Division II, Division III and NAIA title games set while FCS heads into semifinals
But no so at the lower levels.
The divisional playoffs are cranked into high gear. Let’s take a brief look at where everything stands in each division.
Top-seeded and defending champion James Madison needed a last-second field goal to survive visiting Weber State, 31-28, on Friday night, while No. 5 seed South Dakota State routed New Hampshire, 55-14.
On the other side of the bracket, No. 2 seed and winner of five of the last six national titles North Dakota State walloped Wofford, 42-10 in Fargo. No. 6 seed Sam Houston State outlasted upstart Kennesaw State, 34-27, to send the Bearkats into their fifth semifinal game in the last seven years.
Semifinals: No. 5 South Dakota State at No. 1 James Madison -- 4:30 p.m. ET Saturday, ESPNU; No. 6 Sam Houston State at No. 2 North Dakota State -- 8 p.m. ET Friday, ESPN2.
No. 4 seed West Florida traveled north and upset top-seeded Indiana (Pa.), 27-17 on Saturday, to send the Argonauts into their first championship game. No. 2 seed Texas A&M-Commerce fended off the option attack of No. 3 Harding (Ark.), 31-17, putting the Lions in their first title game as well.
National championship: No. 2 Texas A&M-Commerce vs. No. 4 West Florida -- 6 p.m. ET Saturday on ESPN2 at Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City, Kan.
In a similar dynamic to FCS, the defending champion is on a collision course with the traditional champion. In the first semifinal, defending champion Mary Hardin-Baylor (Texas) blanked Brockport (N.Y.), 24-0. The Crusaders will make their third trip to the Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl, looking to win their second title.
In the other semifinal, Mount Union (Ohio) overcame a 21-10 deficit to beat Wisconsin-Oshkosh, 43-40. The Purple Raiders will play in their 20th Stagg Bowl -- all of them coming since 1993, and 19 of them since ’96 -- with a shot at their 13th national championship. However, Mount Union has won just -- “just” -- two national championships since 2009.
National championship: Mary Hardin-Baylor (Texas) vs. Mount Union (Ohio) -- 7 p.m. ET Friday on ESPN at Salem Stadium in Salem Va.
The NAIA was off this weekend, taking a break in between last week’s semifinals and Saturday’s national championship. Defending champion Saint Francis (Ind.) out-gunned previously-undefeated Morningside (Iowa) 43-36 in the first semifinal, while Reinhardt (Ga.) held off undefeated Southern Oregon, 37-34 in double overtime.
National championship: Saint Francis (Ind.) vs. Reinhardt (Ga.) -- 6 p.m. ET Saturday on ESPN3 at Municipal Stadium in Daytona Beach, Fla.