Week 2 Around the Valley
The second Saturday of the 2023 college football season is upon us! The Missouri Valley racked up a 7-5 record in week one, but four of those losses came to FBS opponents. SIU and Youngstown State had very impressive week 1 victories and were rewarded in the week two FCS top 25 rankings (SIU- 24, YSU-25). UNI saw a surprising jump in the rankings from 23 to 21. North Dakota remained steady at the 17 spot while SDSU and NDSU topped the rankings at 1 and 2 after dominating victories. Illinois state also received votes.
Week 1 Honors
Offensive Player of the Week: Nic Baker, QB, SIU
Defensive Player of the Week: Cole Wisniewski, S, NDSU
Special Teams Player of the Week: Kaedin Steindorf, P, NDSU
Newcomer of the Week: Tyshon King, RB, YSU
Murray State put a beatdown on Presbyterian in week 1 (41-10), but struggled to get anything going on Thursday night at Louisville (lost 56-0). Indiana State looked to bounce back from a disappointing 27-0 loss to Eastern Illinois as they took on Indiana Friday night. Unfortunately, the Sycamores offense forgot to show up (again) in a 41-7 loss.
Today’s slate is set to be a very exciting one with massive, playoff implicating matchups as well as the first conference matchup. Let’s take a trip around the Missouri Valley.
#25 Youngstown State (1-0) at Ohio State (1-0)
Kickoff: 11 AM
Location: Ohio Stadium (Columbus, OH)
Week 1 result: W vs Valparaiso (52-10)
YSU is coming off a commanding week one victory with their eyes set on a massive opportunity against the fifth ranked team in FBS. Tyshon King impressed in his Penguin debut with 111 rushing yards and 2 touchdowns. Mitch Davidson went 11-19 passing with 130 yards. His lone touchdown was to CJ Charleston. The defense and special teams were electric, forcing 3 Valpo turnovers and adding a special teams touchdown on a blocked punt. Ohio State comes as advertised with a roster full of 4 and 5-star level talent. YSU needs to start fast and score often if they want to keep up with one of the top offenses in FBS.
Prediction: This is one of those ‘Burn the Tape’ games for YSU. Their revenge tour hits a speed bump and Ohio State wins big
South Dakota (1-0) vs St. Thomas (1-0)
Kickoff: 1 PM
Location: Dakota Dome (Vermillion, SD)
Week 1 Result: L vs Mizzou (35-10)
South Dakota struggled to move the ball against a tough Mizzou defense in week 1 (194 total yards). The defense had a tough first half, but held the Tigers to 7 second half points. St. Thomas picked up a week 1 win over Black Hills State (36-26) and are coming to the Dakota Dome with momentum.
Prediction: South Dakota finds its rhythm offensively and rips through St. Thomas for the first victory of 2023.
#24 SIU (1-0) at NIU (1-0)
Kickoff: 2:30 PM
Location: Husky Stadium (Dekalb, Illinois)
Week 1 Result: W vs Austin Peay (49-23)
The Salukis looked awesome in week 1. They rode a dominating first half to a 49-23 victory. Nic Baker led the offense to 432 total yards while the defense pitched a first half shutout and forced 3 turnovers. They hope to keep the momentum going as they travel to Dekalb to take on the Huskies. NIU beat Boston College to start their season and look to hand the Saluki’s their first loss. This will be the first time SIU and NIU play since 2007, a game the Salukis won 34-31 behind quarterback turned head coach, Nick Hill
Prediction: The funny thing about history is it often repeats itself. Salukis will leave Dekalb with the free money AND the W.
#2 NDSU (1-0) vs Maine (1-0)
Kickoff: 2:30 PM
Location: FargoDome (Fargo, ND)
Week 1 Result: W vs Eastern Washington (35-10)
The Bison took care of business last week, extending their FCS non-conference record to 77-4. Cam Miller looked great through the air and on the ground while the defense forced 1 turnover. Maine relied on a great defensive performance to beat FIU in week 1 (14-12) and hopes to pull off a major upset early in the season.
Prediction: NDSU stomps them in front of the Bison faithful.
Illinois State (1-0) at Western Illinois (0-1)
Kickoff: 3 pm
Location: Hanson Field (Macomb, Illinois)
Week 1 Result: ISU: W vs Dayton (41-0)
WIU: L vs NMSU (58-21)
Our first MVFC matchup of 2023 is here and it's gonna be a good one! The Redbirds are 5-2 all time vs the Leathernecks, and barely escaped Western last year with a 20-13 overtime victory. ISU looked very sharp last week as they thrashed Dayton 41-0. RBs Blakemore and Wright were electric, totaling 134 yards on only 8 carries between the two. The Annexstead to Sobkowicz experience picked up where it left off, totaling 90 yards and a touchdown. Defensively, they forced 1 turnover and allowed a measly 203 yards of total offense.
The Leathernecks were simply overpowered in week 1. Defense struggled to stop everything as New Mexico State racked up 650 yards of total offense. Morrissey looked good throwing the ball as he led the offense to 280 total yards and 3 touchdowns, but they struggled to run the ball. The rushing attack and defense need to see immense improvement to get a win today.
Prediction: The last two matchups have been one score games with the home team winning both. That same trend continues today as Western Illinois starts what is destined to be a chaotic season in the Valley with a thrilling victory over the Redbirds.
#17 North Dakota (1-0) vs Northern Arizona (0-1)
Kickoff: 3 PM
Location: Alerus Center (Grand Forks, ND)
Week 1 Result: W vs Drake (55-7)
North Dakota was dominant in their week 1 victory over drake. The offense, led by Schuster, racked up a mind boggling 652 yards of total offense. Defensively they held the Bulldogs to 332 total yards and forced 2 turnovers. Northern Arizona suffered a tough loss to Arizona in week 1 (38-3). UND won last year's matchup 27-24 to even the series record at 3 games a piece.
Prediction: These teams always play each other close but North Dakota has the edge today. Expect them to rally behind a rowdy Alerus Center and move to 2-0.