New Year, Same MVFC (Week 6 Preview)
Week 1 of conference play was, for a lack of better words, fucking electric! We all know the MVFC is a conference where anyone can beat anyone, and last Saturday was much of the same. South Dakota made the biggest splash when they went into the Fargodome and handed NDSU its first loss 24-19. They rode the momentum of a 21-3 halftime lead to give us the first big upset of the FCS season. Northern Iowa rode behind a 4 touchdown performance from Theo Day to win a shootout 44-41 over Youngstown State. Murray State picked up its first win as a member of the MVFC over Indiana State. The Racers win was highlighted by their defense, who racked up a safety AND pick six. SDSU and SIU handled their business at home with the Jackrabbits beating North Dakota 42-21 and the Salukis winning 33-20 over Missouri State.
Week 2 of conference play kicks off today, and if I were a betting man…I’d bet on the side of mayhem.
Western Illinois (0-4) at North Dakota (2-2)
Kickoff: 1 pm
Location: Alerus Center
Week 5 Result: WIU: BYE
North Dakota: L at SDSU (42-21)
The Fighting Hawks got bounced from the top 25 after losing handedly to SDSU last week. The offense simply struggled to get going against a tough defense while the defense had zero answers for SDSU’s rushing attack, giving up 266 on the ground. Western is well rested after their bye week and is looking to come into the Alerus Center and hand North Dakota its second conference loss of the season. Morrissey and Choquette will both need big days to get the job done.
Prediction: I truly believe, in my heart of hearts, that Western WILL win a conference game this year. Unfortunately, that day is not today. North Dakota gets back on track with a much needed home win.
9 NDSU (3-1) at Missouri State (1-3)
Kickoff: 2 pm
Location: Plaster Stadium
Week 5 Result: NDSU: L vs South Dakota (24-19)
MSU: L at SIU (33-20)
NDSU experienced something they usually don’t last week, losing. Especially losing their conference opener, a result that hasn’t happened since 2010 (I was 11 at that time). They won the second half, but the 21-3 halftime deficit proved to be insurmountable. They outgained the Coyotes and controlled time possession, but it simply wasn’t their day. Missouri State went down 14-0 early to SIU. They were able to get it to a 3 point game late in the third until the Salukis ultimately ran away with it.
Prediction: The Schedule isn’t being too kind to Missouri State. Coming off a loss you would prefer a nice, easy one at home. Instead, they get the pleasure of dealing with a pissed off Bison team. NDSU wins this one BIG.
Murray State (2-2) at 8 South Dakota (3-1)
Kickoff: 2 pm
Week 5 Result: USD: W at NDSU (24-19)
Murray: W vs Indiana State (30-28)
South Dakota is the talk of the Valley right now and they 100% deserve it (Read Lucas Semb’s article about the USD turnaround). They have already matched their win total from 2022 and got the whole country talkin when they beat NDSU at the FargoDome last Saturday. I'm not sure what Coach Nielson is telling these boys but they are bought in and DANGEROUS. They jumped from unranked to #8 in our poll this week and have done everything to put themselves atop the Valley rankings early. Murray State picked up their first win as a member of the conference over Indiana State and are feeling good right now. Defense made the plays necessary to win and the offense did just enough. Need more out of the offense if they intend to replicate last week's result.
Prediction: South Dakota stays hot in front of a packed DakotaDome and sends Murray State home with their first conference loss.
6 SIU (4-0) at Youngstown State (2-2)
Kickoff: 5 pm
Location: Stambaugh Stadium
Week 5 Result: SIU: W vs Missouri State (33-20)
Youngstown: L at UNI (44-41)
The Saluki’s are on a mission in 2023. New defensive coordinator Antonio James has the defense flying around and seemingly taking the ball away whenever they want. PJ Jules is a menace in the secondary and Ro Elliot is the best rated back in the country. Nic Baker is doing what he does best, slingin the rock around the field and winning football games. Missouri State was able to get it close in the 3rd quarter last week, but SIU proved to be the superior football team in the end. Youngstown lost a tough one at UNI last Saturday. Davidson threw it all over the field, but the running game never got going. Their record reads 2-2, but this football team is much better than a .500 program.
Prediction: Youngstown has won the previous 2 matchups, with last year's win being one SIU had to think about for an entire off-season. The bad news for Youngstown is that these Saluki’s are unlike any Saluki team of the past. Dawgs leave with a hard fought victory. This game is gonna be a war and I’m extremely excited.
1 SDSU (4-0) at Illinois State (3-1)
Kickoff: 6 pm
Location: Hancock Stadium
Week 5 Result: SDSU: W vs UND (42-21)
Illinois State: BYE
South Dakota State proved why they are the number 1 team in the land last week. They rode a MASSIVE day from Isaiah Davis (132 yards, 3 td) to a decisive victory over then ranked North Dakota. The Jackrabbits are clicking on all cylinders as they head to Bloomington-Normal. Illinois State had a bye last week after a dominant win against Lindenwood in week 4. They’ve gotten off a great start behind the best ranked defense in the country. That defense could cause some serious problems for Gronowski and company.
Prediction: The Redbirds had 2 weeks to prepare for the Jackrabbits and that bodes in their favor. Their defense will give the SDSU offense problems, but SDSU will win in a close one.
Northern Iowa (2-2) at Indiana State (0-4)
Kickoff: 6 pm
Location: Memorial Stadium
Week 5 Result: UNI: W vs Youngstown State (44-41)
ISU: L at Murray (30-28)
Northern Iowa won a shootout vs Youngstown last Saturday. Much like Youngstown, the Panthers are MUCH better than their 2-2 record shows. Theo Day seems to be hitting midseason form and the defense won’t make giving up 40 a tradition. I don’t have many good things to say about Indiana State… At least the offense found a way to score some points last week! Plez Lawrence couldn’t be stopped, rushing for 203 and 3 tds.
Prediction: Sorry Sycamore fans, you’ll have to try to get that first win next week. UNI rolls.