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FootballScoop's Weekend Primer: Division II

Like we did with FCS and Division III, it's that time of the year when we fill you in on the lay of the land in Division II as Week 9 is upon us and the playoffs approach. 

The D2Football.com Top 10
1. Minnesota State (7-0) - vs. Winona State
2. Northwest Missouri State (7-0) - vs. Missouri Southern State
3. Colorado State-Pueblo (7-0) - at Black Hills State
4. Missouri Western (7-0) - vs. Pittsburg State
5. Minnesota Duluth (6-1) - at Bemidji State
6. Henderson State (7-0) - at Harding
7. Bloomsburg (7-0) - vs. Cheyney
8. Valdosta State (5-1) - vs. North Alabama
9. West Texas A&M (6-1) - at McMurry
10. Pittsburg State (6-1) - at Missouri Western

Four games to keep your eye on:

Pittsburg State (6-1) at Missouri Western (7-0) - The only meeting of top 10 squads in Week 9, the Division II version of Chris, Lee, Kirk and Desmond would be parked outside of Pratt Stadium on Saturday if such a thing existed. The Pittsburg State offense was on a major roll through September, averaging 57 points in its first four games, all wins, and has since slowed to a tick under 25 a game in their last three, including last week's 24-15 loss to Northwest Missouri State. Missouri Western would rather run than pass (nearly 100 more rush attempts through seven games) and plays solid but unspectacular defense, but that 2.6 turnover margin - best in the entire NCAA - will get the job done just about every time. On top of all that, a Gorillas vs. Griffons matchup has to be the most unique nickname game of the weekend.

             You need to see Missouri State's field design mock ups

Henderson State (7-0) at Harding (5-1) - Your inner football dork will love this one, as Division II's top passing offense takes on Division II's top rushing offense. Henderson State has compiled 3,049 yards on 297 attempts for a sterling 10.27 yards per attempt through seven games. For a comparison, with 90 more yards on 115 less passes Henderson State is averaging three more yards per attempt than No. 2 Merrimack. Harding, meanwhile, has ripped off 2,420 yards on 330 carries for 7.33 yards per attempt, the most in Division II by nearly a foot per carry. Should we mention Henderson State allows 64 rushing yards per game? Here's hoping we get our 435 passing yards on one side, 403 rushing yards on the other and 104 combined points.

Winona State (5-2) at Minnesota State (7-0) - Winona State has recovered nicely from an 0-2 start, putting up 50.6 points per game, a number that would rank second nationally over the entire season. Minnesota State will keep it away from Winona with its rushing attack that averages 44 carries per game and 6.12 yards per carry. On defense, they'll just take the ball right back. The Mavericks rank third in Division II with a 1.9 turnover differential per game.

North Alabama (4-2) at Valdosta State (5-1) - With six national championships between them, including Valdosta's 2012 title, no game matches this one in prestige points. Considering Will Hall's West Alabama squad leads the Gulf South and doesn't plan on giving its lead away, adding another piece of hardware depends on winning this game.

 

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