MVFC – Week 7 in Review

MVFC LogoWeek 7 in the books and another interesting week in the MVFC. A couple of big “upsets”, a close game delayed by weather, and a “Game of the Week” that lived up to it’s billing, going to an exciting overtime finish.

First up though, let’s take a look at conference standings, where teams are in relation to being set up for a playoff spot or if they’re already out of the picture. I’ll list the team, then overall record, conference record, and then each team’s remaining games of the regular season.

School Overall Conference Remaining 5 Games
North Dakota State 6-0 3-0 WIU, UNI, @SDSU, USD, @ILSU
South Dakota 6-0 3-0 @ILSU, SIU, @UNI, @NDSU, SDSU
Western Illinois 5-1 2-1 @NDSU, SDSU, @ILSU, @INSU, SIU
Illinois State 4-2 2-1 USD, @YSU, WIU, @SDSU, NDSU
Northern Iowa 3-3 2-1 YSU, @NDSU, USD, @MSU, INSU
South Dakota State 4-2 1-2 @MSU, @WIU, NDSU, ILSU, @USD
Youngstown State 3-3 1-2 @UNI, ILSU, @INSU, @SIU, MSU
Southern Illinois 3-3 1-2 @INSU, @USD, MSU, YSU, @WIU
Missouri State 1-5 0-3 SDSU, @INSU, @SIU, UNI, @YSU
Indiana State 0-6 0-3 SIU, @MSU, YSU, WIU, @UNI

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). 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 and USD are both 6-0 on the season and are practically “locks” for the playoffs at this point.
WIU at 5-1 is still in a good position, but they’ll still need to win a couple more to remove any doubt.
ILSU and SDSU are both 4-2 and they’ll have to win 3 out of their remaining 5 to get to 7 wins. I think SDSU has a little bit of an advantage over ILSU in that department with a slightly easier remaining schedule.
YSU, UNI, and SIU are 3-3 overall and probably need to win 4 out of 5 to be solidly in the playoffs. YSU has the best chance, due to a very favorable late-season schedule as well as playing very well against the top teams in the conference.
MSU is 1-5 and can only get to 6-5 if they win out…unlikely but technically still possible if they tear through their remaining schedule (I don’t see that happening though).
INSU is 0-6 and can finish 5-6 at best, so they’re “officially” eliminated from playoff consideration.

#16(T) Illinois State at Southern Illinois (Homecoming)

1st 2nd 3rd 4th Final
ILSU 0 0 7 0 7
SIU 7 14 7 14 42

Quick Hits:

  • ILSU – QB Jake Kolbe throws for 232 yards a 1 TD, but had 3 INTs
  • ILSU – WR Spencer Schnell caught 74 yards and a TD for the Redbirds’ only score of the game
  • ILSU – LB Tyree Horton and DB Willie Edwards each had 8 tackles
  • SIU – QB Sam Straub has 368 passing yards, 4 TDs, and 45 rushing yards and took home a MVFC Co-Offensive Player of the Week award.
  • SIU – WR Connor Iwema nabs 6 passes for 118 yards
  • SIU – RB DJ Davis runs for 60 yards and catches for 78 yards and 2 TDs
  • SIU – S Jeremy Chinn, CB Craig James, and CB Roman Tatum each have an INT, with James also getting a fumble recovery

This was VERY unexpected for me. I didn’t really think ILSU was as good as their ranking had indicated, especially after their loss to Northern Arizona…but to only get one score against SIU was mindboggling to me. It was fairly evident from their game against Memphis that SIU’s offense could put up points, but their weakness had been their defense. So, either ILSU’s offense is REALLY struggling, or SIU’s defense really stepped up for their Homecoming game. SIU put up 21 points each half while holding ILSU to just one TD in the 3rd as their only score.

Illinois State falls to 4-2 overall, 2-1 in the conference and will head back home to host the 6-0 USD Coyotes next weekend.
Southern Illinois picks up a big “rivalry” win, moving to 3-3 with a 1-2 conference record and will head over to take on 0-6 Indiana State.

My Pick in Review:

I said: Redbirds by 7
It was: Salukis by 35
I…um…as I said…VERY unexpected result for me. I was completely off-base on this one. This wasn’t a swing and a “whiff”…this was swinging at a wild pitch that hadn’t even left the pitchers hand yet.

