Roster Analysis: Division II National Championship

December 19, 2014 by SbS Football Staff | with 0 comments

The Division II National Championship Game in Kansas City tomorrow will feature two schools playing in their first title game in school history, Minnesota State University-Mankato and Colorado State University-Pueblo.
The Mavericks from MSU-Mankato are undefeated at 14-0 and were ranked #1 in the country heading into the playoffs, while the ThunderWolves from CSU-Pueblo are 13-1 and were ranked #8 prior to the playoffs.
After a narrow 3-point win over Pittsburg State in the round of 16, the Mavericks have cruised to the title game with easy victories the last two weeks (a 27-point win in the Quarterfinals and a 34-point win in the Semifinals).
Meanwhile, the ThunderWolves have had a more dramatic run to the title game.  After an easy 38-point win in the round of 16, CSU-Pueblo won both its Quarterfinal and Semifinal games by only three points.  They needed a touchdown late in the 4th quarter of last week’s Semifinal game to make it to Kansas City.
Below we provide our geographic analysis of the two rosters.
Mavericks Roster by State
The Mavericks may be based in Minnesota, but the majority of their players come from other Midwestern states.
  • 36 of the 97 players on the Mavericks roster are from the state of Wisconsin, while there are only 25 players from the home state of Minnesota.  Additionally, there are 16 players from the state of Illinois.
  • Other than two players from California and one player from Texas, all of the players on the Mavericks roster are from a Midwestern state.


ThunderWolves Roster by State
As expected, the majority of players on the ThunderWolves roster are from Colorado, but there are plenty of players from other parts of the country as well.
  • 82 of the 122 players (includes all freshman) on the CSU-Pueblo roster are from the state of Colorado.  Arizona represents the second most of any state with 14 ThunderWolves from the Grand Canyon state.
  • There are also a significant number of players from the three states that produce the most college football players in the country: California (9), Florida (7) and Texas (5).


Both Quarterbacks from California
A state that has produced the likes of Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers, California is also the home state for both starting Quarterbacks in the Division II title game.
  • Although the Mavericks have relied heavily on two different Quarterbacks throughout the season, Ricky Lloyd has been getting the majority of snaps recently.  The Sophomore from Concord, California has passed for over 1,600 yards and 20 touchdowns this year.
  • Senior signal caller Chris Bonner leads the ThunderWolves offense.  Bonner is from San Diego, California and has passed for 3,100 yards and 29 touchdowns this season.

Mavericks Key Players – A Midwest Focus
As noted above, MSU-Mankato is one of those rare teams where its home state does not represent the most players on the team.  Similarly, the majority of the key players on the Mavericks roster are from a different Midwestern state.  Below is some background information on a few of the team’s top players.
  • The Mavericks have a 2:1 run-to-pass ratio this season, and leading the way on the ground is Tailback Connor Thomas.  The Junior played high school football at Notre Dame Prep in Chicago and has rushed for almost 1,400 yards and 13 touchdowns this season.
  • The Mavericks go to Wide-Receiver is also from outside the state of Minnesota.  Senior Dorian Buford, who is from Springfield, Missouri, leads the team in receptions (60), receiving yards (1,007) and touchdowns (15).
  • Anchoring the defense for the Mavericks are two players with eye popping statistics.  Junior Defensive End Josh Gordon from Milwaukee, Wisconsin has 17.5 sacks on the season, and Junior Linebacker Tyler Henderson, who played high school ball at Mankato West, leads his hometown team with 117 total tackles.
  • Defensive Back Nathan Hancock may be looking forward to the national title game more than any other player.  The Senior, who leads the team with six interceptions, played his high school ball in the Kansas City area.

ThunderWolves Key Players – A Colorado Focus
When analyzing the key players on the CSU-Pueblo roster, the ThunderWolves rely heavily on a significant number of players from the state of Colorado, plus a few from outside the state.  Below is some background information on a few of the team’s top players.
  • Running Back Cameron McDondle is the workhorse for the CSU-Pueblo offense.  The Junior from Littleton, Colorado has rushed 305 times for 1,901 yards and 16 touchdowns.
  • Senior Paul Browning is one of the ThunderWolves big play receivers.  The Widefield, Colorado native has only played in seven games this season, but has still accounted for 552 yards and five touchdowns.
  • Three of the four leading tacklers on the ThunderWolves defense are from the state of Colorado.  Joe Rosenbrock (99 total tackles) is from Brush, Seth Brown (86 total tackles) is from Colorado Springs, and Stephen Dickens (77 total tackles and 7 interceptions) is from Aurora.
  • The sack leader on the ThunderWolves defense is a local Pueblo product.  Senior Defensive End Darius Allen, who played high school football at Pueblo East, has accumulated 14 sacks on the season.
  • In addition to its stars from Colorado, there are several key players from outside the state, including two Senior Defensive Backs who are from the same high school in Florida.  Jarrod Lacy (79 total tackles) and C.J. Roberts (54 total tackles and 7 interceptions) are both from Santaluces Community High School in Lantana, Florida.