Earlier this week, we previewed the quarterfinals of the Division II playoffs by looking at the matchup between two teams - MSU-Mankato and Tarleton State - whose conferences we’d already reviewed in previous, regular-season editions of the feature.
Today, we’re going to meet a couple of new faces to this: Lenoir-Rhyne and Valdosta State.
Valdosta State is as close as there is to a blue-blood program left in this year’s playoffs; of the remaining teams, the Blazers are the only one to claim previous national titles, having won in 2004, 2007 and 2012. They entered this year’s playoffs as a #1 seed, and lived up to their billing in their first game, cruising to a 66-16 victory over Bowie State. They hit with a balanced attack, putting down 288 yards and 4 TDs on the ground, to go with 261 and 4 through the air.
The Lenoir-Rhyne Bears continued their pursuit of their first title with a win over Wingate last weekend, having previously dispatched Florida Tech in the first round. Their season marks a dramatic turnaround, having gone a combined 6-15 the previous two seasons.
How do these teams match up for this important quarterfinal game? Let’s review the only way we know how: Inconsistently!
NOTABLE PEOPLE ASSOCIATED WITH EACH SCHOOL
Valdosta State: television personality and murder enthusiast Nancy Grace
Lenoir-Rhyne: From 1934 to 1949, the University’s president was Dr. P.E. Monroe. P.E. literally stands for “Pleasant Edgar”, a name which implies the existence of an Unpleasant Edgar, which is surely the name of a mythological figure who terrified the North Carolina foothills in the Depression era, and would’ve been enthusiastically covered on television by Nancy Grace
FUN FACTS I RECEIVED WHEN SOLICITING FUN FACTS ON TWITTER
Valdosta State has the only ALA-accredited library science program in Georgia but I am 100% sure that is not your definition of a fun fact.— Erin Leach (@erinaleach) November 26, 2018
BUT ALSO: Nancy Grace and 6lack are both alums. https://t.co/GzHeodJ4Ct
You underestimate my enthusiasm for the library sciences, Erin.
A few years back LR was raising money to build an updated STEM building on-campus, so logically someone donated a 14,000 lb granite statue of Martin Luther instead.— Sims Leonard (@Dave_Bost) November 26, 2018
I looked it up, and that’s a big Martin Luther.
there is absolutely nothing interesting about Valdosta— Chris (@cjdyal) November 26, 2018
Uh sir did you read the thing about the library program?
Lenoir-Rhyne was Appalachian State’s opponent the week after App St.’s upset win at Michigan in 2007. I recall Lee Corso accidentally referring to them as “LeAnn Rimes” on GameDay.— JSchnauzer (@Jschnauzer) November 27, 2018
Interesting. I was unfamiliar with the game referenced here, but I found this on YouTube:
[leaning increasingly close to you while doing a bad Jay Leno impression] Have you seen this? Have you heard about this?
EDGE: Lenoir-Rhyne, for giving me the barest opening to mention this
COOLEST NAME ON THE FOOTBALL ROSTER
Valdosta State: Justice Parham, Jackson Bull
Lenoir-Rhyne: Duane Bland (clearly a pseudonym; trying to throw us off how cool he is), Xzavion Huff, Odyssey Brown, Matt Cannon, head coach Drew Cronic
EDGE: Lenoir-Rhyne in a rout, I’m sorry, I don’t make the rules
Lenoir Rhyne: plays Catawba, game notes for the most recent matchup suggests the school bribed students to show up by offering them free Chipotle
Valdosta State: Battle For the Peach Basket
EDGE: Valdosta State. I want a basket, not a trip to the can
HAS THIS PROGRAM EVER EMPLOYED HAL MUMME AND MIKE LEACH AT THE SAME TIME, IN A FORMATIVE MOMENT FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF MODERN COLLEGE FOOTBALL OFFENSE?
Valdosta State: yes
EDGE: Valdosta State
Hmm, okay, we’re heading into the final round with Lenoir-Rhyne leading 3-2, but this one’s worth two points, so it can go either way:
LET’S SEE SOME MASCOTS
This is the logo of a team from a movie that’s presented as being a sports movie but is actually a romantic comedy and the sports scenes aren’t realistically acted.
Okay, wow. Big lead for Lenoir-Rhyne. But you can’t count out a top seed like Valdosta until you’ve truly closed things out. Do they have anything left in the tank? Do they, perhaps, have an on-field mascot that looks like he was developed in the 1980s to teach kids about the importance of not starting forest fires while smoking cigarettes, which is just sort of one those things where nowadays we’re like “okay we get that this was wrong it was a different time and forest fires are a real problem these days, cut Smokey Joe a break?”
Yes. Yes they do.
FINAL SCORE: It’s a tie, they’re gonna have to actually play football to figure out who’s better