Photos: Steve Zomberg (homepage) Mike Geib (right)
BOULDER, Colo. – Twelve teams have battled through their conference schedules, tested themselves in non-conference matches, and have now earned the right to play for a National Championship.
First round playoff matches kick off Saturday, April 19, when eight teams will be in action. The top four seeded teams have received first round byes: Saint Mary’s, Life, Arkansas State, and Lindenwood.
Saint Mary’s cemented its spot as the overall No. 1 seed by easily handling previously-undefeated Santa Clara 70-5. The Gaels benefited from quality performances from Dino Waldren, Kingsley McGowan and Nick Schlobohm, all of whom scored two tries apiece.
Life rested a number of starters this past Saturday, but managed to outscore Davenport 24-0 in the second half on its way to a 27-6 victory. The other Mid-South game was far more compelling as Lindenwood fell to Arkansas State 21-20. Lindewood scored a try in the 72nd minute, but the potential game winning conversion was missed, and the Red Wolves held onto the win, and subsequently held their third spot in the rankings.
Both Colorado State and Wyoming are playoff bound, even after the Cowboys lost 57-25 to the Rams Saturday. Wyoming raced out to a 13-0 lead, but were completely dominated the rest of the match. Colorado State and Wyoming will travel to California for their first round playoff matches to play Santa Clara and Cal Poly, respectively. A third team from the West has also qualified in Colorado. The Buffs’ match against Air Force was snowed-out Sunday. Still, the Buffs will host San Diego State April 19.
Cal Poly will host a playoff match following its 31-10 defeat of San Diego State. The Aztecs’ loss did not keep them out of the playoffs, but the team will need to beat Colorado on the road if they want to reach the National Quarterfinal.
West Point finds itself in the playoffs, as well. After disciplinary actions kept Army from competing in the East Conference’s fall schedule, the team won an appeal process, making itself eligible for the spring playoffs. An impressive run of four non-conference victories in less than three weeks was enough to land Army at No.11 in the latest Canterbury D1A Top 20, and into the postseason.
2014 D1A Playoffs Round One – April 19
Game 1: Colorado State @ Santa Clara
Game 2: West Point @ Davenport
Game 3: San Diego State @ Colorado
Game 4: Wyoming @ Cal Poly
Round 2 – April 26
Game 5: Winner Game #1 @ Saint Mary’s
Game 6: Winner Game #2 @ Lindenwood
Game 7: Winner Game #3 @ Life
Game 8 Winner Game #4 @ Arkansas State
Round 3 – May 3 (Higher seeds to host)
Winner Game #5 vs. Winner Game #6
Winner Game #7 vs. Winner Game #8
The two winning teams from Round 3’s National Semifinal will play for the 2014 D1A National Championship at Stanford University May 10.