The Nebraska-Kearney football team has qualified for the 28-team NCAA Division II Playoffs for the first time in a decade and fifth time in program history.
The Lopers (9-2) are seeded No. 6 and will take on former Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (RMAC) rival Western Colorado (10-1).
The game will kickoff at 2 p.m. CST from Gunnison, Colorado, with the other side of the bracket being Angelo (Texas) State and Minnesota-Duluth.
“We’re in baby. Looking over the numbers this weekend I felt pretty good where we were at. Of course, you never know after it goes to the regional and then national committee,” said UNK Head Coach Josh Lynn. “Super excited and proud of our team. We now get to see an old RMAC foe.”
UNK previously reached the playoffs in 2002, 2005, 2009 and 2011. The 2009 squad beat Saginaw Valley (Mich.) State for the program’s only win with four of the previous five playoff games coming at Cope Stadium. Kearney’s lone D2 playoff trip was a 2009 second round loss at UMD.
The Lopers lead the all-time series with WCU (formerly known as Western State) by an 11-6 margin, winning the last eight games between the two. The schools haven’t met on the gridiron since 2011, UNK’s last year in the RMAC.
Western’s three previous playoff trips came in 1992, 1994 and 1997 under legendary head coach Duke Iverson. Like those squads, the current Mountaineers play solid defense (14.8 points per game; 46 sacks to rank second in D2) while having a balanced offensive attack (187 yards passing and 187 yards rushing).
— Peter Holland Jr (@_Da_pistol) November 14, 2021
Lopers headed to D2 Football playoffs. First bid since joining the MIAA. Will play at Western Colorado on November 20th. pic.twitter.com/4dkpITuawZ
— KRVN sports (@JaysonJorgensen) November 14, 2021
— Nita (@docu1013) November 14, 2021
— UNK Athletics (@UNK_Athletics) November 14, 2021