Football

After a big weekend of conference matchups, the MVC continues to dominate the FCS National Polls. Five teams are ranked in the top20: North Dakota State (1),South Dakota State (3), UNI (10), Illinois State (13) and Youngstown State (17).  

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Northern Iowa redshirt junior defensive end Elerson Smith.

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South Dakota State junior wide receiver Cade Johnson.

  • Northern Iowa put on a defensive clinic against Youngstown State last weekend in a 21-14 victory. The Panthers rattled the Penguin’s offense from the get-go, holding them to 55 total yards rushing while getting to the quarterback six times. Defensive end Elerson Smith took home his second MVC Defensive Player of the Week award, leading the way with 2.5 sacks and 3.0 tackles for loss in the win. Smith is starting to get national recognition, leading the MVC in both sacks (7.5) and tackles for loss (10.5) this season. The Penguins took a big hit on the offensive side of the ball after averaging 44.5 points in their first four games. Youngstown State will look to rebound against South Dakota State after taking its first loss of the season.  

  • SDSU continues to dominate the second half of football games, pulling away from Southern Illinois in a 28-10 victory. STATS FCS Walter Payton Award candidate, wide receiver Cade Johnson, put the struggling offense on his back in the first half, with an explosive 58-yard touchdown reception. It was his fourth touchdown of the season. The Jackrabbits scored three touchdowns while pitching a shutout in the second half, bringing their record to a satisfying 4-1 on the season.  

  • South Dakota destroyed Indiana State in a 38-0 shutout. MVC Offensive Player of the Week quarterback Austin Simmons took to the ground game Saturday, rushing for a career-high 138 yards and three touchdowns while putting up 210 yards and a touchdown through the air. His versatility has positioned him to be one of the most dynamic quarterbacks in all the MVC. Simmons continues to develop and is a key player to focus on this upcoming weekend against the Missouri State Bears. 

  • North Dakota State came to ISU last Saturday with the intention of showing the world why it is the team to beat in the MVC. The Bison did exactly that. Taking control of the game from the start, they cruised their way to a 37-3 victory. Quarterback Trey Lance came away with the MVC Newcomer of the Week award for his outstanding play against the Redbirds. Lance is second in the FCS with a73.6 completion percentage and leads the FCS with a 204.7 pass efficiency rating. He has 12 touchdowns and zero interceptions heading into this weekend. 

Key games to watch this weekend: 

  • Northern Iowa (10) @ North Dakota State (1) 

  • South Dakota State (3) @ Youngstown State (17) 

MVC Players in the NFL

Some former MVC players have gotten an opportunity in the NFL over the past few weeks. Some key players to watch this weekend include: 

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Denver Broncos defensive back Davontae Harris.

  • Former RedbirdDavontae Harris is in his first NFL season and is currently a cornerback on the Denver Broncos. Harris played his first snaps of the season last week as the defense continued to hurt from its injury-plagued season. While he was continuously targeted and picked on throughout the game, he had some overall bright spots. Harris has the chance to wipe away those struggles and show the coaching staff he is an NFL-caliber player. Harris and the Broncos take on the Tennessee Titans next week in what could be his career-defining moment. 

  • Former Bison Billy Turner is in his sixth NFL season and is currently a guard with the Green Bay Packers, who are now 4-1 this season. He logged 74 offensive snaps in the Packer’s Week 5 road win against a playoff-contending Dallas Cowboys team. Turner is in a great spot going forward, blocking for one of the best quarterbacks in the history of the NFL. 

  • Another Former Bison Chris Board is in his second NFL season and is currently a member of the Baltimore Ravens, who are 3-2 this season. He logged 25 defensive/special teams snaps in the Raven’s Week 5 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers. With Board’s improved special teams play, he should continue to develop and gain more snaps on defense going forward. 

Cross Country

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Bradley junior cross country runner Jake Hoffert. 

  • Bradley’s Jake Hoffert won his third Missouri Valley Conference Male Cross Country Athlete of the Week award at the Notre Dame's Joe Piane Invitational. The former 2017 MVC champion placed 28th of 165 runners during the men's five-mile race. The Braves will be back Oct. 18 at the Nuttycombe Wisconsin Invitational and Bradley Pink Classic. 

Soccer

  • Missouri State continued its impressive winning streak after beating Evansville Saturday night, bringing its record to a whopping 9-0. The Bears were led by goaltender Michael Creek, who won MVC Defensive Player of the Week. Creek played stingy in back to back games, allowing zero goals in that span. He has surrendered just three goals in 793:46 minutes played this season. The Bears are No. 14 in the latest United Soccer Coaches NCAA Division-I poll and are only one of three teams to remain undefeated. 

  • Roman Schindler of the Bradley Braves won his second MVC Offensive Player of the Week award, assisting in both game-winning goals. Schindler leads the team with eight assists on the season and has helped the team get back into contention as the Braves are now tied for second place in the MVC. 

MVC Players in MLB Playoffs

With the MLB Playoffs underway, there are many former MVC players who are currently in the race for a World Series pennant. 

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Former Illinois State shortstop Paul DeJong walked in his only at-bat and stole a base at the MLB's 90th annual All-Star Game Tuesday, July 9. In his third year with the St. Louis Cardinals, DeJong is slashing .258/.343/.442 with 13 home runs and 36 RBIs this season. Of 16 total Redbirds to reach the big leagues, he is the second ISU alumnus to receive MLB All-Star honors in ISU baseball program history alongside Buzz Capra in 1974.

CLEVELAND, OH; During the 90th MLB All-Star Game at Progressive Field on Tuesday, July 9, 2019 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Alex Trautwig/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

  • Former ISU Redbird Paul DeJong is in his third MLB season and is currently on the St. Louis Cardinals.DeJong took the city by storm this year, hitting .233 with 78 RBIs during the regular season. He already has four hits and two RBIs this postseason as the Cardinals head to the NLCS for the first time since 2014. 

  • Former Dallas Baptist Patriot Colin Poche is in his first MLB season and is currently on the Tampa Bay Rays. Poche has been a big part of the team’s playoff bullpen so far, posting a 2.25 ERA in 3.3 innings. He looks to continue to gain the ballclub’s trust after allowing 4.70 ER in 51.2 innings during the regular season. Poche and the Rays are on the verge of elimination, with a win or go home game against the Astros on the horizon.  

  • Former Missouri State BearLuke Voit is in his fourth MLB season and is currently on the New York Yankees. While he has yet to bat in the postseason, Voit put up a .263 batting average with 62 RBIs during the regular season. The Yankees will play in the ALCS after sweeping the Minnesota Twins. 

JASON DIETZ is a Blogger of The Vidette. He can be contacted at jrdiet1@ilstu.edu Follow him on Twitter at @dietz_chicago

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