Everyone loves to cheer for the underdog- the Cinderella story, Rocky, the Harding Bisons. The campus has been buzzing with energy of the historical success from the football team. Nobody, and I really think nobody, thought this is how we would end up.
It was an obscure year to say the least, with upsets and injuries throughout our conference. But when a team starts out 0-3 you begin to question what they are really capable of.
How far will we really end up going? I found myself asking that and just hoped by some crazy turn of events we would win out. And win out we have.
It is no secret the Bisons are thriving now, winning 11 games in a row and making it to the semifinals of the playoffs for the first time in school history. But keep in mind where the Bisons came from.
That is what makes the story that much sweeter.
Of the four remaining teams in the playoffs, none have ever made it to the semifinals before. So in a sense, they are all underdogs. Each team has a story of how they have gotten there and each has had individual obstacles to overcome.
The only team that was maybe expected to make it this far is the No. 1 seed, Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP). They were the only No. 1 seed to survive through the tournament and also remain ranked first. They are also the only undefeated team, remaining at 13-0.
IUP will face the No. 4 seed University of West Florida (WFU). WFU has a 10-3 record, their last win being against the previous No.1 seed University of West Alabama, 28-21.
Harding is the No. 3 seed and faces the No. 2 seed, Texas A&M- University Commerce. The Lions are 12-1 and managed to come back from 21 down in their last game to pull the upset over the other No. 1 seed, Central Washington University in overtime, 34-31.
We are no strangers to last minute victories. Just rewatch last week’s game. Or the Indianapolis game. Or last year’s game in Sioux Falls. We have managed to come in clutch when the tough get going.
This matchup will also be an interesting one due to the fact that Harding ranks second in rushing offense with 347.7 yards and A&M Commerce ranks first in passing offense with 355.2 yards. A&M Commerce also has Luis Perez ranking first in passing yards with 4,388 yards.
To put that into comparison, Perez is currently at more passing yards this year than Baker Mayfield, a top candidate for the Heisman trophy from the University of Oklahoma. Harding does not have anyone in the top 50 for passing yards.
However, as far as top rushing yards go, freshman Cole Chancey is No. 17 at 226 yards and A&M Commerce does not have anyone in the top 50 here.
Two totally different teams are going to battle on the field Saturday in Commerce, Texas, to earn a spot in the national championship.
So who really knows what will happen. All I know is that we sure do love an underdog, and also, we have already made history, so why not keep going?