Only two teams are without a conference loss as the MIAA football schedule enters its third week, and both are hosting games this Saturday (Sept. 29).
The Central Missouri Mules (3-1, 2-0 MIAA), winners of three in a row, host 19th-ranked Pittsburg State (3-1, 1-1 MIAA) at Walton Stadium.
The last time these two squads met in Warrensburg back in 2005, UCM administered an 83-21 shelling to the Gorillas — the most points given up by PSU in the modern era.
The Mules have the fourth-ranked rushing defense in NCAA Division II, allowing only 29.8 yards per game. Pittsburg State enters the game with the No. 6 rushing offense in the division at 263.5 yards per game.
The Gorillas will be trying to avoid having back-to-back MIAA losses for the first time since 2002.
No. 10 Northwest Missouri State (2-1, 2-0 MIAA) hosts Southwest Baptist (0-4, 0-2 MIAA) for the Battle of the Bearcats.
Northwest bounced back from a topsy-turvy non-conference portion of the schedule by posting decisive wins in its first two MIAA games.
SBU, with the top passing offense in the conference (296.5 — 9th in Division II), has held a lead in the second half of every game this season, and had a fourth-quarter lead in three of them.
Missouri Western (3-1, 1-1 MIAA), which debuted in the AFCA Division II Top 25 this week at No. 24 following its win at PSU last week, also returns to its home field this week as the Griffons host Washburn (2-2, 1-1 MIAA) at Spratt Stadium.
Western averages 36.5 points per game, but will be facing an Ichabods squad which has allowed only 19.8 points per game so far in 2007 and has the No. 3 pass defense in the MIAA (105.2 Rating).
Fort Hays State (3-1, 1-1 MIAA) plays at Truman (2-2, 0-2 MIAA) for the first time in school history.
The Tigers will be aiming to avenge the 38-13 loss to the Bulldogs in their first-ever meeting last season in Hays, and be trying for their first 4-1 start since the 2000 season.
The prolific offense shown in the non-conference schedule has not been there for Truman’s first two MIAA contests, as the Bulldogs have been held to 13 points in losses to the current league leaders Northwest and UCM.
Emporia State (3-1, 1-1 MIAA) plays on the road for the fourth time in five games as the Hornets head to Missouri Southern (3-1, 1-1 MIAA).
ESU’s success to this point has been with the defense, allowing only 138.2 yards on the ground per game and sporting the No. 2 pass defense in the MIAA (104.3 Rating).
Southern’s prolific offense (450.8 yards, 36.0 points per game) will give the Hornets a test. The Lions also are the only MIAA squad with a better pass defense rating than ESU (94.5).
Video web streams for all games are available through themiaa.tv , for a $5.95 charge per game.
DEFENSIVE TWO-POINTER FOR ESU: Emporia State sophomore CB Travis Lee scored the eighth defensive conversion in MIAA history during the Hornets’ 26-12 loss at Fort Hays State Saturday (Sept. 12).
He scooped up the point-after kick blocked by senior LB Matt Demicoli and scored ESU’s first-ever defensive conversion to make it 16-9 with 2:30 left in the second period.
Southwest Baptist’s Tyron Stigers was the last to get a defensive conversion in the MIAA, doing so last season vs. Northwest.
NO PICKS FOR TRUMAN: The Truman Bulldogs have not thrown an interception in their first 156 pass attempts of the 2007 season.
Junior QB Matt Ticich has a string of 175 pass attempts without a pick dating back to last season. The last foe to do so was Southwest Baptist’s Robert Barrow back on Nov. 4, 2006.
The league record for consecutive passes without being intercepted is 247 — set by Central Missouri’s Toby Korrodi over the 2005 and 2006 seasons.
There is no NCAA Division II or MIAA mark for passes thrown without an interception by a team to start the year. The NCAA-II record for lowest interception percentage in a season is 0.7 percent — New Haven (Conn.) tossed just two picks in 296 pass attempts in the 1993 season.
OMON WATCH: Northwest Missouri State senior RB Xavier Omon enters this week fifth on the MIAA’s career rushing list with 5,088 yards.
He needs 689 yards to pass Pittsburg State’s Ronald Moore (1989-92 — 5,776) for fourth place on the conference list.
Omon set the Northwest career scoring mark with his five touchdowns last week vs. Truman giving him 414 points — now fifth-best in MIAA history.
He’s 33 points from passing Truman’s Jarrett Anderson (1993-96 — 446) for fourth place.
THE 80-WIN CLUB: Two MIAA bench bosses have a chance to close in on the 80-win plateau as a head coach in the conference.
Willie Fritz of Central Missori tied Terry Noland (1983-96) as the most victorious coach in school history and for eighth place on the conference list by getting win No. 78 last week at Washburn.
Missouri Western’s Jerry Partridge raised his victory total to 74 with last week’s victory at Pitt State.
Only seven coaches have collected 80 wins in the MIAA.