The Division II national football title game will feature teams from the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference and the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference.
The odds were probably stacked against both conferences going into the 24-team tournament, divided into Super Regionals. The NSIC and RMAC are likely down a bit in the pecking order in thought of Division II football conferences.
In this Saturday’s title game in Kansas City, Kan., Minnesota State University, Mankato will take on Colorado State University-Pueblo. Both were No. 2 seeds from their Super Regionals and it will be the first time both schools will appear in the national title game.
In case you missed it, and you likely did, here’s what happened.
CSU-PUEBLO 10, WEST GEORGIA 7: Zach Boyd's go-ahead 38-yard touchdown reception with 9:47 remaining in the fourth quarter propelled the ThunderWolves (12-1) past the University of West Georgia (12-2) in the semifinals of the Division II playoffs at the Neta and Eddie DeRose ThunderBowl in Pueblo, Colo.
Trailing 7-3, the ThunderWolves put together the game-winning drive on their second possession of the fourth quarter. After back-to-back runs of 13 and 14 yards by Cameron McDondle, CSU-Pueblo had the ball first-and-10 at the Wolves' 38 yard line. On first down, McDondle lined up in the "wildcat" formation and received the snap. The junior handed the ball off to his brother, Bernard McDondle, who was coming in motion on the snap. Bernard McDondle immediately tossed the ball back to quarterback Chris Bonner, who found a wide open Boyd for the 38-yard touchdown.
CSU-Pueblo's defense was the story of the game as the Pack held West Georgia to 26 points below their season average. Coming into the game, the Wolves ranked 19th in the nation in rushing offense with 231.6 yards per game, while the ThunderWolves ranked 14th in the nation in rush defense allowing an average of 100.8 yards per game. West Georgia finished the game with 156 yards on the ground and 210 yards passing.
MINNESOTA STATE, MANKATO 47, CONCORD 13: The Minnesota State football team (14-0) put forth another solid performance Saturday afternoon at Blakeslee Stadium in Mankato as it advanced to the NCAA Championship game.
The Maverick offense was rolling all game long as it posted a score in its first seven possessions, including six touchdowns on its first six drives.
Sophomore Ricky Lloyd connected with senior Jeff Burns on a 21-yard touchdown pass to get the scoring going. Junior Connor Thomas ran in the two point conversion to put the Mavericks up 8-0. The Mavericks ended the first quarter with Lloyd connecting with junior Kyle Riggott on a 20-yard pass to put the Mavericks up 15-0.
Thomas added a seven-yard touchdown catch with 7:54 left in the second quarter to increase MSU's lead to 22-0. Concord got on the board as Ben Nester ran in a touchdown from six yards out to pull the Mountain Lions within 15 at 22-7 with 4:58 left in the second quarter.
Saturday’s title game will begin at 2 p.m. and be televised live on ESPN2.