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Central Missouri will replace Texas Tech in the DII Sweet 16 April 28-29 in Cottage Grove, Wisc., where they'll face the defending national champion and second-ranked UW-Whitewater Warhawks.

No. 16 UCM lost to the Red Raiders by two in the West semifinals last month, scoring more tries than Tech but falling short in the kicking game, and beat Northern Colorado 18-10 in the third-place game.

Texas Tech cited player injuries and cost for their reason to not travel to Wisconsin. Central Missouri is a manageable eight-hour drive from Cottage Grove.

The Mules could match up well with the Warhawks, in that their strengths are similar. Whitewater’s forward pack, led by the massive Chuck Koehler at No. 8, is its strength, and UCM boasts a large pack, too. Kyle Nixdorf, who bounces from back row to second row for the Mules, can match Koehler’s physicality.  

This will be the first trip to the Sweet 16 for UCM in its 40-year history.