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Wayne Cavadi | NCAA.com | September 19, 2021

Newberry upsets No. 5 Lenoir-Rhyne in another wild week of DII football. Here's what you missed

How last year's lacrosse player of the year became Ferris State's QB1

Welcome back to the wild and wacky season of DII football. This week, No. 1 West Florida trailed at the half and had to play comeback football. No. 2 Ferris State needed overtime to eke by unranked Saginaw Valley State. Oh, and the No. 5 team in the land lost at the hands of unranked Newberry.

WEEK 3 RANKINGS: Last week's DII football Power 10

This week there were more top-25 upsets, another quarterback rushing for over 200 yards and some thrilling victories in the final seconds. Let’s get you caught up on the action. 

5 things you missed in Week 3

1. Newberry stuns No. 5 Lenoir-Rhyne
The Wolves had the most shocking win of the weekend when they downed the Bears — who came in at No. 3 in the last Power 10 — 28-21. The Wolves only trailed for about four minutes in this one and used a big 14-0 third quarter to separate themselves. It was Newberry's first victory over a ranked team since 2014. 

Running back Mario Anderson had a huge day on the ground, rushing for 124 yards and two big touchdowns, one for 25 yards and the other for 18. Dre Harris was solid through the air, passing for 260 yards and a touchdown while adding another score on the ground. Like most teams, the Wolves had no answer for Bears freshman running back Dwayne McGee, who recorded his fourth 100-yard rushing performance in six career games.

2. Punters who throw: Mike Hohensee, have yourself a day
Hohensee, Northwest Missouri State’s backup quarterback and full-time punter, found out he would become the starter earlier this week when Braden Wright went down for six to eight weeks. The Bearcats trounced Central Missouri, 47-7. You can say he responded well.

In fact, that's an understatement. Hohensee completed 14 of 18 passes for 260 yards and four touchdowns while rushing for 30 yards and two more scores. The Bearcats —who were idle last week due to a no contest — obviously used their week off wisely, preparing the offense with Hohensee in charge. Don’t worry, Hohensee still served as the team’s punter, booting it three times with one landing inside the 20.

3. Midwestern State is good at football
If we had to award the surprise team for the 2021 season this week, it would be the Mustangs. Midwestern State was tied for fourth in the Lone Star Conference preseason poll and now have consecutive wins against top-20 teams. This week, Angelo State was the Mustangs' victim, as they won in commanding fashion, 35-17.

Angelo State actually had a 17-14 lead at the half, but a 21-0 second half gave the Mustangs the win. Melik Owens led the defensive charge with two sacks and a forced fumble, but this offense is rolling. For the second week in a row, there was just no answer for Mustangs quarterback Dillon Sterling-Cole. He slung it for 387 yards and threw five touchdown passes to five different receivers. 

Harlon Hill 2021: 23 preseason hopefuls to watch | The ultimate guide to the history of the award

4. Several top-25 teams survive near-upsets
While five top-25 teams lost this week, there could have been more.

  • Defending champion and No. 1 West Florida trailed No. 21 Texas A&M-Commerce at the half, 17-14. West Florida made serious adjustments at the half, holding the Lions to less than 100 yards in the second half en route to 21 unanswered points and the victory.
  • Kudos to Saginaw Valley State who just wouldn't go away against No. 2 Ferris State. For every Bulldogs score it seemed the Cardinals had an immediate answer. Ferris State went up 39-31 with 45 seconds left only to have the Cardinals storm back and force overtime. The Bulldogs scored first in OT, and SVSU once again answered, but fell short on the two-point conversion as Ferris State moved to 3-0 in the 47-45 thriller.
  • It took quarterback TJ Davis' 258 rushing yards and three touchdowns to help improve Nebraska-Kearney to 3-0 with a 28-24 win over Washburn. Davis' final touchdown came with just 57 seconds remaining. The win was the first over Washburn at home since 1985 and the Lopers' first 3-0 start since 2011.
  • A Harrison Frost touchdown pass — his seventh of the season — with 4:47 remaining moved No. 18 West Georgia over No. 22 Delta State for good and sealed the 27-26 victory. The Wolves defense did the rest, holding the Statesmen to just 260 yards on the day. The impressive start for West Georgia continues with a tremendous GSC win now under its belt. 
  • In a minor upset, No. 15 Tiffin held off No. 12 UIndy, 20-17. Perhaps most impressively, the Dragons trailed 17-7 late in the third with starting quarterback Nick Watson on the sidelines due to injury and still found a way to win. A 44-yard pick-six and a game-winning drive orchestrated by backup Miles Johnson, and Tiffin is 3-0 and knocking on the door of the next Power 10 rankings. 


