Often the first month of the football season is set of clues for what's possible later in the season and into the playoffs. If that rings true in 2017, it bodes well for a handful of D2 Football programs off to a most impressive start.
Here are five candidates for Team of the Month in D2 Football. VOTE at the bottom of the page. POLL will be open until Noon Friday Pacific Time.[divider]
BR-16 Humboldt State (5-0)
The Jacks have outscored their opponents by an average score of 58-22 this season and have moved up to No. 16 in D2 Football Rankings by BennettRank following a preseason ranking of BR-? and going 6-5 a year ago.
The Week 2 victory or BR-11 Azusa Pacific was huge but the one-point overtime road win at Western Oregon may loom among the largest of the season considering they entered the fourth quarter down 35-28. Humboldt State ranks No. 3 in D2 Football in total offense at 534.8 yards per game.[divider]
BR-13 Assumption (5-0)
While the Greyhounds have scored 50-plus points three times in five games, their defense have been stingy in the Red Zone, allowing just 46 percent touchdowns, No. 3 in the nation, while leading the country in sacks.
Assumption's victory at LIU Post last week was especially impressive considering they held the Pioneers to 208 yards passing and picked off one of D2's most efficient passers three times.[divider]
BR-15 Winona State (5-0)
Winona State DB Andrew Spencer celebrates an interception TD. He's picked off five passes in five games so far, and returned two of them to the house.
(Winona State Athletics)[/credit]
The Warriors opened the season by taking out highly-ranked Bemidji State and have rode the wave of a dominant defense and balanced, efficient offensive attack to a 5-0 start.
Winona State ranks 23rd in scoring offense at 38 points per game and are No. 6 in all of D2 Football in scoring defense. The defense creates turnovers and gets nasty in the Red Zone (No. 12).[divider]
BR-12 Central Washington (5-0)
The Wildcats sideline erupts after an interception by sophomore linebacker Gabe Caskey.
(Central Washington Athletics)[/credit]
The Wildcats have the toughest part of their schedule still ahead of them but they've been dominant thus far and the 17-16 win at Azusa Pacific lends confidence they're a legit national contender.
Central gets it done by running the ball well (No. 13, 253.8 YPG) and stopping their opponents from establishing a ground game with the nation's No. 6 rushing defense (68.2 YPG).
The Wildcats defense is among the nation's leaders in interceptions (No. 4 with 11), sacks (No. 3 with 21) and total defense (No. 9, 258.4 YPG).[divider]
BR-23 Bowie State (5-0)
Amir Hall carries the ball against St. Augustine's.
(Bowie State Athletics)[/credit]
Bowie State has yet to play a big-time opponent but have been dominant; No. 1 in total offense (591 YPG) and scoring offense (57 PPG) and Top-20 rankings in rushing offense, passing defense, turnover margin, 3rd Down Defense, 3rd Down Offense… and the list goes on and on.
The Bulldogs face Virginia State in two weeks, but appear poised to run the table heading into the postseason.[divider]