Missouri Western State Football enters 2014 at number 12 in our rankings. Check out our Top 25 Season Preview for more on the top college teams to watch this fall. Can’t find your team in the Top 25? View our full rankings to see where every team stands.
Last Season: 8-3 (7-3) Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletic Association
After 2012 brought a Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association title and the first playoff win in program history, the Griffons performed as expected to open the 2013 season. Their stats weren’t elite, but they were respectable, especially in rushing offense (#29 – 220.6 ypg), scoring offense (#24 – 38.5 ppg), and turnover margin (#5 – +1.5/game). The only stat that really matters though, is wins. Missouri Western State had a perfect record over their first seven games and was in great position to take their second-straight MIAA title and fourth-straight D2 playoff berth going into the final four weeks of the season, with three of four games at home. The Griffons went 1-3 in those four to end the season, with losses in every home game to Pittsburg State, Emporia State, and eventual National Champions Northwest Missouri State – all three teams finished ahead of Missouri Western State in the MIAA standings.
-Jeremy Jacobsen C – Second team All-MIAA
-Travis Partridge QB – 172/314 (54.8%), 2,206 yards, 21 TDs, 9 INTs, 135 carries, 720 yards, 10 TDs
-Dalton Krysa RB – 46 carries, 167 yards, 5 TDs
-Reggie Jordan TE – Second team All-MIAA, 23 catches, 366 yards, 4 TDs
-Austin Baska DL – Second team All-MIAA, 52 tackles, 7 TFL, 1.5 sacks, 1 INT
-Nick Williams LB – 63 tackles, 4.5 TFL, 2 sacks, 3 FRs, 1 FF
-Marcus Thompson DB – 42 tackles, 1 TFL, 2 INTs, 5 passes defensed
What to Watch For
Play the Best, Be the Best – The Griffons play against one of the toughest schedules in D2 yet again in 2014. They’ll open with BR14 Central Missouri, followed by BR16 Emporia State October 25, then travel to BR4 Northwest Missouri State the following week. That’s the kind of schedule a team needs to break into the playoffs as a high seed, assuming they win at least two of those three games.
We’re not yet two years removed from the last time Missouri Western State won the MIAA title, but much has changed in the interim. Three-year starting QB Travis Partridge is gone, and the battle to replace him is wide-open. Redshirt freshmen Skyler Windmiller and TJ LaFaver are the leaders in the clubhouse, but Partridge’s backup from last season (sophomore Nate Wilson) is in-play as well. Whomever wins the job will have good support around him in the form of MIAA-leading rusher Raphael Spencer and most of last season’s starting O-line. Reggie Jordan is a big loss for MWSU at tight end, but many of their top WRs will be back. This looks to be an improved team across the board, and if the quarterback situation works out well (which isn’t a certainty), this is a team that can challenge for a playoff berth. They won’t beat Northwest Missouri State for the MIAA title, but their matchup with Emporia State at home will be a great opportunity to prove something in one of the toughest conferences in D2 football.