Southwest Minnesota State (2-3, 0-1 NSIC) at Wayne State (2-3, 1-0)
When, where: 6 p.m., Bob Cunningham Field, Wayne, Neb.
Player to watch: LB Nick Monzu, a 6-foot, 215-pound junior from Missouri Valley, Iowa, is the top Wildcat tackler with 34 stops. Monzu is coming off a season-high 11 tackles with one sack last week in a 10-7 win at Augustana.
Outlook: Wayne aims to snap a four-game skid at home but will have to stop one of the top offenses in NCAA Division II. Southwest Minnesota ranks third in Division II at 566.8 yards per game and features the nation’s top rusher, Tyler Tonderum. He’s averaging 211.2 yards per game with 12 TDs. The Mustangs score 37.4 points per game, but allow 37.2. Last season, SMSU ended a seven-game drought against Wayne State with a 40-24 win in Marshall.
Central Oklahoma (0-5, 0-5) at No. 3 Northwest Missouri State (5-0, 4-0)
When, where: 1 p.m., Bearcat Stadium, Maryville, Mo.
Player to watch: Junior LB Eric Reimer leads Northwest with 39 tackles and has recorded two sacks. He led the team in tackles last week at Northeastern State.
Outlook: Central Oklahoma allows 52.4 points per contest, the highest average in the MIAA. Offensively, the Bronchos are averaging 492.6 yards per game, third in conference play, one spot ahead of the Bearcats, who average 491.8 yards.
No. 5 CSU-Pueblo (5-0, 3-0 RMAC) at No. 19 Chadron State (4-1, 3-0)
When, where: Noon MDT, Elliott Field at Don Beebe Stadium, Chadron, Neb.
Player to watch: TB Glen Clinton rushed for more than 200 yards in the Eagles’ overtime loss at Pueblo last season.
Outlook: First place in the RMAC is at stake. The ThunderWolves are the only school in the conference to own a winning record against CSC. Two of their past three games have gone to overtime. Chadron State last won in 2008.
UNK (1-4, 1-4) at Central Arkansas (2-3, 0-1)
When, where: 3 p.m., Conway, Ark.
Player to watch: UCA senior QB Wynrick Smothers was last year’s Southland Conference offensive player of the year and averages 328 yards passing per game. He’s also a threat to run the ball. He and his deep receiving corps will test a young and depleted Loper secondary.
Injuries: UNK is without starting QB Bronson Marsh, WRs Matt Berry and Noah Housh and C Cody Wheeler. Also missing for another week are CBs Traysean Alexander and Kenny Hill.
Outlook: The pass-happy Bears are ranked 20th in the FCS and earlier this year led Colorado in the fourth quarter before falling. Playing its third-ever game against an FCS opponent, UNK also gets the unique opportunity to play on “The Stripes.” In 2009, UCA installed a purple and silver field, the only one of its kind in college football.
No. 22 Nebraska Wesleyan (3-2, 3-1) at No. 15 Concordia (5-0, 3-0)
When, where: 1 p.m., Bulldog Stadium, Seward, Neb.
Player to watch: Concordia sophomore DT Michael Gill last week registered career highs in tackles (9), tackles for loss (2.5) and sacks (2) despite being under the weather. NWU junior WR Connor Zumpfe had a breakout game with six catches for 86 yards, including the game-winning TD reception with 1:23 to play. Zumpfe, who joined the team last spring after playing on the NWU basketball team, has a team-high 16 receptions.
Outlook: It’s the NAIA football game of the week. Concordia is one of only five undefeated teams in the NAIA, but has yet to face a team with a winning record. Its first five opponents have a combined mark of 6-20. NWU has defeated two straight nationally ranked teams to enter the NAIA Top 25 for the first time since 2009 and will be playing its fifth ranked opponent in six games. Like the Bulldogs, Wesleyan features a punishing defense, led by NAIA player of the week Phil Latimer. Concordia coach Vance Winter expects a slugfest between teams that embrace physical play at the line of scrimmage. The game carries significant implications: Concordia tries to keep pace with top-ranked Morningside, while the Prairie Wolves can put themselves back into the GPAC title race with a win. The Bulldogs have gone nine straight quarters without allowing a point and 23 consecutive quarters without surrendering a rushing touchdown.
Dakota Wesleyan (3-2, 2-1 GPAC) at No. 20 Doane (3-2, 3-1)
When, where: 1 p.m., Al Papik Field, Crete, Neb.
Player to watch: Doane DB JerSean Walder will line up across from Dakota Wesleyan All-America wide receiver Anthony Muilenburg. Walder leads the Tigers in interceptions and ranks seventh nationally with three takeaways. Muilenburg is seventh in the NAIA in receiving yards per game with 106.
Outlook: The past two games in the series have gone down to the final minutes, with each team winning on its home field. For Doane to win, it must win time of possession. DWU has an explosive, balanced attack, ranking eighth in the NAIA in total offense, and the Doane defense ranks 15th in the NAIA. Francois Barnaud leads Dakota Wesleyan’s running attack with an NAIA-best 191 yards per game, and the Doane defense ranks sixth nationally against the run, allowing 82 yards a game.
Hastings (1-4, 0-4 GPAC) at Morningside (4-0, 3-0)
When, where: 1:30 p.m., Elwood Olsen Stadium, Sioux City, Iowa
Player to watch: Alex Gildon leads the Broncos with three interceptions and will need a big game for Hastings to pull off the upset.
Outlook: The No. 1 Mustangs won’t make it easy for Hastings to get back on track.
Briar Cliff (2-3, 2-2 GPAC) vs. Northwestern (2-2, 1-2)
When, where: 7 p.m., DakotaDome, Vermillion, S.D.
Players to watch: QBs Kevin Van Egdom of Briar Cliff and Davis Bloemendaal of Northwestern. Van Egdom has thrown for 926 yards and seven scores and scored one rushing touchdown, while Bloemendaal has thrown for 1,063 yards and 10 touchdowns and has also rushed for three scores.
Outlook: The Chargers have won two straight. The Red Raiders were idle last weekend after losing 22-8 at home to Nebraska Wesleyan, their lowest scoring game of the season. The Red Raiders and the Chargers are ranked second and third in the league, respectively, in passing yards per game. Defensively, the Chargers give up 27.6 points a game, the Red Raiders 33.8.
No. 19 Peru State (4-1, 2-1 HAAC) at MidAmerica Nazarene (1-3, 1-2)
When, where: 2 p.m., Olathe District Activities Center, Olathe, Kan.
Players to watch: Bobcat QB Tyler Audsley earned his second Heart of America Athletic Conference offensive player of the week honor after an outstanding second-half performance against Avila in Peru State’s 24-7 win last Saturday. He and the Bobcat offense will be tested this week: The HAAC’s top tacklers, Joe Camacho and JD Wood, are both from MidAmerica. The Bobcat defense, led by seniors Jake Kelley, Zach Lempka and Curtis Larsen, will look to keep its No. 2 HAAC scoring defense and total defense rankings.
Outlook: The Bobcats will aim for their first win in three tries against the Pioneers, whose losses are all to ranked teams. Last season, the Bobcats trailed 31-28 before MidAmerica scored with four minutes left.