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NCAA D-II National Championship Game: A Final Preview

McKINNEY, TX – On the eve of playing for a second consecutive NCAA Division II Football Championship, the Ferris State Bulldogs learned that standout defensive end Caleb Murphy finished second in the Harlon Hill Trophy voting to one of his opponents on Saturday, Colorado School of Mines’ quarterback John Matocha.

But the Bulldogs have a different trophy on their mind.

The matchup between the Bulldogs and Orediggers is an intriguing one.  This will be Colorado School of Mines’ first ever appearance in the D-II Championship Game, while the Bulldogs are making their third appearance in four seasons. They’ll be looking to become the first repeat champions since Northwest Missouri State in 2015 and 2016.

Mines actually started the season 0-2, including a 25-22 loss to Grand Valley State, something they have in common with the Bulldogs, who lost to GVSU in the regular season as well before turning around and eliminating the Lakers in the postseason.  Both teams were able to avenge a regular season loss in the playoffs, as the Orediggers defeated an Angelo State team they’d lost to in week two when they met again in the quarterfinal round of the playoffs.

Another commonality between the teams, outstanding pass rushes.  Ferris State finished second in Division II in sacks (60), led by Murphy’s 25.5.  The only team with more sacks, Colorado School of Mines (69).  So, offensive line play could be vital to either team’s success on Saturday.

Ferris State enters the game averaging nearly 35.5 points per game, while only allowing 14.6 points per game. Colorado School of Mines averaged more than 43 points per game on offense, allowing just over 18 points per game.

The game kicks off at 1:00 on Saturday afternoon in McKinney, Texas.

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