It’s a new year but the same pattern of the last 5 years is already playing out. This past weekend the MVFC went 6-3, 7-3 if we include the Week 0 NDSU win over Charleston Southern. I know those of you who aren’t MVFC fans reading this are rolling your eyes hard enough for them to fall out of your sockets, Sorry, not sorry. There will come a day when the MVFC is no longer top dog in the FCS. Maybe it still happens this year, I just wouldn’t bet on it.
Here’s what you need to know from this past weekend:
Missouri State 57 Southwestern (KS) 0
There isn’t much to say about this game. Missouri State took on a NAIA team that is to the NAIA world what Missouri State is the to the FCS world. The pregame line was 54.5 and I was convinced there would be no way the Bears would cover, but they did. Preseason All MVFC selection, Deion Holliman, started the game off with a 91 yard touchdown return on the opening kick. That wasn’t really a shock to me. Holliman set all kinds of return records last season and was returning kicks against a roster of players with 1/4 of his ability. He finished with 129 return yards. Beyond that I’m not sure who/what to point out as it was 21-0 just 10 minutes into the game and everyone on the roster that was eligible to play did. Kudos to to MSU for taking care of their lower division team with ease, unlike last season, though I’m not sure we actually learned anything
Western Illinois 38 Eastern Illinois 21
The answer for who replaces Nikko Watson seems to have been answered in emphatic fashion as sophomore Steve McShane ran over, around, and through in-state rival Eastern Illinois to the tune of 207 yards, including 168 in the second half (which is the fourth-highest one half total in program history). EIU jumped out to a 7-0 lead just 2:13 into the game when Mitch Kimble rumbled in from 19 yards out. Coach Fisher’s Leathernecks responded in a big way as they scored 24 points to close the half, including 10 points in the final 14 seconds. WIU’s stud linebacker, Brett Taylor, picked off Mitch Kimble which lead to a touchdown with 14 seconds left. The ensuing kick off landed untouched and the spin allowed WIU to jump on it an hit a 43 yard field goal as time expired. That 14 second span is a microcosm of the entire game. Coach Fisher is off to a good start in Macomb.
Youngstown State 45 Duquesne 10
In potentially the most shocking game of the week, the Penguins recovered from a sluggish start and imposed their will as the game wore on against the preseason favorite of the NEC. The Dukes are a good team, with a roster full of good football players, but they were no match for what Youngstown State kept throwing at them. The Penguins rolled up 610 yards of offense while giving up just 222 yards. The quarterback situation was answered when Ricky Davis took the field for the first series and impressed in his first game as he finished 12-16 for 187 yards and 3 touchdowns. Davis also added 74 yards on the ground, which is something YSU fans wanted to see as the biggest knock against Hunter Wells was his lack of play-making ability with his legs. I don’t want to read too much into the score, as we’ve seen YSU handle NEC teams in the OOC, only to flop in late season situations, for the last 7 years.
South Dakota 21 New Mexico 48
The game started terribly for the Yotes as New Mexico’s Teriyon Gipson took the first play of the season 75 yards for a score (Gipson also added an 84-yard score later in the game). As poorly as the game started we saw USD fight back, and look like they were going fight through the end for the next few series. Chris Strevler, the transfer QB from Minnesota, looked every bit the hype through the first quarter as he had back to back touchdown runs of 55 and 42 yards on USD’s first two possessions. At that point the wheels fell off for USD though. The dearth of top to bottom depth caught up and New Mexico pulled away for the easy win.
Indiana State 45 Butler 21
Prior to kick off there wasn’t anyone outside of the Sycamore locker room that knew who the starting quarterback was, as Matt Adam is sitting this year out to get his academics in order, until the first series. Hell, even within the Sycamore locker room it appears there wasn’t an answer until about mid-week last week. Coach Sanford went with Isaac Harker, and he didn’t disappoint. Harker went 21-35 for 315 yards and 2 touchdowns in his debut. Having said that, there is need for improvement on the defense. Non-scholarship Butler piled up 390 yards of offense, averaging over 5 yards per play. That won’t work next week as ISU travels to Minnesota.
Southern Illinois 30 Florida Atlantic 38
This game went exactly as I think most thought it would, just with fewer points. If you’re a reader of AnyGivenSaturday you are well aware of the confidence SIU fans had in D2 transfer quarterback Josh Staughan. Their statements may be justified as Josh finished 36-51 for 367 yards with 1 touchdown. Daquan Isom added 80 yards on 5 carries on the game, highlighted by a 69 yard touchdown run. That does, however, mean that on his other 4 carries he had 11 yards and back up Aaron Stanton had just 24 yards on 12 carries. I’m not great at math but that’s just 35 yards on 16 carries. We also saw SIU’s defense be, to quote the late Denny Green, exactly who we thought they were as they gave up 457 yards at over 6 yards per play.
Illinois State 50 Valpo 13
This, believe it or not, was a tightly contested game through about a quarter and a half as it was just a 10-3 Redbird lead with 7 minutes left in the first half. It was at that point, much like the YSU/Duquense game, the depth and top to bottom talent of the MVFC team took over. We saw some of Jake Kolbe at quarterback last season and it looked a lot like what we saw this past weekend. Kolbe went 11-19 for 166 yards with 1 touchdown and interception. The big difference in the game was the ground attack as the Redbirds piled up 271 yards on 42 carries compared to just 22 yards for Valpo – though to be fair that includes 33 sack yards, not that it truly makes it that much better.
South Dakota State 41 Texas Christian 59
This may have been the most entertaining game of the weekend. Yes, the game finished as an 18 point loss for the Jacks but that is not, in anyway, indicative of how the game went. After winning the starting job Christion threw for 333 yards and 3 touchdowns and knew where to find his favorite target all night long as Wieneke finished with 196 yards and 2 of those touchdowns. The game was tied at 24 at half, and was just a 7 point game at the end of the third. However, we saw the depth and talent take over in the fourth as SDSU just ran out of answers for repeated jabs TCU’s Kenny Hill kept throwing at them. It’d be easy to be concerned about the defense giving up the yards, and points, it did but I would bet that is an anomaly due to the type of game they got put in.
Northern Iowa 25 Iowa State 20
UNI moved to 3-3 in their last 6 games against in-state “big brother”*. Aaron Bailey did exactly what UNI will want from him all season – completed 56% of his passes, didn’t throw a pick, and ran for 114 yards. It’s easy to look at the fact he threw for 137 yards and dismiss that, but when coupled with the threat of his legs that is a dangerous 137. UNI controlled the line of scrimmage all night long as they ran for 232 yards to just 51 yards (2.0 YPC) for Iowa State. An area of concerns for Panther fans is the secondary, especially with Montana and EWU coming up. Charles Brown moved from WR to CB in the week leading up to the game due to injuries. The made Mark Farley the winningest coach in UNI history. Fittingly the game sealing interception with less than a minute to go was made by his son, Jared.
- Northern Iowa
- North Dakota State
- South Dakota State
- Western Illinois
- Youngstown State
- Illinois State
- Southern Illinois
- Indiana State
- South Dakota
- Missouri State