At long last, the 2019 DII football season got underway this past weekend. Week 1 saw plenty of exciting action, including two upsets inside the top 25 to open the year. Let’s take a look at the top 25 and the teams and players who racked up the best stats on opening weekend. 

OPENING WEEKEND: Scores, stats from the Week 1 of DII football

The DII football top 25 by the numbers

1 — Shutouts posted by the top 25 in Week 1. That was Texas A&M-Commerce’s 83-0 win in the first non-DII international game over Selección Nuevo León from Mexico.

5 — Top 25 teams to lose in Week 1, albeit only three were upsets. Both No. 23 Ashland and No. 18 Harding opened against highly-ranked opponents, so someone had to lose. Those losses were:

  • No. 11 Fort Hays State fell to Central Missouri, 34-31
  • No. 18 Harding fell to No. 5 Ouachita Baptist, 16-14
  • No. 19 Hillsdale fell to Michigan Tech, 29-14
  • No. 23 Ashland fell to No. 16 Indianapolis, 23-9
  • No. 25 Fairmont State fell to Charleston (WV), 42-39

— DII football programs that took down FCS opponents this past Saturday. Kentucky State started the ball rolling, taking down Robert Morris 13-7 for its first win since 2017. We watched each upset and you can catch up below:

DII vs. FCS: We tracked every upset, here’s how they happened | Kentucky State’s first win since 2017

Watch Daniel McCants rumble 99 yards to tie a DII football record

16 — Consecutive wins by Valdosta State, the longest current winning streak in DII.

25 — Consecutive conference wins by Minnesota State. The Mavericks haven’t lost a Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference game since 2016.

ALL WE DO IS WIN: Longest DII football winning streaks | Longest home winning streaks 

DII football standout players for Week 1

Let’s take a look at players inside the top 25 that stood out on opening weekend. 


Player School Stats
Roland Rivers III Slippery Rock 472 total yards, 7 TD
Takwan Crews-Naylor Fairmont State 398 total yards, 2 TD
Ben Holmes Tarleton State 386 total yards, 3 TD
John Larson Minnesota Duluth 354 total yards, 3 TD
Chance Fuller Fort Hays State 333 pass yards, 2 TD

Other notables: Shaw Crocker, Wingate.

Running backs

Player School Stats
Nate Gunn Minnesota State  242 rush yards, 3 TD
Aryan Cain-Veasey Grand Valley State 200 rush yards, 3 TD
Daniel McCants Tarleon State 179 rush yards, 2 TD
Jaleel McLaughlin Notre Dame (OH) 166 rush yards, 1 TD
Cameron Mayberry Colorado Mines 138 rush yards, 3 TD, 40 receiving

Other notables: Justin Rankin, Northwest Missouri State; Khalik Hamlin, Fairmont State; D.J. Penick, CSU-Pueblo; Tabyus Taylor, Virginia Union.

Wide receivers

Player School Stats
Peter Anderson Colorado Mesa 193 yards, 2 TD
J.F. Thomas Tarleton State 193 yards, 2 TD
Dionte Sykes CSU-Pueblo 172 yards
Jermaine Wynn, Jr. Slippery Rock 152 yards, 2 TD
Garrett Turnbough Ashland 145 yards

Other notables: Henry Litwin, Slippery Rock; Marvelle Ross, Notre Dame (OH); Joe Bentley, Hillsdale.

DII football outside the top 25

  • A healthy Brook Bolles is a dangerous Brook Bolles. The Central Missouri quarterback — who missed pretty much all of 2018 with injury — led the Mules to an upset over No. 11 Fort Hays State throwing for 271 yards and three touchdowns, while rushing for 57 yards and one more score. His main target Shae Wyatt had 145 yards and a touchdown.
  • Brant Grisel led an explosive Charleston (WV) offense to an upset. The quarterback threw for 367 yards and three touchowns, sharing the wealth between receivers Mike Strachan (157 yards, two touchdowns) and Xavion Gordon (101 yards, one touchdown).
  • Southern Arkansas had a duo of 100-yard backs in its opening win. Kor’davion Washington ran for 109 yards while SirCharles Perkins ran for 103 yards and two scores.
  • Michigan Tech running back Jared Smith was crucial in his team’s upset over No. 19 Hillsdale. He ran for 172 yards and a touchdown.
  • Emporia State wide receiver Dexto Swinehart showed he’s one to watch pulling in 112 yards and a touchdown. 
  • The Amir Hall era is over in Bowie State, but Ja’Rome Johnson certainly looked to be exciting. He didn’t start, but after coming in, he threw for 58 yards and ran for 172 more with two scores.
  • Kyle Saddler is a fun quarterback to watch. The Augustana (SD) QB threw for 236 yards and two touchdowns while punching in two more on the ground. 

There are a lot of box scores. Did we miss someone in the top 25 that had a monster day? Let us know by sending us a note

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