This week went down pretty much as expected, for the most part, without any real upsets. A few teams somewhat “outperformed” expectations, but the end results this week aren’t really a huge surprise.
Let’s take a look at conference standings, where teams are in relation to a possible playoff spot or if that’s out of the picture for them.
|North Dakota State||9-1||6-1||@ILSU|
|South Dakota State||8-2||5-2||@USD|
For reference, in recent history, I believe only one 8-DI-win MVFC team has been excluded from the playoffs (YSU in 2013, who went 8-4 in a 12-game season, but was tied with 3 other MVFC teams at 5-3 in the conference and was coming off of 3-straight losses). In general, 7 DI wins will get MVFC teams at-large spots in the playoffs, and 6 DI wins is possible if the situation is right and the team gets a bit of help from other “bubble teams”. It’s happened twice so far, WIU in ’15, and ILSU in ’16, but it’s by no means a forgone conclusion.
NDSU, USD, SDSU, and WIU have all reached 7+ wins and will likely be in the playoffs. The one caveat to this is USD, who has lost their last two games (and 3 of their last 4). If they lose again next weekend (to SDSU), they may be considered “borderline” since the previously mentioned 8-4 2013 YSU team got left out because they lost their last 3 straight). Not saying they will be left out, but they’ll be sweating things come Selection Sunday.
UNI and ILSU are both at 6 wins and need 1 more to get into the playoffs. UNI should be able to do it assuming a win against INSU, but ILSU has to take on NDSU, so that’s a really tough situation for them.
With 5 or fewer wins and only one regular season game left, YSU, SIU, MSU, and INSU are out of the playoff picture. SIU and INSU both play teams that are likely in the playoffs, so they could make things “interesting” if either of them pull off a win.
#13 Western Illinois at Indiana State
??Round ???? to the Leathernecks!
??: Program-record 6?th road win
0?: First shutout since 2?0?1?0?
??: First time since 2?0?1?0? holding an opponent below 200 yards
???: 3?rd time this year surrendering less than 50 rush yards
RECAP ?? https://t.co/IwXd0zZbHO
— WIU Football (@WIUfootball) November 11, 2017
- WIU – RB Steve McShane ran for 63 yards, caught for 51 yards and 1 TD, and returned 3 punts including an 81-yard TD return
- WIU – #2 QB Connor Sampson came in in the second half and threw for 20 yards and a TD…the first of his Leatherneck career…to WR (and HS teammate) Darron Wheeler…for his first TD catch of his Leatherneck career
- WIU – LB Brett Taylor again led the team with 9 tackles, 1.5 for loss and a forced fumble
- WIU – DBs Aaron Diggs and Justin Fitzpatrick had 6 tackles and 1 INT each
- INSU – RB LeMonte Booker ran for 51 yards, and WR Bob Pugh caught for 51 yards…the top player for each stat
- INSU – LB Jonas Griffith led the team with 13 tackles, 2 for loss including 1 sack as well as 1 pass breakup and 2 QB hurries
- INSU – P Thomas Bouldin kicked 8 times with a 44 yards per punt average, had 1 inside the 20 and 2 TBs
Western Illinois’ defense played a great game, pitching a shutout for the first time since 2010 and holding an opponent to under 200 total yards of offense for the first time since 2010. Indiana State’s defense also played well, despite the score. They spent much of the day bringing pressure behind the line of scrimmage and getting 8 total tackles for loss. This helped to keep the game close at first, with the only points being a WIU FG. In the second quarter, however, WIU was able to figure out that nearly all of the pressure was coming from the outside…so they started running inside more. 28 points later and WIU had a 31-0 lead going into halftime. The second half saw many underclassmen and second-string players take the field for the Leathernecks, with two players getting the first TD catches of their careers, to increase the lead to 45-0 by the end of the game. The biggest “ding” against WIU in this game was when top WR Jaelon Acklin reacted poorly to being roughly picked up off the pile by an Indiana State defender by throwing a fist his direction. The actions got both players ejected from the game
and suspended for the first halves of the team’s games next week. I’ve been informed that non-targeting ejections do not carry a further suspension, so it sounds like Acklin will be back for the start of next week’s game.
Western Illinois picks up their 7th win of the season, moving to 7-3 overall, 4-3 in the MVFC and will play 4-6 Southern Illinois next weekend in Macomb.
Indiana State remains winless on the season, moving to 0-10 overall, 0-7 in the MVFC, and hit the road for the season closer at 6-4 Northern Iowa.
