South Dakota Mines rolled into Grand Junction and defeated the 2-0 Colorado Mesa Mavericks for the first time in program history. The Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference, Great Lakes Valley Conference and Great Midwest Athletic Conference crowned the 2020 men’s and women’s cross country champions. DII college basketball teams continue to prepare for the upcoming season.
Oh, and a wild shootout in the Lone Star state to close out the exciting week that saw West Texas A&M walk away victorious 34-27.
There was no lack of action in DII sports this past weekend, and it’s just a precursor to a big week ahead on the DII football field.
DII football: Mines, Buffs walk away winners
South Dakota Mines 24, Colorado Mesa 9
Sophomore backup quarterback Spencer Zur played well enough for the Hardrockers to hand the Mavericks their first loss of the season. It was the first-ever victory for the Hardrockers against Colorado Mesa. Ahmad Lewis had another stellar day, totaling 127 yards and two touchdowns for South Dakota Mines.
West Texas A&M 34, Angelo State 27
It took a while for this one to get the motor going, but it sure revved itself up. The two teams combined for just 98 total yards in a rather ho-hum first quarter before erupting in the second, a quarter in which West Texas A&M gained 174 yards. This was a good old fashion slugfest, as both teams went back and forth until a 50-yard touchdown scamper from Khalil Harris sealed the deal for West Texas A&M. That evens the season series after Angelo State won the first meeting, 21-10.
Angelo State’s running back Alfred Grear had himself a day, rushing for 138 yards and two touchdowns, including a 54-yard run early in the third quarter to give Rams their last lead of the day. Harris’ big run gave him 99 yards on the day on just nine carries for the Buffs.
A Happy Halloween awaits in DII football: While October 31 is intended to be a day of spooks and scares, DII football fans should be excited. Several Mid-American Intercollegiate Athletics Association teams return to the gridiron and Western Colorado plays its first game of the year.
Let’s take a look at next week’s action-filled slate (all times Eastern):
- Nebraska-Kearney at Pittsburg State, 1 p.m. Despite the Lopers ending the season with a win in the Mineral Water Bowl against Winona State, they look to avenge their 2019 loss to the Gorillas in their season opener.
- Western Colorado at Stephen F. Austin, 3 p.m. The Mountaineers face off against the Lumberjacks for the first time in program history.
- Missouri Western at Central Arkansas, 4 p.m. The Griffons had a big 2019, finishing 9-3 and defeating Henderson State in the Agent Barry Live United Bowl. They’ll certainly want to get started on the right foot but have a tough challenge with many new faces.
- South Dakota Mines at Chadron State, 6 p.m. South Dakota Mines looks to make it two in a row and even the season series after losing to Chadron State 41-25 earlier this season.
- North American at West Texas A&M, 6 p.m. The Buffs racked up 58 points on their 2020 opening day against an NAIA opponent and look to do the same Saturday.
Early contenders for DII college basketball
We’ve already broken down three teams in both DII men’s and women’s basketball. No reason to stop now as the season gets closer. Let’s continue our look at the contenders for DII men’s and women’s basketball. Be on the lookout for early rankings projections and players to watch in 2020-21.
DII men’s basketball: Florida Southern
This was a fun Mocs team heading into the heart of March, finishing at 29-2 when play stopped last season. Jalyn Hinton returns and is an absolute beast, especially defensively. Hinton is joined by E.J. Dambreville as the only other returning starter, but there is certainly experience coming back to Lakeland. Keep an eye on interesting transfers Babatunde Ajike and Max Curran in the rotation.
DII women’s basketball: Alaska Anchorage
What can you say about head coach Ryan McCarthy? He just wins basketball games with four 30-win seasons in the past five years. The Seawolves haven’t missed the tournament since 2013 and while they lose some big names, there is plenty returning in 2021. Tennae Voliva is a Great Northwest Athletic Conference player of the year candidate and Rachel Ingram’s sharpshooting can only get better in her sophomore campaign.
DII cross country conference champions crowned
The RMAC held its cross country championship this past weekend. There was no surprise on the men’s side as the Colorado School of Mines won its fourth title in five years. Western Colorado took the women’s team title. It was Western Colorado’s eighth conference title, but first since 2011.
Walsh won the day in the G-MAC cross country championship, sweeping the men’s and women’s titles. It is the second title in a row for the men and second in three years for the women. The Cavaliers are certainly establishing themselves as the G-MAC cross country powerhouse.
Blake Jones became the first Illinois-Springfield runner to win an individual GLVC cross country championship, but it was the Lewis men’s squad that won the men’s championship. Southwest Baptist walked away champions in the women’s event.