Players of the week
(Weekly honors are passed out by the league)
• Offense — Anthony Abenoja (Pittsburg State): The junior signal caller accounted for four touchdowns in the Gorilla’s win over Northeastern State. He completed 18 of 24 passes for 228 yards while also amassing 86 rushing yards.
• Defense — Brandon Dixon (Northwest Missouri State): The senior defensive back from Pompano Beach, Fla., had three tackles and one pass breakup against Saginaw Valley State. Dixon also returned a fumble 70 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter.
• Special teams — Justin Linn (Washburn): The Abilene, Kan., native was three for three on field-goal attempts. He also made all seven of his point-after tries. His 51-yard field goal was one yard shy of the school record.
1. Northwest Missouri State: The Bearcats all but steamrolled Saginaw Valley State — another ranked team — in Week 1. Trevor Adams completed 75 percent of his passes and was nearly flawless for Northwest Missouri State. The Bearcats have to avoid any missteps before Pittsburg State, Missouri Southern, Washburn, Emporia State and Missouri Western await to close out their season.
2. Pittsburg State: The Gorillas were a well-oiled machine in their opener against Northeastern State. Quarterback Anthony Abenoja looked crisp, John Brown could be the best player in the league and the defense was stout. After a “down” year in 2012, the Gorillas should be a major player in the league’s final standings this year.
3. Missouri Western: A win at Central Missouri to start the year is certainly noteworthy. Many expect Central Missouri to be stronger this year, so winning in Warrensburg, Mo., was no small feat.
4. Washburn: If the Ichabods can force seven turnovers every week, well, then you have to like their chances to win.
5. Emporia State: Losing quarterback Tyler Eckenrode to graduation was tough, but former Ponca City standout Brent Wilson showed he’s up to the task of taking over under center.
6. Lindenwood: The Lions escaped a near catastrophe against Lincoln. Yet, a win is a win.
7. Missouri Southern: The triple option was in full force in the Lions’ opener against Central Oklahoma. Missouri Southern couldn’t stop UCO running back Josh Birmingham, but then again, it didn’t need to.
8. Central Missouri: Perhaps too far of a drop down the list after the setback against Missouri Western, but a couple of wins will vault the Mules back up in the top half of the league.
9. Southwest Baptist: The Bearcats land at No. 9 merely because they were at least within a couple plays of winning in the first week of the season.
10. Central Oklahoma: The Bronchos’ defense was atrocious against Missouri Southern, but at least they scored 38 points in defeat.
11. Fort Hays State: The Tigers watched as Emporia State broke in a new quarterback. And Fort Hays State was powerless in stopping the Hornets.
12. Northeastern State: Nothing went right for the RiverHawks in Pittsburg, Kan., but fortunately for NSU, Nebraska Kearney was even more dreadful.
13. Nebraska Kearney: The Lopers turned the ball over seven times in the opening week. That’s really all you need to know.
14. Lincoln: The Blue Tigers were nearly able to upend Lindenwood, but at the end of the day, it was just another loss for lowly Lincoln.