The top half of the NCAA Division II Super Region 4 football bracket has become a miniature MIAA tournament, thanks to the way the seeds fell in 2008. The first round will have the sixth-seeded and 24th-ranked Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks (7-3, 6-3 MIAA) making a return trip to southeast Kansas to take on third-seeded and 10th-ranked Pittsburg State (10-1, 8-1 MIAA) this Saturday (Nov. 15).
Kickoff is set for noon, CST, at Brandenburg Field/Carnie Smith Stadium. Third-ranked Northwest Missouri State (10-1, 9-0 MIAA) is waiting to host the winner between UNO and PSU Nov. 22.
The Gorillas and Mavericks met in Pittsburg on Oct. 18. Pitt State jumped out to a 21-0 lead, but Nebraska-Omaha rallied to tie the game in the third quarter. PSU scored two fourth-quarter TDs and held off one final flurry to get the win on Homecoming.
Both teams are entering the game on winning streaks. The Gorillas have won five in a row since suffering its only loss to Northwest in the Fall Classic at Arrowhead. The Mavs survived a 1-3 stretch and won its final three games after the loss to Pitt State.
This will not be the first encounters for these two squads in postseason action. UNO and PSU have met twice in the playoffs. The Mavericks won in Omaha in 2000, while the Gorillas returned the favor in 2001 in Pittsburg.
While most of the league is done with the regular season, one MIAA school will be wrapping things up Saturday. Truman (4-6, 3-6 MIAA) will host former conference foe Missouri S&T in a make-up of the Aug. 28 game lost due to lightning.
Besides the Bulldogs getting one more home game, Truman senior QB Matt Ticich gets one more chance move up the MIAA career charts in passing yards and total offense. He enters the game ninth in passing yards (6,760) and seventh in total offense (8,182 yards).
The Bulldogs/Miners match-up was slated to be played in Fayette, Mo., when the turf installation at Truman’s Stokes Stadium was delayed. The game was postponed when lightning cause delays and power outages.
The NCAA Division II Football committee granted a request from the schools to reschedule the game, since neither will be competing in the NCAA Division II Championship tournament.
WESTERN TO FACE AUGUSTANA (S.D.) IN MINERAL WATER BOWL: The Mineral Water Bowl committee announced Sunday (Nov. 9) the 43rd renewal of their small college bowl game will feature the Missouri Western Griffons taking on the Augustana (S.D.) College Vikings.
The game will take place at Tiger Stadium on Saturday (Dec. 6), with kickoff scheduled for 1 p.m.
The Griffons (6-5, 5-4 MIAA) are in the game for the second time in as many seasons, and the sixth time in the program’s history.
MWSU has a 4-1 record in the Mineral Water Bowl, with appearances in 1975 (W, 44-0 vs. Graceland [Iowa]), 2000 (L, 43-41 in 3OT vs. Winona [Minn.] State), 2003 (W, 24-14 vs. Concordia-St. Paul [Minn.]), 2005 (W, 35-23 vs. Concordia-St. Paul) and 2007 (W, 20-13 vs. Wayne [Neb.] State).
The four Griffons victories are the most by one team in Mineral Water Bowl history. Western bounced back from a 1-4 start in 2008 to win five of its last six outings – including four in a row to finish the regular season, the last two coming in the final 10 seconds of the game.
Augustana, located in Sioux Falls, S.D., finished with a 7-4 record, 7-3 in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference. One of the four schools to join the NSIC following the breakup of the North Central Conference last season, the Vikings dropped two of their last three games in the regular season.
This is the school’s first appearance in the Mineral Water Bowl.
The two schools had three common opponents this season – Northern (S.D.) State, Minnesota-Duluth and Emporia State. Both defeated NSU – Western by a 38-27 score on Aug. 28 and the Vikings by a 45-7 count Saturday (Nov. 8).
Western lost at UMD, the No. 2 seed in Super Region 3 of the NCAA Division II football playoffs, on Sept. 6 by a score of 47-18. AC fell to the Bulldogs, 40-10, at home two weeks later.
The Vikings lost at ESU, 27-14, on Sept. 6, while the Griffons earned a 28-21 home win over the Hornets on Oct. 18.
This is the ninth season that the top teams from the MIAA and NSIC not to make the NCAA Division II football playoffs have played in this game. Schools representing the MIAA have won the last seven games.