MVFC Postseason Week 2 In Review

MVFC LogoThe Scores

Montana State – 10
North Dakota State – 52

Duquesne – 6
South Dakota State – 51

Northern Iowa – 16
UC Davis – 23

Montana State at #1 North Dakota State

The Bobcats started with the ball in this game and on their first play of scrimmage, QB Troy Anderson nailed a 71-yard pass to WR Kevin Kassis to get them down to the NDSU 4 yard line. A couple of plays that went nowhere but backwards later, MSU was kicking a 24-yard FG and taking an early 3-0 lead. NDSU responded on their next drive, moving down the field and scoring on a 1-yard run by RB Lance Dunn. The NDSU defense then stepped up, shutting down MSU’s offense for a while, while NDSU took 4 plays to go 43 yards and into the end zone on a 11-yard run by Dunn, followed up with another 4-play drive, this time covering 68 yards, and with RB Bruce Anderson taking it the final 32 yards into the end zone and putting the Bison up 21-3 after 1 quarter. In the 2nd, another long NDSU drive got them familiar with the other end zone after Dunn ran 1 yard for another rushing TD. Another MSU 3-and-out and NDSU only needed 2 plays…19 yard run by RB Ty Brooks, then a 46-yard TD run by…who else..Lance Dunn…scoring his 4th rushing TD in the half. A blocked punt gave NDSU decent field position that they were able to turn into a 27-yard FG by PK Cam Pederson, giving NDSU a 38-3 that they would hold to halftime.

In the second half, the Bison started with the ball, but two plays in, threw an interception to MSU LB Josh Hill. 7 plays later though, MSU QB Troy Anderson threw it right back to NDSU CB Marquise Bridges. MSU was able to put together a solid drive on their next possession though, mostly running the ball, and finishing with a 51-yard TD run by the QB Anderson to narrow the lead to…28. NDSU came right back though, with 3 running plays, then a 30-yard TD run by RB Brooks to give the Bison a 45-10 lead going into the final quarter of play. With mostly the second string in, North Dakota State RB Adam Cofield ran on 7 of the next 11 plays, including a 1 yard TD run putting NDSU up 52-10. From that point on, defenses held, and NDSU mostly just ran the ball the eat up the rest of the clock to come away with the 42-point win.

MSU QB Troy Anderson threw for 124 yards and 1 interception, while also leading the team in rushing with 129 yards and 1 TD. The top receiver for the Bobcats was WR Kevin Kassis who caught 4 passes for 93 yards. LB Brayden Konkol led the team in tackles with 10 (5 solo) and LB Josh Hill had 5 with an interception.

NDSU QB Easton Stick threw for an absolutely incredible…um…86 yards and 1 interception. As you can tell by the score though, they didn’t really need to do much through the air, with RB Dunn running for 127 yards and 4 TDs, RB Anderson for 118 yards and 1 TD, RB Brooks for 103 yards and 1 TD, and RB Cofield for 48 yards and 1 TD. NDSU LB Jabril Cox led the Bison with 10 tackles (4 solo). DT Cole Karcz had 3 including 1 sack, and CB Marquise Bridges had a couple of tackles to go along with his interception. Punter Garret Wegner only had to put his foot on the ball twice, but averaged 44 yards with one inside the 20. Safeties Robbie Grimsley and Michael Tutsie along with RBs Anderson and Brooks all had solid kick returns that helped the Bison win the field position battle.

Montana State ends their season at 8-5 overall with a 5-3 record in the Big Sky and 1-1 in the playoffs. North Dakota State moves up to 12-0 overall, winning their first playoff game of the season and will host #8 Colgate next weekend. The Raiders earned their trip to NDSU after knocking off the only team outside of Fargo to win the FCS championship in the last 7 years, James Madison, by 3 points.

