2015 NCAA Division 2 Football Playoff Quarterfinal Predictions
Just eight teams remain in the 2015 NCAA Division 2 Football Playoffs including three of the number one seeds in the tournament. All four quarterfinal games will take place on Saturday, December 5. After going 6-6 in round one, we improved to 6-2 in round two to bring our two week total to 12-8. The entire schedule for the Quarterfinals can be seen here while the updated bracket is here.
#2 Slippery Rock (12-1) at #1 Shepherd (11-0)
Slippery Rock won their opening round game at home against Virginia Union 40-21 and had a tougher time in round two against Assumption. Despite leading 41-19 after three quarters, Slippery Rock gave up 20 fourth quarter points and held on thanks to a failed two point conversion. Shamar Greene ran for 160 yards and a touchdown while Dante Nania had 3 touchdown passes.
Shepherd had a bye in the first round and found that Indiana (PA) was a tough out in round two. Shepherd trailed 13-3 entering the fourth quarter, but two touchdowns in the final 12:13 gave them the 17-13 victory. The offense managed only 264 yards of offense in a defensive battle.
This game should have a little more offense than Shepherd had in round two. We like Shepherd to win this game 49-38 in a shootout. The winner of this game will play either Colorado State Pueblo or Grand Valley State in the Semifinals.
#6 Grand Valley State (11-2) at #4 Colorado State Pueblo (12-1)
Grand Valley State has been one of the surprises of this tournament with their two road wins. They defeated Ashland 45-28 in round two and then beat Ferris State with a touchdown on the Williams connection. Bart Williams found Matt Williams from a yard out to make it 38-34. Bart threw for 335 yards with 4 touchdowns and 2 interceptions while Matt had 5 catches for 126 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Colorado State Pueblo has been impressive in their two games, which is not unexpected for the defending Division 2 National Champs. They beat Indianapolis at home 27-14 with the score line flattered by a late touchdown from Indianapolis. Their second round game was against top seeded Midwestern State and they had a 20-0 lead before Midwestern State made it 23-17 thanks to a turnover by CSU-Pueblo.
This will be a big test for Grand Valley State’s offense against a quality defense like Colorado State Pueblo. GVSU has scored at least 24 points in each game while CSU-Pueblo has only allowed 24 points or more twice with those two games coming in September. We will take the defending Champs Colorado State Pueblo to win 27-17. The winner of this game faces either Slippery Rock or Shepherd in the Semifinals.
#6 Tuskegee (10-2) at #1 West Georgia (11-1)
While Grand Valley State has been the surprise on the left side of the bracket, Tuskegee has been one of the surprises on the right side of the bracket. Tuskegee delivered a big road win against Catawba in round one by a score of 26-16 after taking a 14-0 lead in the first quarter. Round two proved that win was not a fluke as they took out North Alabama 35-31 on a 2 yard touchdown run from Dennis Norfleet with 19 seconds left in the game. Norfleet finished with 136 yards and 2 touchdowns as the Golden Tigers overcame 4 interceptions from quarterback Kevin Lacey.
West Georgia enjoyed a nice bye in the first round before facing Valdosta State in round two. West Georgia actually trailed 20-19 with 5:35 to play, but a nice response allowed them to win 27-20 in a hotly contested game. West Georgia had 292 yards and 2 touchdowns on the ground compared to only 77 yards and a touchdown through the air.
These two teams met in the first round of the playoffs in 2014 with West Georgia prevailing on the road 20-17 as they went on to play in the Semifinals (lost to Colorado State Pueblo). This game should be close again and we will take Tuskegee to pull the upset 27-24. The winner of this game will play either Emporia State or Northwest Missouri State in the Semifinals.
#7 Emporia State (11-2) at #1 Northwest Missouri State (12-0)
Emporia State delivered the shocker of the first round when they went on the road and defeated Minnesota State-Mankato 51-49. They had to hold on for that game, but they had no trouble in the second round when they crushed Henderson State 29-3 on the road. ESU had 268 yards on the ground as a team with Landon Nault having 179 yards and the lone rushing score. Austin Morton booted 5 field goals while Eddie Vinson had a fumble recovery in the end zone for a defensive score.
Northwest Missouri State had a bye in the first round and then absolutely crushed Humboldt State in the second round 54-7. They led 21-0 after the first quarter and were up 47-0 before a touchdown past the midway point of the fourth quarter by Humboldt State. Shawn Bane had 7 catches for 134 yards and a touchdown.
These two teams met on November 7 at Northwest Missouri State with the Bearcats dusting Emporia State 44-10. Brady Bolles threw for 362 yards and 4 touchdowns with no picks en route to the big win. This game looks like a replay of that contest especially if the Bearcats are as hungry as they were in the first round. Northwest Missouri State wins 49-7. The winner of this game will play either Tuskegee or West Georgia in the Semifinals.