#22 Saginaw Valley State at #4 Northwest Missouri
Northwest Missouri will open the season with an non-conference match-up on their home turf against Saginaw Valley State. The match-up features the nation’s 22nd ranked team against the nation’s fourth ranked team. The Bearcats led the MIAA in scoring offense last year led by Trevor Adams who averaged 193.5 yards per game passing and threw for 23 touchdowns. The league’s top passing defense returns Brandon Dixon who pulled down five interceptions in 2012. For the Cardinals on offense Jonathon Jennings averaged 298.4 yards per game and threw for 27 touchdowns. On defense Brian Johnson had 102 tackles including eight that went for a loss.
#6 Missouri Western at Central Missouri
#6 Missouri Western will open their MIAA title defense on the road at Central Missouri. The game will be featured as the first MIAA Television Network Game of the Week. The two teams opened the season last year with MWSU scoring the first 28 points and then holding off the Mules on their way to a 38-26 victory. On offense for the Griffons quarterback Travis Partridge is back after averaging 193.3 yards per game passing last season with 30 touchdowns. On defense Stephen Juergons had 95 tackles and two interceptions. UCM looks to runningback LeVance Taylor who carried the ball 150 times for 672 yards and eight touchdowns. On defense they return a veteran linebacking core led by Ricky Spratley who had 53 tackles including two sacks last season.
Central Oklahoma at Missouri Southern
Central Oklahoma will open the 2013 campaign on the road with a trip to Missouri Southern. The two teams faced off last year to open the season in Edmond, Okla. as the Lions held off a fourth quarter charge by the Bronchos to pull out a five point victory. UCO returns the league’s second best rusher in Joshua Birmingham who scored 13 touchdowns and averaged 107.3 yards per game. Quarterback Adrian Nelson averaged 197.4 yards passing per game. On defense Devoris Dozier led the team with 77 tackles. Missouri Southern led the league in rushing offense last season, but must replace their two top rushers. Runningback Travis Hurd is their top returner after carrying the ball 45 times for 275 yards. Defensively Gaitlin Ridgeway had 57 tackles last year including 8.5 which were for a loss.
Lincoln at Lindenwood
Lindenwood will open their first season as full members of NCAA Division II at home when they face Lincoln. The two teams faced off last year in Jefferson City and the Lions outscored the Tigers 21-7 in the second half to pull out a 49-28 victory. On offense they return Ben Gomez who threw for 1,891 yards and 15 touchdowns. On defense Pierre Desir led the MIAA with nine interceptions for the Lions. For the Blue Tigers Jacob Morris returns at quarterback after throwing for ten touchdowns and rushing for six in 2012. On defense lineman Darryl Blackmon returns after having 45 tackles including 14.5 for a loss.
Southwest Baptist at Truman State
Southwest Baptist will open the season on the road at Truman State in a non-league game with the GLVC opponent. The Bearcats return receiver Derwyn Lauderdale who caught 76 passes for 697 yards and five touchdowns. On defense Shaquille Shedd was fifth in the MIAA in tackles with 105 on the year, 3.5 of which went for a loss. Truman, in their first year since leaving the MIAA, won the meeting between the two teams last year 24-14 in Bolivar. TSU quarterback Conrad Schottel threw for 2,103 yards and 12 touchdowns in 2012. On defense Jeramey Dockery had 58 tackles on the season.