and not a misspelling. The PITTSBURG (KS) STATE GORILLAS did battle with the ARKANSAS TECH WONDERBOYS in the Live United Bowl. The Gorillas trailed the Wonderboys 31-7 with just 1:03 left in the 1st Half. Pitt State then proceeded to score FORTY-ONE unanswered points for a 48-31 triumph!
HEART OF TEXAS BOWL – This was the Feature Game of the Heart of Texas Bowl Doubleheader. As regular readers of Balladeer’s Blog will remember the H.O.T. Bowl has an Opening Game between NJCAA teams and a Prime Time D2 game. The WASHBURN UNIVERSITY ICHABODS played the ANGELO STATE RAMS and after a scoreless 1st Quarter the Ichabods exploded for a 21-3 Halftime lead. From there they coasted to a 41-25 victory.
MINERAL WATER BOWL – The UNIVERSITY OF CENTRAL MISSOURI MULES did battle with the UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA AT DULUTH BULLDOGS in this storied Bowl. The Mules were chasing the Bulldogs 8-7 in the 1st Quarter and 22-10 at the break. A big 3rd Quarter put the University of Central Missouri on top 31-28 and a 4th Quarter Touchdown sealed a 38-28 win for the Mules.
CORSICANA BOWL – In this inaugural Corsicana Bowl the UNIVERSITY OF CENTRAL OKLAHOMA BRONCHOS (sic) squared off against the TARLETON STATE TEXANS. The underdogs won all four D2 Bowls yesterday, as the Bronchos led the Texans by a count of 3-0, 17-14 and 31-28 through the first 3 Quarters before polishing them off 38-31.
*** NJCAA BOWLS ***
VALLEY OF THE SUN BOWL – The (16) ASA (NY) COLLEGE AVENGERS took the field against the MESA COLLEGE THUNDERBIRDS in this game. Neither team scored in the 1st Quarter but by Halftime the Thunderbirds had assembled a 12-7 advantage. The Avengers went on top 14-12 in the 3rd Quarter and in the 4th outscored Mesa College 14-11 to win this 28-23 Instant Classic.
SALT CITY BOWL – The EASTERN ARIZONA COLLEGE GILA MONSTERS and the HUTCHINSON COLLEGE BLUE DRAGONS faced each other next. The Gila Monsters converted a 14-7 1st Quarter lead into a larger 34-20 margin by the break. In the 3rd Quarter the Blue Dragons pulled to within 34-27 but Eastern Arizona College poured it on in the 4th for a 48-34 triumph.
RED GRANGE BOWL – This inaugural Red Grange Bowl pitted the COLLEGE OF DUPAGE CHAPARRALS against the MESABI RANGE COLLEGE NORSE. The Chaparrals were on top of the Norse 14-0 at Halftime and shut them out in the 2nd Half as well on their way to a 35-0 blowout win.
EL TORO BOWL – A collision of Top Ten teams was in store in this game. The (6) SNOW COLLEGE BADGERS took on the (10) BLINN COLLEGE BUCCANEERS. A 21-12 Buccaneers lead at the midpoint seemed like a sure victory was on the way as it was expanded to 35-19 to end the 3rd Quarter. However, the Badgers rallied for 24 points in the 4th for a 43-41 comeback victory!
HEART OF TEXAS BOWL – This Opening Game of the H.O.T. Bowl Double Header was an NJCAA game. The Prime Time game was the D2 matchup covered earlier. The (8) TRINITY VALLEY COLLEGE CARDINALS and the (12) GARDEN CITY COLLEGE BRONCBUSTERS put on quite a show. This Instant Classic ended in a 48-41 Cardinals win.
Some helmets courtesy of the Helmet Project.