Duquesne at #5 South Dakota State

The Dukes, after winning their first FCS playoff game ever, were rewarded with a South Dakota snowstorm. The Jackrabbits started with the ball and moved downfield, covering the final 43 yards with a TD pass from QB Taryn Christion to WR Cade Johnson. It was actually a defensive stalemate for a while, as the longest drive the rest of the quarter would only go 30 yards and give nobody any points. Near the end of the 1st though, SDSU Safety Brandon Snyder forced and recovered a fumble giving the Jackrabbits great starting field position, then in the first play in the 2nd quarter, WR Isaiah Hill ran the ball 23 yards in for a TD, putting SDSU up 14-0. It wasn’t until late in the half, with only about 90 second left, that they’d get more points on the board, when RB Pierre Strong ran 52-yards for a TD. This was also the point when the snow really started blowing in. Late in the quarter, PK Chase Vinatieri hit a 39-yard FG to go up 24-0 going into halftime.

The snow picked up significantly during halftime…for comparison:
this is what it looked like for kick off the first half

and this was the view to start the second half (click the photos for larger versions)

Duquesne got the ball to start the 3rd quarter, using a 68-yard pass from QB Daniel Parr to WR Kellon Taylor to get into the red zone and then punching it in. The XP attempt failed, making it 24-6 for SDSU. A few drives later, WR Isaiah Hill got his second TD of the game on a 15-yard run. An interception by Safety Larenzo Williams gave the Jackrabbits the ball at the Dukes’ 32 yard line, which RB Mikey Daniel would run into the end zone on a 27-yard rush two plays later to put them ahead by 31. Five plays into the next Duquesne drive, SDSU CB Zy Mosely picked off another Daniel Parr pass. Not content with letting the offense get all the points, Mosely took it 43 yards back into the end zone to make it 44-6. Into the 4th quarter, SDSU had a bit more of a “standard” drive, ending with another TD run by RB Daniel, this time from 4 yards out to make things 51-6. Now, that did end up being the final score, but before it was all over, a fumble by SDSU was recovered by Duquesne D-Lineman Rob Marra, who then proceeded to have a little fun with things and make himself a snow angel…seriously. At this point, with less than 7 minutes left, a snow-covered field, and a senior playing in his final game of his collegiate career and who had just gotten his first ever turnover, the refs decided to take a cue from the “No Fun League” and throw a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct flag on him. I mean, I get that what he was doing was technically against the rules, but considering the situation of the game and the fact that it sure didn’t look like any of the SDSU players minded him having a little fun with things (being up by 45 often improves your general mood), the penalty didn’t really seem warranted. Anyway, from then on, the defenses held, the Jackrabbits ran the ball 8 more times, using up the final 4 ½ minutes of the game and coming away with a 51-6 victory.

Duquesne QB Daniel Parr had 160 passing yards with 2 interceptions and ran for 12 yards and a TD. Daquan Worley led the team in rushing with 60 yards, and WR Kellon Taylor had 5 catches for 97 yards. Defensively, LB Nohea Keahi topped the list with 6 tackles (3 solo) including 1.5 for loss. DB Reid Harrison-Ducros had 5 tackles and a forced fumble and DL Rob Marra had 1 tackle, 1 forced fumble, 1 fumble recovery, and 1 snow angel ???

SDSU QB Taryn Christion had 144 yards and 1 TD passing and ran for 49 yards. RB Mikey Daniel had his first 100-yard rushing game of his career, hitting exactly 100 yards with 2 TDs. Freshman RB Pierre Strong Jr. picked up 92 yards and 1 TD and R-Fr. WR Isaiah Hill had 2 runs for a total of 38 yards and 2 TDs. WR Cade Johnson caught 8 passes for 99 yards and 1 TD, and despite names like Wieneke and Godert having been on the SDSU roster for the last few years, Johnson has now tied Jake Wieneke for the school record for receiving TDs in a season at 16 (to be fair, Jake did hit 16 in 3 of his 4 seasons). LBs Christian Rozeboom and Logan Backhaus each had 7 tackles, with Rozeboom having 2 for loss and Backhaus picking up a sack. Safety Brandon Snyder had 5 tackles to go along with a forced fumble and recovery and DBs Zy Mosely and Larenzo Williams each had interceptions with 20+ return yards. Punter Brady Hale kicked 3 times averaging 45.3 with 1 inside the 20, 2 TBs, and a long of 57 yards.

