2015 NCAA Division 2 Football Playoff Semifinal Predictions
We have reached the final four teams for the 2015 NCAA Division 2 Playoffs. Both Semifinal games will be played on Saturday, December 12 with the winners facing off for the 2015 NCAA Division 2 National Championship. The schedule can be found here and the updated bracket is here.
In round one we went 6-6 with our predictions while we went 6-2 in the second round. In the Quarterfinals, we went back to .500 with a 2-2 record and stand at 14-10 for the Division 2 Playoffs thus far. Both games are predicted below.
Grand Valley State (12-2) at Shepherd (12-0)
Grand Valley State has delivered surprise after surprise in the Playoffs. They opened with a big win over Ashland on the road 45-28 in the first round with 230 yards rushing and 4 touchdowns as a team along with 231 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 3 interceptions from Bart Williams. They won their second round game as well on the road, defeating Ferris State 38-34 after a back and forth game that saw Williams throw 4 touchdown passes.
The latest game was probably their most impressive as they crushed the defending National Champions, Colorado State Pueblo, 31-7 on the road. GVSU led 21-0 after the first quarter and 31-7 at half while holding CSU Pueblo to just 157 yards of offense. Grand Valley State racked up 527 yards on one of the better defense in Division 2 with Marty Carter rushing for 231 yards and a touchdown.
Shepherd started with a bye as the top team in their region and then faced Indiana (PA) in the second round. Shepherd erased a 13-3 deficit to start the fourth quarter with two touchdowns in the final 12:13 including the game winner with 2:03 left in the game. Shepherd’s Quarterfinal game was at home against Slippery Rock where they gave up an early touchdown, but ripped of 25 straight points to take command of the game at 25-7 late in the third quarter. Slippery Rock did score 9 points to make it a 25-16 game entering the fourth quarter, but the defense came up big to stop anymore scoring from happening. Jeff Ziemba threw for 255 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 1 interception in the Quarterfinal win.
What Grand Valley State has done thus far makes them not only the biggest surprise, but also the most impressive team. They will have a fourth straight road game, but that has clearly not been an issue for them. Shepherd has not allowed more than 20 points in their last five games and the defense has played well in the two Playoff games. After going against GVSU for the first three rounds, we will take them to win on the road 23-20 and make it to the 2015 Division 2 National Championship Game.
West Georgia (12-1) at Northwest Missouri State (13-0)
West Georgia was the top seed in their region, which means they had a bye in the first round. In the second round, they played against Valdosta State at home and had a tough time against them. Dallas Dickey’s 9 yard run with 3:09 remaining made it 27-20 while the defense put the VSU offense on its heels on the next drive and forced a turnover on downs to win the game. West Georgia ran for 292 yards and 2 touchdowns on 44 carries as a team with Devontae Jackson (120 yards and a touchdown), Dallas Dickey (100 yards and a touchdown), and Lamarcus Franks (71 yards) all having solid days on the ground.
In the Quarterfinals, West Georgia gave up an early touchdown to Tuskegee after a fumble, but that was all Tuskegee would score as West Georgia put up 35 unanswered points to end the game at 35-6. Dickey threw for 398 yards and 3 touchdowns while the defense allowed only 146 yards of total offense for the entire game.
Northwest Missouri State also had a bye in the first round and then faced Humboldt State at home in the second round. The Bearcats had no trouble as they led 34-0 at half and won 54-7. The defense allowed 72 yards passing and negative 24 yards rushing for a grand total of 48 yards of offense to Humboldt State. Brady Bolles threw for 276 yards and 2 touchdowns on 26 of 33 passing while the team ran for 187 yards and 4 scores on the ground.
The Bearcats faced a familiar foe in Emporia State for the Quarterfinals, but they were dispatched as well. NWMSU led 17-0 before Emporia State scored, however, each ESU score was answered by a NWMSU score and the Bearcats cruised to a 38-17 win. Bolles had 329 yards and 3 touchdowns through the air. The Bearcats did allow over 400 yards of offense to Emporia State (Brent Wilson threw for 324 yards and a touchdown while rushing for another score).
This game will most likely be a defensive battle, which favors the Bearcats at home. They are one of the best teams (if not the best to some) in the nation and they are heavily favored to win. We are going with them to win 31-7 and make it back the Division 2 National Championship.