Players of the week
Weekly honors handed out by the league)
- Offense - Hayden Hawk (Central Missouri) - Hawk only misfired on three passes while racking up 331 yards and three touchdowns. Hawk was 23 of 26 through the air, including scoring strikes of 11, 35 and 72 yards.
- Defense - Michael Terry (Fort Hays State) - The junior linebacker had 16 tackles and a 94-yard fumble return that set up a touchdown for the Tigers in the third quarter.
- Special teams - Eli Kuhns (Emporia State) - Seven extra points and one field goal gave the Hornets’ kicker 10 points for the fourth time this season. He has now made 33 straight point-after attempts.
1. Northwest Missouri State: The Bearcats’ defense proved its worth by bottling up Pittsburg State’s potent offensive production on Saturday. Come playoff time, Northwest Missouri State may have some issues to solve on offense, but with a swarming defense, it may not matter.
2. Missouri Western: Perhaps should have beaten Missouri Southern by more, considering the Griffons were handed fumble after fumble. Yet, after losing to the Lions last year, the Griffons will gladly take a win any way they can get it in Joplin.
3. Pittsburg State: A one-loss Gorilla club is still better than unbeaten clubs in Emporia State and Washburn. Also, it’s not like Pittsburg State was blown out by Northwest Missouri State. It was a game all the way to the end. Now comes another test for the Gorillas this week: Missouri Western in St. Joseph.
4. Emporia State: Brent Wilson and Co. get to take the week off before games against Missouri Western, Northwest Missouri State and Washburn arrive. Also, the Hornets get the nod over Washburn because of better quarterback play. Would take Wilson over Mitch Buhler any day. However, the defense could be the Achilles heel of this club.
5. Washburn: The Ichabods lead the conference in scoring defense at 11.4. But, why wouldn’t they? They’ve made a living off the bottom-tier teams in the league, including a non-conference game against Fort Valley State, a 2-5 club from the Southern Intercollegiate Conference.
6. Missouri Southern: Outside of Northwest Missouri State at No. 1, the Lions may be the surest thing in the league. Missouri Southern is good but not great. The Lions are slightly behind the upper-echelon teams while miles ahead of the bottom eight clubs.
7. Central Missouri: The Mules have either won big or barely lost this year. Too bad four of the games have been of the narrow-defeat kind.
8. Fort Hays State: The Tigers are riding high with three straight wins over William Jewell, Lindenwood and Southwest Baptist. Quarterback Treveon Albert — only a sophomore — could have some big years ahead of him. He’s completing 57.8 percent of his passes, but now he needs to cut down on his interceptions.
9. Nebraska Kearney: The Lopers don’t do anything great, but they’re starting to figure out ways to win. That’s the key in this league.
10. Lindenwood: Hopefully the wins over Lincoln and Southwest Baptist were enjoyed early on this season, because the Lions are going to have a hard time winning another game. Washburn, Missouri Southern and Pittsburg State await to close out the season.
11. Lincoln: Turns out, the Grambling team that the Blue Tigers played in Week 2 was in complete disarray. Still, though, in college football you can’t turn down victories. And give Lincoln some credit this season, they’ve been respectable in losses to Lindenwood, Pitt State and Kearney. Same can’t be said for the Missouri Southern and Washburn games.
12. Southwest Baptist: Still trying to figure out how this club beat Missouri Southern. It’d be nice to see who would win between Lincoln and Southwest Baptist, but the two clubs that are roughly 114 miles apart don’t even play each other this season.
13. Central Oklahoma: Well, quarterback Adrian Nelson and running back Josh Birmingham are injured, so it’s now the Marquez Clark show in Edmond. The junior wide receiver does lead the league in all-purpose yards, so that’s good news.
14. Northeastern State: Eastern New Mexico was a beatable opponent for the RiverHawks. Didn’t matter. It was another blowout loss for the birds.