It took 15 weeks, but here we are. Four Super Regions stuffed with 28 teams entered the 2018 DII Football Championship with championship aspirations and only Valdosta State and Ferris State remain. Be sure to scroll down for daily updates, and continue below the blog to recap every round, stat, and team that traveled the road to McKinney.
THE ROAD TO TEXAS:
The first round: Seven lower seeds sprung an upset, making the 2018 bracket completely unpredictable from the opening kickoff. When the dust settled 12 teams advanced, and we learned these seven lessons about the DII postseason.
The second round: Normalcy returned to the postseason, as all four No. 1 seeds moved on and only No. 7 Slippery Rock played the role of spoiler. These five takeaways left us all excited for a stacked quarterfinal.
— VSU Athletics (@BlazerAthletics) December 8, 2018
The quarterfinals: Three No. 1 seeds made up the final four, as No. 2 Ferris State handed No. 1 Ouachita Baptist a 37-14 loss to get to its second semifinals in three years. For the first time in DII football history, four undefeated teams headed to the semifinals.
The semifinals: The fun-to-watch, surprise team of 2018 Notre Dame (OH) nearly did the unthinkable, holding Valdosta State to a season-low in yards and points, but fell just short of an upset. Ferris State and Minnesota State went back-and-forth until the Bulldogs put the game out of reach late in the fourth. For the first time since 2015, we have an all-undefeated championship game. Here’s everything we know heading into McKinney ISD Stadium.
FOR THE STAT GEEKS:
THE VENUE: The championship game will return to Texas for the first time since a five-year run in McAllen, Texas from 1981 to 1985. McKinney Independent School District Stadium is a brand-new, 12,000-seat, state-of-the-art venue that became the eighth host stadium in the history of the DII football championship game. Still looking to fill one of those 12,000 seats? You can buy championship tickets here.
15 DOWN, 1 TO GO! pic.twitter.com/VZ2EOk3CEs
— Ferris St. Football (@FerrisFootball) December 8, 2018
- Valdosta State is heading to its fifth national championship game. The Blazers won in 2004, 2007, and 2012 and a victory Saturday will tie them for the third most all-time with Grand Valley State.
- The Blazers have the top scoring offense in DII (52.2 per game) and fourth-best total offense (526.0 yards per game).
- Rogan Wells is one of two Harlon Hill finalists in this game. The Blazers quarterback has 2,726 yards passing with 33 touchdowns and just four interceptions to go along with 693 yards rushing and 11 more touchdowns.
- The Bulldogs have reached the quarterfinals three years in a row. This is their first championship game in program history.
- Quarterback Jayru Campbell is also a Harlon Hill finalist. He’s thrown for 2832 yards with 26 touchdowns and five interceptions, but was one of the more unstoppable forces on the ground in all of DII, running backs included. Campbell ran for 1,338 yards and 20 touchdowns.
- Get on the bandwagon or at least the bus. Ferris State is providing a ticket, bus and hotel package for fans that want to head to Texas.
The stage is set. Saturday’s finale has the potential to be one of the most explosive championship games in DII history. We’ll bring you live updates throughout the week in the blog below. Be sure to be right here on game day, when we’ll bring you live updates, stats, scores and analysis from pre-game to postgame on championship Saturday.