My Pick in Review:
I said: Leathernecks by 30
It was: Leathernecks by 45
30…45…80…does it really matter? In a game like this it was just a question of when they would call off the dogs.
Youngstown State at Southern Illinois
Penguins improve to 5-5 on the campaign with a gutsy win at SIU. pic.twitter.com/NqlGozt4gU
— YSU Football ?? (@YoungstownStFB) November 11, 2017
- YSU – RB Tevin McCaster ran for 158 yards and 1 TD
- YSU – WR Damoun Patterson had 4 catches for 80 yards and 2 TDs
- YSU – DE Justus Reed had a couple of tackles, but also had a strip-sack forced fumble that he recovered and returned 21 yards for a TD near the end of the game to go up by 8…essentially the deciding score
- SIU – Safety-turned-Running QB Matt DeSomer ran for 140 yards and 2 TDs and threw for 81 yards…and led the team in receiving with 1 catch for 34 yards. I think that’s the first time I’ve ever seen one player lead the team in passing, rushing, and receiving in one game.
- SIU – LB Kyron Watson led the team in tackles with 11
- SIU – DL Anthony Knighton had 6 tackles, 1.5 for loss (including 1 sack), a forced fumble, and a pass breakup
Despite the fact that neither team had much to play for other than bragging rights, this was one of the more exciting games of the weekend. SIU got up early in the 2nd quarter on a 58-yard TD run, but YSU answered back with a couple of Hunter Wells TD passes to lead 14-7 at the half. In the 3rd, SIU picked up a FG and TD and YSU had another of their own to give YSU a 4 point lead. SIU had another FG with 9:21 left in the 4th to pull within 1, but then with just under 2 minutes left in the game, YSU DE Justus Reed sacked the SIU QB, stripping the ball, and running it back for a TD to reach the final score of 28-20.
Youngstown State moves to an even 5-5 on the season with a 3-4 conference record and will host 3-7 Missouri State next weekend.
Southern Illinois falls to 4-6 and 2-5 in the conference and will conclude their season at 7-3 Western Illinois.
My Pick in Review:
I said: Penguins by 7
It was: Penguins by 8
They say defenses win championships. This wasn’t a championship, but it still applies. Both teams had issues with injured QBs and were about even offensively. YSU has a better defense though and it showed on the last scoring play.
#21 Illinois State at #5 South Dakota State
Jackrabbits upend Illinois State in OT https://t.co/4IrYsprYNu
— SDSU Football (@GoJacksFB) November 12, 2017
- ILSU – RS-FR QB Malachi Broadnax threw for 102 yards and ran for 83 yards in his (as near as I can tell) starting debut for the Redbirds
- ILSU – WR James Robinson caught for 83 yards and 2 TDs
- ILSU – LB Brannon Barry led the team with 8 tackles, 1 for loss, and DE James Graham had 2 sacks
- ILSU – DB Christian Uphoff had a couple of kickoff returns including one taken 5 yards in the end zone and returned all the way across the field for a 100-yard TD
- SDSU – QB Taryn Christian threw for 172 yards and 2 TDs, but also had 2 INTs. He also ran for 110 yards and another TD
- SDSU – WR Jake Wieneke caught 5 passes for 52 yards
- SDSU – LB Christian Rozeboom led the team with 10 tackles, including 2 for loss (1 sack)
- SDSU – PK Chase Vinatieri kicked two FGs including the game-winning 43-yarder in OT and earned the MVFC Special Teams Player of the Week Award
A TD for each team in the first quarter and they were all tied up at 7.
A FG for each team in the second quarter and they were all tied up at 10 at halftime.
A TD for each team in the fourth quarter and they were all tied up at 24…(sensing a pattern here?)
In OT, ISU’s kicker missed a 39-yard FG to the left, but when SDSU was stopped further back, Vinatieri hit the game winner from 43 yards out (how familiar does that sound to anyone who also follows the NFL?…Chase Vinatieri is the nephew of former SDSU and longtime NFL kicker Adam Vinatieri, just fyi).
Illinois State drops to 6-4 overall, 4-3 in the MVFC and hope to salvage any hope of making the playoffs back home against 9-1 North Dakota State next weekend.
South Dakota State moves to 8-2 overall and 5-2 in the conference and head down the road to take on in-state rival 7-3 South Dakota to close out the regular season.
