The Division II football season concluded with Texas A&M-Commerce winning its first NCAA championship. The Lions defeated the West Florida Argonauts 37-27.
The game featured a little bit of history, some highlight-reel scoring plays, and the 2017 Harlon Hill winner doing what he does best. Take a look beyond the box score at some of the more impressive numbers from the 2017 DII Football Championship.
3,215 — Yards freshman quarterback Mike Beaudry threw for in his debut season for the Argonauts. The Gulf South Conference Offensive Freshman of the Year set the bar for passing, and its just the beginning.
1,570 — Passing yards by Lions quarter back Luis Perez in the postseason, a new NCAA DII playoff record. Perez also set the mark in pass attempts (211) and completions (144).
112 — Yards receiving for West Florida’s Antoine Griffin, who led all receivers in the game. The junior wide receiver also recorded his first career interception when he picked off a fake punt attempt leading to the Argonauts first score.
110 — Yards gained on the ground by Lions freshman running back E.J. Thompson in the championship, his career-high. His third quarter touchdown sprung the Lions to a late lead.
104 — Yards gained by Lions senior wide receiver Shawn Hooks, also a career high. His 50-yard touchdown capped the 97-yard opening drive for Texas A&M-Commerce.
99 — Yards Lions return man Reggie Kincade took a kickoff to the house, tying the championship game record for longest return touchdown set by Harlon Hill winner Ronald Moore in 1992.
76.6 % — Completion percentage for Perez, who was extremely efficient on the night. He threw for 323 yards and two touchdowns and his lone interception was a remarkable one-handed grab by Andre Duncombe.
14.5 — Sacks for West Florida’s John Williamson. That set the Gulf South Conference record for a single-season when he took down Perez to close out the first half.
— The GSC (@GulfSouth) December 17, 2017
14-1 — Final record of the Lions, ending the season on a ten game winning streak, the longest in the Lions DII era.
12.75 — Average margin of victory by West Florida heading into the title game. All four wins were against higher ranked opponents and on the road.
12, 7, 1 — The national ranking of the three teams Texas A&M-Commerce had to defeat in order to win the Super 4 Region, all on the road. The Lions first beat No. 12 Winona State 20-6, then pulled off a stunning 34-31 double-overtime comeback over No. 7 (and top-seeded) Central Washington before going to the chilly environs of No. 1 Minnesota State and beating them by 10.
11-4 — The final record of West Florida. The Argos are now 16-10 overall as a program with a Super Region 2 championship and national runner-up on their resumé.
10.2 — Average margin of victory in Texas A&M-Commerce’s five postseason victories.
Victory press conference. The last one. pic.twitter.com/j8CJUxqOK7
— 2017 NATIONAL CHAMPIONS (@Lions_FB) December 17, 2017
2 — Years it took head coach Pete Shinnick to get West Florida to the national championship game. The Argos have 26 games as a football program, four of which are playoff upsets and one being the national championship loss.