5. Chowan moves to 3-0; Bryce Witt impresses again
Bryce Witt has long-been one of the more under-the-radar quarterbacks in DII football, and Saturday showed why. He threw for 405 yards and seven touchdowns in Chowan’s 49-19 victory. It was the second time he threw for seven touchdowns in his career. It certainly helps that he has a pair of solid receivers in Laurence King — who now has 276 yards receiving and two touchdowns in the past two weeks — and Imeek Watkins, who caught four of Witt’s touchdown passes on Saturday. As long as Witt is healthy, this team will score points, as they are averaging 41.6 per game thus far in 2021. 

Top performers from Week 3 of the DII football season

Week 3 had a lot of high-scoring affairs. The Colorado School of Mines, for example, won its game 76-0. Both John Matocha and Michael Zeman had three-touchdown days but played sparingly in the second half and didn't accumulate many yards. Well, at least by their standards.

This was a big week for wide receivers. Preseason All-American L'liott Curry from Henderson State led the way with a monster day. Here's how the top performers in the top 25 breakdown for Week 3. 

NFL 2021: Every former DII football player on opening day rosters

Player School Position Stats
Tyson Bagent Shepherd QB 468 pass, 5 total TD
Chris Brimm Notre Dame (OH) QB 449 pass, 6 total TD
Adam Morse Henderson State QB 398 pass, 5 total TD
Andrew Koester Slippery Rock QB 331 pass, 4 total TD
Dillon Sterling-Cole Midwestern State QB 387 pass, 5 TD
Mike Hohensee Northwest Missouri State QB 260 pass, 30 rush, 6 total TD
Evan Cummins Ferris State QB 177 pass, 83 rush, 6 total TD
TJ Davis Nebraska-Kearney QB 166 pass, 258 rush, 3 total TD
       
Nathaniel Omayebu III Angelo State RB 161 rush
TJ Cole Ouachita Baptist RB 136 rush, 72 receiving, 2 TD
Kaleb Sleezer Minnesota State RB 114 rush, 1 TD
Dwayne McGee Lenoir-Rhyne RB 110 rush, 1 TD
Marvin Campbell Ferris State RB 109 rush, 1 TD
Al McKeller Northwest Missouri State RB 95 rush, 52 receiving, 1 TD
       
L'liott Curry Henderson State  WR 228 receiving, 4 TD
Devanaire Conliffe Notre Dame (OH) WR 194 receiving, 3 TD
Josh Gontarek Shepherd WR 183 receiving, 1 TD
Armani Carmickle Minnesota Duluth WR 150 receiving, 1 TD
Ryan Beach Shepherd WR 130 receiving, 1 TD
Henry Litwin Slippery Rock WR 130 receiving, 1 TD
Jeremy Hamilton Notre Dame (OH) WR 123 receiving, 1 TD
Marcus Taylor Ferris State WR 121 receiving
Tristan Smith Colorado School of Mines WR 119 receiving, 2 TD
Jalen Sample Minnesota State WR 117 receiving
Ja'Juan Mason Midwestern State WR 116 receiving, 1 TD
Hunter Rison Grand Valley State WR 107 receiving, 1 TD
Kaden Davis Northwest Missouri State WR 103 receiving, 2 TD
Irvin Charles Indiana (Pa) WR 100 receiving, 1 TD
Joe Golter Colorado School of Mines WR 100 receiving, 1 TD

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