The Dukes finish their season 9-4 with a 5-1 record in the NEC and 1-1 in the playoffs after having upset Towson last weekend. The Jackrabbits are now 9-2 overall, had a 6-2 conference record, and 1-0 in the playoffs. Their chances of another snowstorm diminish considerably next weekend, as they’ll travel down to Kennesaw, GA (north suburb of Atlanta) to take on #4 Kennesaw State after the Owls took down Wofford 13-10 today.

Northern Iowa at #6 UC Davis

Much less snow out in California than there was in South Dakota, so weather would be much less of an issue in this game. UNI started with the ball and were able to get close enough for a 41-yard FG from kicker Austin Errthum. UC Davis took things over from there, moving downfield with a bunch of completed passes, but eventually stalling out at the UNI 6 and settling for a 24-yard FG from kicker Max O’Rourke to tie up the game at 3. UNI did pretty much the same thing on their next drive, this time with a 36-yard FG, but the Aggies were able to to finish their next drive in the end zone with a 4-yard pass to TE Wesley Preece. In the the 2nd quarter, UNI QB Eli Dunne threw a pass to UCD DB Erron Duncan, but they’d only go 3-and-out with it. Later in the 2nd, UNI spotted the Aggies 29 yards on 5 penalties and USD was able to get 3 more points on it from a 35-yard FG to make it 13-6. With time winding down in the half, another long drive by UC Davis got them close enough for a 19-yard FG, to make the halftime score 16-6.

In the second half, UC Davis started with the ball and got just down to the UNI red zone before Panthers LB Duncan Ferch intercepted the ball and ran it back 63 yards to the UCD 35. The Panther offense was useless at that point though, as they’d only get 1 yard more and miss the 51-yard FG attempt. The Aggies WR Jared Harrell had a couple of nice receptions (one for 45 yards) on their next drive, and RB Ulonzo Gilliam ran it in the last 2 yards for another TD to go up 23-6. UNI responded with their own TD drive though, going 74 yards in 6 plays ending with a 1 yard run by RB Trevor Allen to pull within 10. On the first play of UCD’s next drive, QB Jake Maier threw a pass right to UNI DB Austin Evans that was returned 20 yards. Not to be outdone, UNI QB Eli Dunne threw one to UCD DB Vincent White, which he took back 21 yards. In the 4th, in a drive that UNI started late in the 3rd and used a 44-yard pass to WR Terrell Carey, the Panthers made it a 1-score game on a 45-yard FG (camera angles made it look questionable, but the refs called it good and that’s not a challengeable play). The UNI defense held the usually-prolific Aggie offense to a 3-and-out, then they were able to get down to just outside the UCD red zone before missing a 42-yard FG. UCD did pretty much the same thing, driving 54 yards before missing a 38-yard FG. With time running out for UNI, the Panthers got 43 yards downfield to the UCD 36, but on 3rd and 10, their best chance at picking up another first down to keep the drive (and their season) alive fell out of the hands of the receiver. After missing on the 4th down pass attempt to turn the ball over on downs, the Aggies were able to go into “victory formation” and kneel to run out the remaining 2 minutes of the game and take the 23-16 win…their first ever in the FCS playoffs.

UNI QB Eli Dunne had 273 yards passing with 2 interceptions. No receivers had any huge numbers of yards, but WRs Terrell Carey and Deion McShane, and TE Briley Moore each had 50-56 receiving yards.    RB Trevor Allen had 62 rushing yards with the only UNI TD of the game. Christian Jegen and LBs Bryce Flater and Duncan Ferch had 11 tackles each, with Flater having a sack and Ferch an interception returned 63 yards and ½ sack. DB Austin Evans picked up 7 tackles to go with his interception and DL Elerson Smith had a sack as one of his 2 tackles. PK Austin Errthum went 3 for 5 on FG attempts, hitting from 41, 36, and 45 yards, while missing from 51 and 42. The Panther defense held UCD to 23 points, which was their second-fewest against an FCS team this season.

