The Division II National Championship is here, and FootballScoop breaks it down in the way only FootballScoop can.
Northwest Missouri State (14-0) vs. Lenoir-Rhyne (13-1), 12 p.m. ET Saturday, ESPN2, Florence, Ala.
Northwest Missouri State
Division II national championships: 3
Last national championship appearance: 2009
Key player: QB Trevor Adams - 193-of-262 passing for 2,788 yards, 27 touchdowns, six interceptions. 59 rushes for 141 yards and four touchdowns.
The case for the Bearcats: Just do what you've done all season long. The undefeated Bearcats have spent the entire season in the top five, and have played one game all season decided by less than nine points - a 28-24 win over Central Missouri on September 14. Northwest Missouri hasn't allowed more than 21 points since that mid-September day, and hasn't scored less than 24 points all season. Led by quarterback Trevor Adams, the Bearcats' balanced offense has overwhelmed opponents all season long. There's no reason Saturday should be any different. You're the heavy favorites here. Play like it.
Division II national championships: 0
Last national championship appearance: 1962 (NAIA)
Key player(s): The offensive line
The case for the Bears: You're not supposed to be here. Lenoir-Rhyne was barely ranked to start the season by the Division II coaches, and finished the season placed in the low-teens. The underdog tag is the most valuable gift a team can be given in this situation, especially when that team is 13-1. Northwest Missouri State handled Missouri Southern State's second-ranked rushing offense well early in the season, but there's nothing in Division II like the Bears' bulldozer of a running game. Lenoir-Rhyne has rushed for 5,290 yards this season (no other Division II team has more than 4,500) and 53 touchdowns. And they've only gotten better the closer they get to the championship, rushing 54 times for 316 yards and two touchdowns in a first-round win over Carson-Newman, rushing 75 times for 377 yards and five scores in a quarterfinals win over North Alabama, and carrying 70 times for 451 yards and six touchdowns in last week's semifinals defeat of West Chester.