SATURDAY'S GAMES OF THE WEEK
NCAA DIVISION II PLAYOFFS
Missouri Western (12-1) at MSU Mankato (12-0), noon: After outlasting Minnesota Duluth 57-55 in three overtimes two weeks ago, Missouri Western defeated Henderson State 45-21 last Saturday to reach the Super Region 3 final. The Griffons, who are averaging 44 points per game, are led by RB Michael Hill (2,118 yards, 16 TDs) and QB Travis Partridge (2,546 yards, 30 TDs, only nine INTs). The Mavericks had a first-round bye, then outlasted Northwest Missouri State 38-35 in two overtimes last Saturday. It was the Mavericks' first playoff victory since 1993. The two teams have split their only two meetings -- in 1998 and 1999.
NCAA DIVISION III PLAYOFFS
Hobart (12-0) at St. Thomas (12-0), noon: Hobart, located in Geneva, N.Y., is ranked No. 7 in the d3football.com poll. The Statesmen went undefeated in the regular season for the first time in 55 years, defeated Washington & Lee 38-20 in the first round and Wittenberg 35-10 in the second round. Hobart has held six of its 12 opponents to under 10 points and had only one game decided by less than 15 points (a 42-34 victory over Union). St. Thomas defeated Elmhurst 24-17 to reach the quarterfinals for the fourth consecutive season. The Tommies, who reached the semifinals last season, have won 15 consecutive games at Shaughnessy Stadium and are 37-2 overall since 2010. This will be the first meeting between the teams.
MINERAL WATER BOWL
Excelsior Springs, Mo.
Winona State (9-2) vs. Lindenwood (8-3), noon: Winona State is making its third appearance in the Mineral Water Bowl. The Warriors defeated Missouri Western 43-41 in three overtimes in 2000 and lost to Emporia State 34-27 in one overtime in 2002. Warriors RB Rayon Simmons is third in NCAA Division II in rushing yards per game (144.2) and has scored 20 TDs. Lindenwood, located in St. Charles, Mo., finished fourth in its first year in the Mid-American Intercollegiate Athletic Association with a 7-3 record -- it moved up to Division II from NAIA. Denodus O'Bryant has rushed for 1,186 yards (6.3 yards per carry) and 11 TDs, and true freshman QB Dillon Miller has started the past four games -- passing for 973 yards. The Lions average 32 points per game. Both teams have won three in a row. MIAA teams are 9-2 in the game since it became a Division II bowl game in 2000.