UC Davis QB Jake Maier threw for 310 yards with 1 TD and 2 interceptions. WR Keelan Doss hauled in 9 catches for 137 yards, and WR Jared Harrell had 6 for 79 yards, but TE Wesley Preece had the only TD reception on one of his two catches. RB Tehran Thomas ran for 87 yards and RB Ulonzo Gilliam had 48 yards and a TD on the ground. The Aggies had 4 players with 7 tackles: LBs Mason Moe and Quincy Bennett, and DBs Devon King and Isiah Olave. King also had a forced fumble and Bennett had 2.5 tackles for loss. DBs Erron Duncan and Vincent White each had interceptions. PK Max O’Rourke was 3 for 4 on FGs, making kicks from 24, 35, and 19 yards out and missing a 38-yard attempt.

Northern Iowa finishes out their season at 7-6 overall with a 5-3 record in the MVFC and 1-1 in the playoffs after taking down Lamar last weekend in another low-scoring affair. UC Davis picks up their 10th win of the season, moving to 10-2 overall with a 7-1 conference record and 1-0 in the playoffs. As the #6 seed, they will travel to fellow Big Sky member, #3 Eastern Washington next weekend, which was the site of their only FCS defeat this season three weeks ago. Eastern Washington earned their way into the next round after a big second half (after being down by 4 at halftime) and winning 42-21 over Nicholls State.

As this is now time to say goodbye to another MVFC team for the season, it is also time to say goodbye to this year’s UNI seniors. They include guys like QBs Eli Dunne and Colton Howell, RB Marcus Weymiller, and TE Elias Nissan. O-linemen Cal Twait and Tyler Putney. They also lose both PK Austin Errthum and Punter Michael Kuntz. On the defense, some of the departing players include LBs Rickey Neal Jr., Duncan Ferch, Blake Thomas, and Kendrick Suntken, D-Lineman Bryce Douglas, and DB A.J. Allen.

How’d I Do?

MSU @ NDSU – My guess was around 38-10 for NDSU. It was 52-10 for NDSU…not a huge surprise there overall.

DUQ @ SDSU – My guess was 34-14 for SDSU. It was 51-6 for SDSU. A bit more impressive than I expected…I think the snow helped the SDSU run game a bit, but the way the Jackrabbits were playing, I don’t think it would have been close regardless of the weather.

UNI @ UCD – My guess was a close, 27-24 UC Davis win. It was a close, 23-16 UC Davis win. Defenses on both sides stepped up a little better than I thought, but I figured UNI wouldn’t quite be able to keep up with the Aggies offensively.

Next Weekend

We are down to 8 total teams playing 4 games next weekend, so I’ll go ahead and list all 4 games even though only 2 feature MVFC teams (all times in Central)

On Friday (12/7) night we have #7 Maine going cross-country to play at #2 Weber State at 7 PM on ESPN2. Saturday late morning at 11 AM features #8 Colgate making their first trip to the Fargodome to take on #1 North Dakota State on ESPN (the main one). Early that afternoon, #4 South Dakota State plays at #4 Kennesaw State at 1 PM on ESPN3, then a bit later, #6 UC Davis has their rematch at #3 Eastern Washington at 3 PM, also on ESPN3.

Something else interesting…this is the first time that the Quarterfinals has featured all the 8 seeded teams. Every year back to 2010 had at least one unseeded team making it at least to the round of 8 teams, and in the previous year, they had 16 teams but only seeded 1-4, so essentially all quarterfinals round games were going to have at least 1 unseeded team no matter what.


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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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