Wow…what a first week of MVFC action. There were record-breaking performances, a couple of highly ranked teams battling in close games, and a nearly epic comeback. It was a pretty exciting start to what should be a strong conference season.
Missouri State (1-3) at #2 North Dakota State (3-0)
4-0 on the season. 1-0 in the Valley. pic.twitter.com/BHnL6Vt89B
— NDSU Football (@NDSUfootball) September 30, 2017
- NDSU – QB Easton Stick threw for 220 yards and 2 TDs, including 6 of 7 for 121 yards in the first quarter.
- NDSU – SS Robbie Grimsley had 10 tackles, assisting on 2 tackles for loss including on a 4th and goal play. He also had his 3rd interception of the season.
- MSU – RS Deion Holliman picked up 221 kickoff return yards and became the conferences all-time leader in kickoff return yards. His 250 all-purpose yards was the 12th best performance in school history. Holliman was named the MVFC Special Teams Player of the Week for his performance.
- MSU – CB Matt Rush – had 6 solo tackles including a sack and helped the MSU defense hold NDSU to their lowest point total and lowest offensive yards total of the season.
NDSU started off the game strong and never really let up, putting up 17 points in the first half while holding MSU to a safety and a FG. The second half was pretty much the same, with NDSU picking up three more TDs before the Bears would get their first TD of the day, with a little over 5 minutes left in the game.
North Dakota State is now 4-0 overall and 1-0 in the conference. They will head down to Terre Haute to take on 0-4 Indiana State next weekend.
Missouri State falls to 1-4 overall, 0-2 in the conference and will take next weekend off.
My Pick in Review:
I said: Bison by 35
It was: Bison by 27
The MSU defense seemed a little stronger than I expected, but for the most part, pretty much how I thought it would go down.
#7 South Dakota (3-0) at #9 Western Illinois (3-0)
FINAL: Nielson’s Coyotes hang on to defeat Western Illinois on the road. USD improves to 4-0, 1-0 MVFC.
— SouthDakota Football (@SDCoyotesFB) October 1, 2017
- USD – QB Chris Streveler had 328 yards passing, 89 yards rushing, and accounted for 4 TDs.
- USD – CB Danny Rambo had 8 tackles and 3 pass breakups in addition to the interception to essentially end the game.
- UDS – WR Brandt Van Roekel had 6 catches for 119 yards and 1 TD.
- WIU – WR Jaelon Acklin had a record-setting performance with 343 receiving yards (a school and MVFC record, and the 4th best single-game performance in FCS history), 19 catches (a school and MVFC record), and 3 receiving TDs (1 short of tying the school and MVFC record). He received the MVFC Offensive Player of the Week award and the STATS FCS Offensive Player of the Week award.
- WIU – LB Brett Taylor tied the school record (held by former NFL great Rodney Harrison) with 28 tackles in the game. His 18 assisted tackles were the second-most in school history and he received the MVFC Co-Defensive Player of the Week award.
- WIU – RB/PR Steve McShane had a punt return for 77 yards as well as a rushing TD and 27 receiving yards.
It was a (kinda) a tale of two halves. South Dakota was doing just about everything right in the first half, rolling out to a 24-6 lead going into halftime. They started off the 3rd quarter in similar fashion, recording two more TDs to give themselves a 32 point lead with less than 6 minutes to go in the 3rd. At this point, something must have clicked on the Western sideline because they were able to put together two TDs before the end of the 3rd quarter, then another two in the 4th, the last with just over 2 minutes left in the game to pull within 5 points. WIU’s onside kick was recovered by USD but the Leatherneck defense was able to stop the Coyote offense, forcing a turnover on downs. With 34 seconds left, the WIU pass was intercepted by USD, ending WIU’s comeback just a bit short.
South Dakota is now 4-0 overall and 1-0 in the conference, with a home game against 3-1 Youngstown State next weekend.
Western Illinois drops thier first game of the season and sit at 3-1, 0-1 in the MVFC. They’ll head up to the UNIDome to take on 2-2 Northern Iowa at their Homecoming next Saturday.
My pick in Review:
I said: Leathernecks by 7
It was: Coyotes by 5
I expected an exciting, hard-fought battle, and it was…eventually. Unfortunately for my Leathernecks, the comeback started about 2 minutes too late in the game. That’s a fail for me.
#3 South Dakota State (3-0) at #6 Youngstown State (2-1)
✔️ 45:14 time of possession
✔️ 310 rushing yards
✔️ 7 points allowed
— YSU Football 🐧 (@YoungstownStFB) October 1, 2017
- YSU – LB Armand Dellovade had 4 tackles, including one for a safety in the 3rd quarter, and had his first INT of his career with 8:38 left in the game, which would amazingly be the last time SDSU would have the ball in the game. Dellovade was namde the MVFC Co-Defensive Player of the Week.
- YSU – TB Tevin McCaster ran for 183 yards and one of the game’s few TDs
- YSU – Penguin defense held the Jackrabbits to their lowest point total since late October 2015 (10-7 loss to UNI), and an astounding 14:46 TOP…the lowest TOP for the Jackrabbits going back at least to 1999 (they don’t have game-by-game breakdowns on their site prior to 1999), and only the 3rd time since 1999 that it’s been under 20 minutes (the first time for a team not named the Bison).
