And then there were four.
It’s quite the array of teams left in the DII Football Championship semifinals. Once the two-time defending champion Northwest Missouri State Bearcats were eliminated, we knew it was a wide-open field, anyone’s for the taking. What’s left is an underdog, a Cinderella, the last undefeated team, and the most interesting man in DII football.
Let’s go beyond the box score and breakdown the quarterfinals by the numbers.
1, 5, 6, 7 — Seeds remaining in the hunt for the DII football national championship. Indiana (Pa.) is the No. 1 from Super Region 1. Texas A&M-Commerce is the No. 5 from Super Region 4. Cinderella West Florida is the No. 6 from Super Region 2, and Harding rounds out the bunch, as the No. 7 from Super Region 3.
IUP WINS!!! IUP WINS!!! IUP WINS!!! pic.twitter.com/jLJmys8HNZ
— IUP Football (@IUPfootball) December 2, 2017
2 — AFCA Top 10 teams remaining in the hunt. IUP was ranked the highest at No. 3 and Texas A&M-Commerce came in at No. 8 in the last poll of the regular season. West Florida and Harding didn’t crack the Top 25.
6 — Margin of victory of the four teams that advanced this past weekend.
10 — Biggest margin of victory in the quarterfinals. The Lions defeated Minnesota State 31-21.
0-3 — Harding’s record entering Week 4 of the 2017 DII football season. The Bison lost those three games by an average margin of 6.6 points per game. Since they started this wild 11-game winning streak, they are beating opponents by 19.2 points per game.
0:00 — Time remaining on the clock when Harding’s game-winning field goal crossed the goal post. The Bisons two-point victory was the narrowest of the weekend. IUP also made it exciting, scoring its go-ahead touchdown with just 1:09 left in the game.
3 — Total complete passes Terrence Dingle has for Harding this postseason. When people say Harding is running all the way to Kansas City, they literally mean it.
13-0 — IUP’s record, the last undefeated team in DII football.
2 — Years the West Florida’s football team has been in existence. The Argos now have more postseason wins than years of experience.
4 — Conferences represented in the semifinals. The Pennsylvania State Atheltic Conference sends IUP, the Gulf South Conference sends West Florida, the Lone Star Conference sends Texas A&M-Commerce and the Great American Conference is represented by Harding.
0 — Number of wide receivers that eclipsed the 100-yard mark, the first weekend of the playoffs to see such a feat.
221 — Total net yards Harding held Ferris State to in its 16-14 victory. It was the lowest total of the weekend, as the seven other teams all crossed the 300-yard mark. Only IUP totaled more than 400 yards.
167 — The most yards rushing by any running back this weekend. Justice Evans of IUP reeled off 167 yards on 21 carries. Nate Gunn of Minnesota State was the only other running back to top 100 yards, running for 139 yards.
— Lion Athletics (@Lion_Athletics) December 2, 2017
3 — Quarterbacks who threw for more than 200 yards. West Florida’s Mike Beaudry threw for 247 yards and two touchdowns, the Lions Luis Perez tossed 257 yards and one touchdown and Harry Satterwhite threw for 225 yards and two touchdowns for West Alabama in a losing effort. No quarterbacks came near the 300-yard mark, showing how just how good the defenses remaining are.