Indiana State at #3 South Dakota

1st 2nd 3rd 4th Final
INSU 3 3 0 0 6
USD 7 21 14 14 56

Quick Hits:

  • INSU – PK Jerry Nunez goes 2-2 on FGs from 20 and 35 yards for the Sycamores only scores
  • INSU – S Brenton Lockett leads the team with 8 tackles and had a forced fumble
  • INSU – DE Inoke Moala gets the fumble recovery
  • USD – QB Chris Streveler throws for 337 yards and 4 TDs and ran for 82 yards and 1 TD and received a MVFC Co-Offensive Player of the Week award.
  • USD – WRs Brandt Van Roekel and Cody Case each catch 2 TDs, with Van Roekel leading the team with 108 yards
  • USD – LB Jim Litrenta leads the team with 8 tackles

Ok, so this one is pretty much as expected. The Coyotes are doing just phenomenally well right now (and yes, that phrase still sounds very strange to me), and the Sycamores can’t seem to get much going. They have some decent players in spots, but they’ve had injuries in key positions across the lines and it’s obviously affecting their ability to compete with the other MVFC teams. 28 points in the first half for the Coyotes while allowing only two FGs gave them a 22-point lead at halftime. They spent the rest of the game putting up TDs at a rate of 2 per quarter and held the Sycamores to a total of 53 offensive yards and zero points, including 3 3-and-out’s.

Indiana State drops to 0-6 with 3 of those MVFC games, and will welcome the 3-3 SIU Salukis to Terre Haute next weekend.
South Dakota is the exact opposite, at 6-0, 3-0 in the conference, and next will head down to Normal to play Illinois State.

My Pick in Review:

I said: Coyotes by 24 (Probably could be worse, but USD will pull Streveler in the 3rd quarter)
It was: Coyotes by 50 (and they did pull Streveler at the end of the 3rd quarter)
A bit off on the margin, but pretty close. I was pretty sure that by the time the 4th quarter rolled around, USD would be ahead enough to go second-string. I didn’t count on them being up by 36 already by then, and I didn’t count on the backups putting up two more TDs. Still, I think this counts.

Northern Iowa at #8 South Dakota State (Hobo Days/Homecoming)

1st 2nd 3rd 4th Final
UNI 17 7 0 14 38
SDSU 0 6 6 6 18

Quick Hits:

  • UNI – QB Eli Dunne throws for 169 yards and 2 TDs
  • UNI – RB Marcus Weymiller has quite a game, running for 170 yards and 2 TDs
  • UNI – LB Jared Farley led the team with 7 tackles, 1 for loss and had a pass breakup
  • UNI – DB Elijah Campbell picks off a pass and takes it back 46 yards
  • UNI – LG Jackson Scott-Brown played a big part in opening up holes for UNI’s ground game and was awarded the MVFC Offensive Lineman of the Week award.
  • SDSU – QB Taryn Christion has 280 yards and 2 TDs, but also 1 INT
  • SDSU – TE Dallas Goedert catches for 120 yards and a TD
  • SDSU – LB Christian Rozeboom doubles up the #2 player in total tackles, with 14 total

Wow…like SIU over ILSU, this one blew my mind. SDSU’s offense from last year could put up 18 points in a quarter…in their sleep (actually maybe that’s the problem…Jackrabbit fans, are they trying to up the difficulty level this year and are actually playing while asleep?). This year, those points often seem to be much harder to come by, with the UNI defense essentially shutting them down for most of the game. At first glance, I was astounded with how bad (or good) SDSU’s kicker must be…either hitting 6 FGs…or missing 3 XPs in the game, but then I dug through and realized that he “only” missed one XP and the other two attempts were going for 2 points (maybe that is a commentary on how bad their kicker is though?) UNI nearly outscored SDSU’s whole game total with just their 1st quarter numbers. The Jackrabbits had a shot, pulling within 12 near the end of the 3rd quarter, but a big 4th quarter performance put the game (and Hobo Day win) out of reach.

Northern Iowa moves on up to an even 3-3 record, 2-1 in the conference, and will head back to their home dome and have a very tough game against 3-3 Youngstown State next Saturday.
South Dakota State drops to 4-2, 1-2 in the conference and will next take on the 1-5 Missouri State Bears down in Springfield, MO.

My Pick in Review:

I said: Jackrabbits by 6
It was: Panthers by 20
Missed by a mile on this one.

Missouri State at #10 Western Illinois (Family Day)

1st 2nd 3rd 4th Final
MSU 14 7 3 6 30
WIU 7 6 15 21 49

Quick Hits:

  • MSU – QB Peyton Huslig threw for 194 yards and an INT and ran for 51 yards
  • MSU – WR Malik Earl had a great game with 14 catches for 145 yards and 35 yards and a TD on the ground
  • MSU – LB Angelo Garbutt led the team with 8 tackles
  • MSU – DL Colby Isbell only had 4 tackles, but 3 were for loss including 1 sack and had a forced fumble
  • WIU – QB Sean McGuire had 249 yards and 3 TDs passing
  • WIU – WR Jaelon Acklin caught for 86 yards and 1 TD and ran for 62 yards and another TD
  • WIU – RB Steve McShane had 143 rushing yards and 1 TD, while RB Max Norris had 2 rushing TDs and 75 yards
  • WIU – LB Brett Taylor picked up 16 tackles including 2 for loss (1 sack) and had 2 pass breakups and received another MVFC Defensive Player of the Week award.

