MSU roundup: Football 5th in AFCA poll, but 4th in Super Region; Golf leads again

MSU captains carry the #24 jersey of the late Robert Grays to the coin toss before their game against West Texas A&M / Source: KAUZ
MSU captains carry the #24 jersey of the late Robert Grays to the coin toss before their game against West Texas A&M / Source: KAUZ

Mustangs stay 5th in latest Coaches' Poll

WICHITA FALLS, TX (KAUZ) - Midwestern State remained at No. 5 in the latest American Football Coaches' Association Top 25 released Monday morning.

The Mustangs used a 45-3 rout of rival West Texas A&M Saturday to roll to 6-0 for the third straight year. It was MSU's largest win in its 31-game series against the Buffs.

The ranking is the highest for the Mustangs since the team reached No. 4 last season for consecutive releases on Oct. 3 and Oct. 10, 2016.

Midwestern is one of 10 ranked teams from a competitive Super Region Four joining No. 3 Minnesota State, No. 8 Central Washington, No. 9 Texas A&M-Commerce, No. 10 Winona State (Minn.), No. 14 Sioux Falls (S.D.), No. 15 Colorado Mesa, No. 18 Humboldt State (Calif.), No. 21 Eastern New Mexico and No. 24 Colorado State-Pueblo.

Azusa Pacific (Calif.) and Minnesota-Duluth are receiving votes.

Northwest Missouri State maintained its unanimous hold on the No. 1 spot with a 19-0 shutout of Lindenwood (Mo.) to extend its winning streak to 38 games. The Bearcats are two wins shy of D2's all-time mark for consecutive wins.

Shepherd (W. Va.) stayed at No. 2 improving to 7-0 with a 48-14 win over Urbana (Ohio), but Minnesota State (8-0) jumped Indiana (Pa.) to take over the No. 3 spot after crushing Southwest Minnesota State, 54-7.

IUP (8-0) survived a scare from Clarion (Pa.), but dropped a spot to No. 4.

Midwestern State takes on UT Permian Basin in a Lone Star Conference matchup Saturday night at Grande Communications Stadium in Midland. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m.

MSU listed 4th in initial batch of Super Region rankings

Midwestern State opened fourth in the Super Region Four rankings released Monday afternoon by the NCAA Division II Football Committee.

The top seven teams in each region advance to the postseason commencing Nov. 18 at campus locations.

The NCAA Division II playoff field will be released via a selection show on Sunday, Nov. 17.

The Mustangs, who improved to 6-0 with a 45-3 win over rival West Texas A&M Saturday afternoon at Memorial Stadium, would host a playoff game for the third time since 2011 if the postseason started today.

Winona State (Minn.) (8-0) holds the No. 1 position and would receive an opening round bye while No. 2 Central Washington (8-0) hosted No. 7 Colorado Mesa (7-1), No. 3 Minnesota State (8-0) hosted No. 6 Sioux Falls (S.D.) (7-1) and No. 4 MSU hosted No. 5 Humboldt State (Calif.) (6-1). All first-round games are set for Nov. 18.

Winona State would play the MSU/Humboldt State winner while the victors of the Central Washington/Colorado Mesa and Minnesota State/Sioux Falls games would square off in the other regional semifinal on Nov. 25.

The semifinals winners advance to the regional final on the weekend of Dec. 2 with the champion moving on to face the Super Region Three titlist the following weekend.

The NCAA Division II Championship Game is set for Saturday, Dec. 16 at Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kan.

Texas A&M-Commerce (6-1), Eastern New Mexico (6-1) and Minnesota-Duluth (6-2) fill out the rankings at Nos. 8, 9 and 10, respectively.

Midwestern State hits the road to take on UT Permian Basin Saturday night at Grande Communications Stadium in Midland. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m.

Bolin earns LSC Defensive Player of the Week

Midwestern State's Drew Bolin earned Lone Star Conference Defensive Player of the Week honors Monday afternoon.

The junior linebacker from Keller led a true defensive effort as the 5th-ranked Mustangs held West Texas A&M to 228 yards of total offense in a 45-3 Homecoming win Saturday night at Memorial Stadium.

Bolin tied for team-high honors with four tackles including a sack and was in on another tackle for loss.

MSU limited the Buffs to 19 yards in the second half as WT managed just 49 plays for the whole game.

The 228 yards were the fewest an MSU defense has allowed since the Mustangs limited Truman State to 171 yards on Sept. 5, 2015.

Texas A&M-Commerce senior quarterback Luis Perez claimed top offensive honors for the second consecutive week throwing for 373 yards and four touchdowns in a 34-20 win over Angelo State.

Western New Mexico junior Collin Grady earned special teams honors connecting on field goals of 27 and 40 yards including the game winner in a 20-17 victory against Fort Lewis (Colo.).

Midwestern State takes on UT Permian Basin Saturday night at Grande Communications in Midland. Kickoff is slated for 6 p.m.

Men's golf leads after 1 round at The Territory Classic

Midwestern State stayed hot in the first round of The Territory Classic Monday afternoon.

Riding the momentum of winning their home invitational last week, the Mustangs stayed atop the team leader board firing a 2-over total of 290 at the par-72, 7,077-yard course at The Territory Golf Club.

"The guys are playing well with a lot of confidence right now," MSU coach Jeff Ray said. "We did a good job of getting the ball in the fairway and the greens are very good. There wasn't a lot of difference between what putt on on a day-to-day basis. That seemed to help us."

Senior transfer Clayton Keck joined junior Clayton Meyers to fire an even-par 72 to stand one stroke behind a five some of tournament leaders including Texas A&M International's Parker Holekamp, Arkansas-Fort Smith's Chris Eckes, Southeastern Oklahoma's Hayden Foster, Oklahoma Baptist's Dakota Clark and Oklahoma Christian's Andres Brictson.

Keck, a transfer from the University of Utah, notched four birdies and ranked among tournament leaders by going even on the par-4s, while Meyers fired in an eagle on Hole No. 7 and was otherwise steady with 13 pars.

"The wind was pretty tough and that makes for some really tough driving holes," Ray said. "We got through those holes and didn't get a big number on them. That's the key here."

Senior Trip Hobson and junior Chance Craig supplied the Mustangs' other two countable scores carding a 1-over 73 to tie for 11th just two strokes off the pace.

Hobson worked well going 1-under on the par-3s and 1-over on the par-4s while notching 13 pars, while Craig also notched 13 pars while going 1-over on the par-4s.

"The top four have been playing well," Ray said. "We are still looking for that fifth score. That will come as every member of our team is a good and talented golfer."

Freshman Tayden Wallin was well on the way to giving MSU that fifth score playing his first 13 holes at 1-under, but struggled over the final five holes to tie for 58th through the first 18 with a 7-over 79.

"Tayden's got a lot of talent and will continue to get better," Ray said. "I am really proud of how the guys played today."

MSU takes a three-stroke lead over Oklahoma Christian (293/+5) into the final round of play. Chasing the Eagles are Arkansas-Fort Smith (295/+7), Newman (297/+9) and Southeastern Oklahoma (297/+9).

Freshman Conrad Rafferty carded a 10-over 82 to tie for 69th competing as an individual medalist only.

The 36-hole tournament concludes Tuesday morning. Tee times begin at 8:30 a.m.

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