DII NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP – Dec 21, 2019: Minnesota State vs West Florida

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Minnesota State Mavericks (14-0) vs West Florida Argonauts (12-2)

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MINNESOTA STATE-MANKATO MAVERICKS | NSIC

Coach: Tedd Hoffner

MSU=Mankato Players to Watch:

Senior RB Nate Gunn (6-2/220)

Gunn, senior running back from Minooka, Il., leads the Maverick rushing attack with 1,611 yards and 29 rushing touchdowns. His 29 rushing touchdowns are the most in a season in team history. Gunn has rushed for more than 100 yards in eight games this season, including a season-high 254 yards against Sioux Falls, where he set a school single-game record with six touchdown carries.

Gunn is MSU’s all-time career leader in carries with 842, in rushing yards with 4,866 and in rushing touchdowns with 63. Last season, he received D2CCA All-American Second Team honors.

Gunn will be running behind one of the top offensive lines in DII, featuring Jared Gossen, Evan Heim, Carter Dowdle, and Hunter Toppel.

Senior WR Shane Zylstra (6-5/215)

First Team All-American Shane Zylstra leads the Maverick receiving corps with 70 catches for 1,531 yards and 17 touchdown catches. His 1,531 receiving yards are the most in a season in team history, and his 17 touchdown catches matches the team’s single season record that was set by himself in 2018 and Dorian Buford in 2014. This season he has tallied more than 100 receiving yards in eight games, including a career-high 220 yards and three touchdowns against Minnesota Duluth.

Zylstra is MSU’s all-time leader in receiving yards (4,152) and touchdown catches (53). He also ranks second in career catches at MSU with 212. Last season he received AFCA All-American Second Team and CoSIDA Academic All-American Team honors.

Senior LB Alex Goettl (6-3/225)

As a junior, Goettl led the Maverick defense with 87 tackles, including a team-best 13.5 tackles-for-loss. He also intercepted two passes and recovered a fumble, en route to being named to the All-NSIC First Team. In 2019, Goettl has tallied 32 tackles, to go along with two fumble recoveries and an interception.

He was recently selected by the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference football coaches as the 2019 NSIC Glen Galligan Award recipient. The award is given to a student-athlete who participates at his institution for four years and is academically superior while making a positive contribution to the institution. Goettl also owns a 3.93 GPA in biomedical sciences and is one of 12 finalists for the William V. Campbell Trophy.

Senior DB Jack Curtis (6-1/175)

Curtis, a native of Lombard, Il, has started all 14 games for the Mavericks this season and leads the team in passed defended with eight. Curtis has also tallied 27 tackles and two interceptions. Against Augustana, he posted a season-high four tackles and an interception. He was named NSIC South Division All-Conference First Team Defense.

Senior DB Jack Leuis (6-1/195)

Leius was named the NSIC Defensive Newcomer of the Year.  Has started in 13 games for the Mavericks this season and ranks second on the team in tackles with 52. He is also second on the team in tackles-for-loss with seven. Leius has recorded a season-high seven tackles in four games this season and has intercepted two passes.

Senior DL Brayden Thomas (6-4/265)

Thomas has started in all 14 games for the Mavericks on the defensive line. He leads the team in tackles-for-loss with 19.5 and in sacks with 11. Thomas also ranks fifth on the team in tackles with 55 and has recovered a fumble. Against Minnesota Crookston, he tallied a season-best four sacks.

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WEST FLORIDA ARGONAUTS | GULF SOUTH CONFERENCE

Coach: Pete Shinnick

West Florida Players to watch:

***rFreshman QB Austin Reed (6-1/210)

Reed transferred to UWF in the summer of 2019 after a redshirt season at Southern Illinois. He had an outstanding year and was named the Gulf South Conference Offensive Freshman of the Year.

In his first season with UWF, Reed has started nine games and led the GSC in passing with 3,566 passing yards, 254.7 passing yards per game and 34 touchdown passes. The redshirt freshman from St. Augustine, Fla. is second in the conference with a 149.30 passer rating and has an 11-2 record as a starter. He is the third player in program history to win a Freshman of the Year award, joining Archie (defense) in 2016 and Mike Beaudry (offense) in 2017.

**Sophomore NB Trent Archie (5-11/186)

Archie, the former GSC Defensive Freshman of the Year, has started all 10 games at nickel is tied for the team lead and 12th in the GSC with 57 tackles. The junior from Mobile, Ala. is tied for third in the league with 4.5 sacks. Archie has four forced fumbles so far this year.

***rFreshman LB Gael Laurent (6-2/215)

Laurent, a redshirt freshman from Miami, Fl, leads the team with 14.5 tackles-for-loss. He also has 53 total tackles on the season. He is also credited with four forced fumbles on the year.

Senior WR Tate Lehtio (5-10/194)

Lehtio Entered his senior season with 121 receptions for 1,358 yards and eight touchdowns. He only needs 25 yards to go over the 1,000 yard mark in 2019. He has 82 receptions and five touchdowns. Lehtio’s counterpart, Quentin Randolph, has 845 yards and nine touchdowns.

Senior OT Samuel Antoine (6-4/310)

Antoine has continued his strong play on the offensive line and earned his third-consecutive All-GSC honor after a pair of second team awards in 2017 and 2018. The senior from Weston, Fla. has helped UWF average a school-record 143 yards rushing this season. The Argonauts have also thrown for 257.3 yards per contest which is second in the conference.

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DII National Championship Game
Minnesota State vs. West Florida
Saturday, December 21, 2019
McKinney, Texas

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Saturday, Dec. 21 | National Championship Game

Saturday, Dec. 14 | Semifinals scores

Saturday, Dec. 7 | Quarterfinals scores

Saturday, Nov. 30 | Second round scores

Saturday, Nov. 23 | First round scores

  • Shepherd 31, Indiana (Pa) 27
  • Kutztown 33, Tiffin 31
  • Notre Dame (OH) 31, West Chester 24
  • West Florida 38, Wingate 17
  • Carson-Newman 17, Bowie State 9
  • Lenoir-Rhyne 36, Miles 7
  • Central Missouri 37, Indianapolis 27
  • Lindenwood 41, Ouachita Baptist 38
  • Northwest Missouri State 7, Harding 6
  • Texas A&M-Commerce 23, Tarleton State 16 
  • Colorado School of Mines 24, Sioux Falls 21
  • Colorado State-Pueblo 17, Augustana (SD) 0

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