- SDSU – QB Taryn Christion threw for 157 yards, 1 TD and 1 INT, and ran for 28 yards.
- SDSU – WR Jake Wieneke caught the only SDSU TD in the game and had 61 receiving yards.
That was a VERY impressive performance by the Penguins on both sides of the ball, holding a team that was supposed to be an offensive powerhouse this season to only 7 points, while putting up 19 points, but more importantly for the YSU gameplan, holding on to the ball for over 3/4 of the game and having 3 drives that lasted over 8 minutes.
Youngstown State will take their 3-1 record (1-0 in the MVFC) on the road to take on 4-0 South Dakota in what should be an exceptional battle next weekend.
South Dakota State drops to 3-1, 0-1 in the MVFC and will head back to Brookings to take on the 2-2 SIU Salukis next weekend.
My Pick in Review:
I said: Jackrabbits by 3
It was: Penguins by 11
Missed on this one as well. Either the Penguin defense is WAY better than I was giving them credit for early in the season, or SDSU has take a step back from their offensive performances the last year or two. I did at least get one part of this right though, when I said that neither team will hit 30 points (could have said 20 and would have still been right).
Northern Iowa (1-2) at #25 Southern Illinois (2-1)
— UNI Football (@UNIFootball) October 1, 2017
- UNI – True-FR FS Suni Lane had 7 total tackles and recovered a fumble late in the 4th to head off a SIU comeback. He was named the MVFC Newcomer of the Week for his contributions.
- UNI – QB Eli Dunne threw for 266 yards and 3 TDs, with 106 yards and 1 TD going to WR Daurice Fountain.
- UNI – SS Korby Sander had 5 tackles, 3 pass breakups, and forced a fumble in the 4th quarter.
- SIU – RB Daquan Isom had 126 yards rushing and 15 yards receiving, averaging 7.9 yards per carry, and had a 52-yard run that is the longest play of the season so far for the Salukis.
- SIU – LB Kyron Watson had 15 tackles including 2.5 for loss (1 sack), a forced fumble, a fumble recovery, and a pass breakup.
A strong start by the Panthers saw them ahead 17-3 at halftime. In the second half, the Salukis started working on comeback, picking up a couple of TDs to UNI’s 1 TD, but turnovers on three consecutive possessions doomed the attempt and sealing the 7-point win for UNI.
Northern Iowa is an even 2-2 on the season, 1-0 in the MVFC and will head home to take on 3-1 Western Illinois at the Panthers Homecoming next weekend.
Southern Illinois is now also 2-2 (although 0-1 in conference) and heads up to take on 3-1 South Dakota State in Brookings next weekend.
My Pick in Review:
I said: Salukis by 6
It was: Panthers by 7
I’ll admit it, I was lulled into confidence in SIU following their strong performance against Memphis the previous week. That, plus UNI’s struggles against some mediocre teams so far this season made me think that SIU could win this one. Honestly, if they hadn’t had those 3 turnovers in the 4th quarter, it very well could have been an SIU win…but they did…and it wasn’t…and that’s a big ol’ L for my pick in this game.
Indiana State (0-3) at #10 Illinois State (3-0)
— Illinois State FB (@RedbirdFB) October 1, 2017
- ILSU – WR Christian Gibbs caught 189 yards on 5 catches with 2 TDs
- ILSU – DE Adam Conley had 4 tackles including a sack, and landed on a fumble in the end zone for ILSU’s second defensive TD of the season.
- INSU – TE Jacquet McClendon had 74 receiving yards on 6 catches.
- INSU – CB Mekhi Ware had 6 tackles, 2 pass breakups, but most importantly, had a 47-yard interception return for a TD to get the first points for the Sycamores.
The Redbirds had a packed house watching their first half shutout, while putting up 24 point themselves. The Sycamores finally got on the board with an INT->TD early in the 3rd quarter and was finally able to put together a drive midway through the 3rd for their only offensive points in the game. The 4th quarter though, was mostly just punts with an occasional turnover, none of which ended up with points for either team.
Illinois State is a perfect 4-0 overall and leads the conference with a 2-0 record. They will compete in the final non-conference matchup of the regular season, heading out to take on 2-2 Northern Arizona next weekend.
Indiana State falls to 0-4 (0-1 in the MVFC) and will welcome the 4-0 NDSU Bison to Terre Haute next weekend.
My Pick in Review:
I said: Redbirds by 10
It was: Redbirds by 11
This one went pretty well as-expected. ILSU still appears to be a decent team, INSU not so much, although I don’t know that either team really proved much.
I didn’t do so well this week with my picks, going 2-3, which puts me at 27-8 in my picks this season so far.
Next weekend, we have a couple of games that likely won’t be close, a couple of games that could be real close-fought battles, and an interesting non-conference matchup with a team that already took on another MVFC earlier in the season. Since I’m a WIU fan and since UNI is only about 3 1/2 hours away from Macomb, I’ll be making the drive up to catch up with some UNI-fan friends and root for a Homecoming-spoiling Leatherneck victory at the UNIDome.