This was a wierd game…MSU went up early, at one point having a 14-point lead, before taking a 21-13 score to (first) halftime. Third and early in the fourth quarters, WIU came back and it was mostly back and forth. With a bit over 5 minutes left in the 4th, WIU was up by 5 and MSU had just received the punt with a lot of momentum, when a line of storms came through the area (including tornadoes in nearby counties) causing the second “halftime”…a 99-minute weather delay. Western came back out firing on all cylinders, forcing two turnovers on downs, while scoring TDs on each of their drives to get the win. As a Leatherneck fan, I was somewhat disappointed with the inability of some of our defenders to make tackles, although I knew that MSU’s offense could be pretty high-scoring at times. Still, this doesn’t give me a lot of confidence when going against certain types of offenses.

Missouri State falls to 1-5, 0-3 in conference, and head back home to take on 4-2 South Dakota State next weekend.
Western Illinois moves ahead to 5-1, with a 2-1 conference record and will have what looks like their toughest game of the regular season next Saturday…at the Fargodome…against the 6-0 NDSU Bison.

My Pick in Review:

I said: Leathernecks by 20
It was: Leathernecks by 19
Looks pretty close, although kinda like last week’s game against UNI, the score didn’t really tell the whole tale of how close the game was right up until the final minute or two. Still, only off by 1 point on my pick counts as a win in my book.

#2 North Dakota State at #7 Youngstown State (Football Alumni Day)

1st 2nd 3rd 4th OT Final
NDSU 0 10 7 7 3 27
YSU 10 0 7 7 0 24

Quick Hits:

  • NDSU – QB Easton Stick threw for 113 yards and 2 TDs but also ran for 172 yards and 1 TD
  • NDSU – LB Nick DeLuca had 12 total tackles, 1 for loss
  • NDSU – LB Jabril Cox had 8 tackles, but 3 were for loss (2 sacks) including some key ones near the end of the game and was awarded the MVFC Newcomer of the Week award and the STATS FCS National Freshman Player of the Week award.
  • NDSU – PK Cam Pederson was 2/2 on FGs including a 19-yarder and the game winning 36-yarder in OT which got him a MVFC Special Teams Player of the Week award.
  • YSU – QB Nathan Mays threw for 188 yards and 2 TDs and ran for 81 yards
  • YSU – WR Damoun Patterson had 71 receiving yards and 1 TD
  • YSU – RB Tevin McCaster ground out 62 yards and a TD against the strong Bison run defense
  • YSU – DT Donald Mesier and LB Armand Dellovade led the team with 8 tackles (one of Mesier’s was a 7-yard sack)

This “Game of the Week” lived up to the hype with the Penguins going ahead early by 10, only to have the Bison battle back and make it a 10-10 tie at halftime. After the break, it was mostly back and forth with YSU and NDSU finishing regulation all knotted up at 24-all. Playing a bit of extra football (that was actually still ongoing when I started writing the first part of this whole article), the Bison were able to hold YSU to a total of 2 yards, where they missed the 39-yard attempted FG. Then it was NDSU’s turn, where they also struggled to get the ball going the right way, moving only 6 yards towards the end zone, but they were able to finish it off with a successful 36-yard FG kick to win. Actually it was missed (left) FG on the first attempt, but YSU had called a timeout right before the kick, giving the Bison a “mulligan”. On the second attempt, PK Cam Pederson was able to sneak it through the right side of the goalposts for the win. One other thing…Stick won the “Best Running QB” award between the two QBs who also led their respective teams in rushing yardage.

North Dakota State are sitting at the top of the conference with USD as the only undefeated teams at 6-0 (3-0 in MVFC), and will head back home to Fargo and host the 5-1 Western Illinois Leathernecks next Saturday.
Meanwhile, Youngstown State also heads west next weekend, but for them, it’s to take on 3-3 Northern Iowa.

My Pick in Review:

I said: Bison by 7
It was: Bison by 3
I figured it’d be close…real close. This one doesn’t really surprise me at all. YSU is a very good team, but NDSU is just a little bit better.

I was 31-9 in my picks this season going into this week. With the upsets this week, I was 3-2. That puts me at 34-11 for the season so far.

The big game in the conference next week is probably 5-1 Western Illinois at 6-0 North Dakota State. It’s going to be a really tough game for my Leathernecks, but they have looked really good at times, so they could keep it a close one. Then again, it could be like last time we played at the Fargodome where we got toasted by 52 and had one of the plays featured on the ESPN Top 10 (it wasn’t a good one for the purple and gold). Other interesting matchups include Youngstown State at Northern Iowa (I didn’t think that one would be close, but UNI did really well this weekend…so…who knows?) and actually, South Dakota State and Missouri State could either provide a chance for the Jackrabbits to get things back on track…or go down in flames.
Check back later this week for my full preview of all of the Week 8 games in the MVFC.

Written by 

Father, runner, drum corps alumnus. Former member of the Western Illinois Marching Leathernecks. Following Leatherneck football and I-AA/FCS football since 1996.

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