My Pick in Review:
I said: Jackrabbits by 7
It was: Jackrabbits by 3
I said that SDSU would by a Dallas Goedert TD reception. Well…TE Goedert did have a TD reception, although it was the first score of the game. Still, I knew it’d be a close game, didn’t know it’d go to OT, but it was close.
#19 Northern Iowa at Missouri State
RECAP | Panthers Handle Bears On The Road
— UNI Football (@UNIFootball) November 11, 2017
- UNI – RB Marcus Weymiller ran for 131 yards and 1 TD
- UNI – DB Elijah Campbell had 4 tackles and an INT returned 35 yards for a TD
- UNI – PK Sam Drysdale went 4/4 on FGs from 20, 47, 37, and 22 yards
- MSU – RB Jason Randall ran for 24 yards and a TD
- MSU – LB Angelo Garbutt led the team with 17 tackles, had 1.5 TFLs (including 1 sack), and 2 QB hurries; he earned the MVFC Newcomer of the Week Award
- MSU – P Brendan Withrow had 6 punts for a 45.7 yard average with a long of 56 and 2 within the 20
Northern Iowa got the scoring started with a TD in the first and then a couple of FGs in the second. The first play from scrimmage following that second FG, MSU threw an interception that was taken back for a TD. With less than a minute left in the 2nd, MSU was finally able to get some points on the board with a TD to go to halftime down 22-7. The Bears were only able to muster a FG in the 3rd and the Panthers finished up with a FG of their own late in the 4th to come away with the 25-10 victory. In the game, UNI QB Eli Dunne was knocked out of the game in the 1st quarter, with QB Colton Howell coming in for the rest of the game. Howell wasn’t spectacular, but didn’t throw any interceptions and had 3 net yards on the ground (so didn’t end up with a lot of negative yards from sacks…a few…but nothing huge). I think with Dunne in there, UNI probably would have turned a couple of those FGs into TDs.
Northern Iowa is now 6-4, 5-2 in the conference and heads back home to close out their season against 0-10 Indiana State.
Missouri State falls to 3-7, 2-5 against MVFC teams. They’ll finish the season at 5-5 Youngstown State.
My Pick in Review:
I said: Panthers by 17
It was: Panthers by 15
Pretty solid pick here…like I said, I think Dunne would have gotten them a few more points, but not too far off.
#10 South Dakota at #4 North Dakota State
— NDSU Football (@NDSUfootball) November 12, 2017
- USD – QB Chris Streveler threw for 232 yards and ran for 93 yards and 2 TDs
- USD – DB Phillip Powell led the team with 11 tackles
- USD – WR Brandt Van Roekel finished with 62 receiving yards
- NDSU – QB Easton Stick threw for 307 yards and a TD and ran for 39 yards and a TD; he earned the MVFC Offensive Player of the Week Award
- NDSU – CB Jalen Allison – led the team with 10 tackles, 7 solo, and had 1 sack, earning him the MVFC Defensive Player of the Week Award
- NDSU – RB Ty Brooks ran for 152 yards and 3 TDs
In this instance, the conference “game of the week”…wasn’t really much of a game. The Coyotes did start the game well with a TD on their first possession. Then it was NDSU’s turn for a (Ty Brooks rushing) TD. Then it was NDSU’s turn for a (Brooks Anderson rushing) TD. Then it was NDSU’s turn for a (Seth Wilson rushing) TD…I think you get the point. USD would score again on a second Chris Streveler run in the 2nd…and again NDSU would answer with a (Ty Brooks rushing) TD. By that point, NDSU had doubled-up USD with a halftime score of 28-14. From that point on though, it was all NDSU, with the Bison defense recording a second-half shutout while the offense put up TD after TD (three more, specifically), for a final score of 49-14.
South Dakota drops to 7-3 overall, 4-3 in the MVFC and will hope to hold on to their playoff hopes next week when they host 8-2 South Dakota State.
North Dakota State is now 9-1 with a 6-1 conference record and finish their regular season at 6-4 Illinois State.
My Pick in Review:
I said: Bison by 12
It was: Bison by 35
That’s a bit of a larger margin than I anticipated. I knew the Bison would come out fired up after losing to SDSU the previous week…but kinda thought USD could hold them a little closer. This was the one game where I was a bit more off on the margin, but still got the pick.
I was 44-15 in my picks this season going into this week. This week I went 5-1 in my picks which puts me at 49-15 for the season so far.
Only one weekend remains until the regular season is over. It’s likely that anywhere from 4-6 MVFC teams will be playing after next weekend, depending on the results of next Saturday’s games.