This was a strong showing for most of the MVFC teams in action, some against some very strong competition. Here are the results:
Illinois State defeats Dayton 56-14 on Matt Browns 3 TD passes and Darrelynn Dunn's 127 yards rushing and 3 TDs. The Redbirds 318 yards rushing, coupled with a stifling defensive effort made for an entertaining game despite some spotty weather in Normal. Watch out for Brown and this Redbird team this season, as they look to be as good as advertised
Indiana State lost to Indiana 17-24, continuing its losing streak in season-openers (1980-Drake). The Sycs had plenty of chances but dropped passes and questionable officiating call prevented them from taking the win. Shakir Bell had 103 rushing yards in the 1st quarter and will most likely continue to be one of the NCAA's most dynamic play makers this season
Missouri State fell to #22 Kansas State 51-9 but don't let the final score fool you completely, as the game was tied 9-9 with just under 11 mins left in the 3rd quarter. But the Bears surrendered 6 TDs in the final 22 mins to turn this one into a blowout. Still an impressive showing from the recent MVFC basement dwellers
North Dakota State beat Robert Morris 52-0 to begin its defense of it's FCS National Title. Brock Jensen threw for 217 yards and 3 TDs.
Northern Iowa lost a close one to #12 Wisconsin 26-21, having their upset hopes batted down by Wisconsin D-Lineman Ethan Hemer in the final minutes. Redshirt Freshman QB Sawyer Kollmorgen threw for 265 yards and 3 TDs for the Panthers and the Panther D allowed Montee Ball and the Badgers only 168 yards rushing, a number Wisconsin failed to eclipse only twice last season (Michigan St--126 and Ohio St--90). Bring on Iowa!!!
The MVFC's newest member the South Dakota University Coyotes dropped their opener at Montana 24-35, despite leading midway through the 3rd quarter 24-16. Montana set a school record with 34 first downs behind 568 yds of offense. Ouch!
South Dakota State failed to complete an upset of Kansas, falling to the Jayhawks 17-31. The Jacks nearly equaled KU in offensive output (SDSU--411 yds; KU--432 yds) yet 4 interceptions and a lost fumble complicated their attempts to come away with the win. The Jacks pulled within 7 with 8:39 to go in the game but Kansas drove and scored just 3 minutes later to deal the victory
It was a tough opener for Southern Illinois as they were shredded defensively by Eastern Illinois, 28-49. The Saluki's gave up 433 yards passing while also committing 6 turnovers. Disappointing to see this type of result, even if EIU is the defending Ohio Valley Conference Champion. Still waiting for the Dawg's to find their bite. On a bright note, SIU did pass for 300+ yards and force 4 turnovers of their own. Neither team however broke 90 yards rushing despite 35+ attempts on both sides
Western Illinois completed a HUGE UPSET over perennial Mid-Major power Butler, oh wait, that's in basketball. Well anyways, despite falling off the face of the earth last season, the Leathernecks came out with a 23-15 victory over the Bulldogs. WIU led 23-0 in the 3rd quarter, led by Caulton Ray's 108 yards rushing and 2 TDs before surviving Butler's attempts to rally. Good start to the season for Western, however, to say anyone should be excited about a Leatherneck return to the top of the standings may be pushing it
In arguably the MVFC's top showing of the day, Youngstown State made a big statement to begin their season by upsetting the heavily favored Pittsburgh Panthers 31-17. The 'Guins never trailed in the game and used a strong rushing attack to keep Pitt on it's heels. Despite Pitt undergoing a recent coaching change, they were thought to contend for a Big East title and they have competed in a Bowl game each of the past 4 seasons. Probably a middle-tier BCS program at best but still a very good win for YSU, who should challenge for an MVFC title once again.
Overall, it was a very good opening week for the MVFC, despite going 4-7 collectively. Given the competition some of our teams played and at the level they competed there is little reason to doubt that this will be another great year of Valley football!