After yet another weekend of conference matchups, the Missouri Valley Conference continues to lead the FCS national polls. Four teams are ranked in the top 10: North Dakota State (1), South Dakota State (5), Illinois State (7) and UNI (10).
NORTH DAKOTA STATE 23 vs. SOUTH DAKOTA STATE 16
NDSU snuck away with a 23-16 victory over SDSU in a showcase on ESPN College Gameday Oct. 26. A record crowd of 19,371 was in attendance at Dana J. Dykhouse Stadium to watch the Bison and Rabbits compete for the Dakota Marker trophy. Bison running back Adam Cofield came up big for a clutch 71-yard touchdown with 2:32 left in the game. The Bison’s defense knew what was at stake and took over, recording a tackle-for-loss and two sacks in the Jackrabbit’s final drive to seal the victory.
Cornerback Josh Hayes was named Defensive Player of the Week for recording a key, late-game interception which led to the game-winning drive. This is the first interception of his young career. The Bison are now 8-0 and look to get their 30th straight victory against Youngstown State this weekend.
NDSU Freshman quarterback Trey Lance ranks fourth in pass efficiency rating (177.1) and 15th in “points responsible for” (17.3 PPG) in the NCAA and first amongst freshman. Lance is also one pass short of the Bison’s school record of passes thrown without an interception (151). He just passed Philadelphia Eagles’ Carson Wentz (143) on the list last week. The team as a whole is:
First in NCAA Active Home Win Streak (23).
First in NCAA Active Road Win Streak (8).
First in the MVC and fourth in the FCS in yards per game on the ground (292.6).
Third in the FCS for fewest yards allowed per game (270.6).
First in the MVC and second nationally for fewest points allowed per game (11.0).
SOUTHERN ILLINOIS 48 vs. SOUTH DAKOTA 28
SIU’s WR Avante Cox is both the MVC Offensive and Newcomer of the Week for his outstanding play against SDU. Cox put on a clinic from the start, taking a jet sweep 65 yards on the second play of the game. He ended the day with 113 yards receiving, 80 yards rushing, and three touchdowns. The Salukis as a whole dominated on the ground, rushing for 334 yards with an impressive average of 6.5 yards per carry. The defense continued to get to the quarterback with another three sacks against SDU, ranking in the top 10 nationally.
UNI 29 vs. MISSOURI STATE 6
UNI was a defensive juggernaut Oct. 26, holding MSU to just 158 total yards. On the offensive side of the ball, wide receiver Isaiah Weston continued his remarkable season with his seventh consecutive game with a touchdown. He ended the game with 157 yards and two touchdowns. The Panthers’ solid special teams were on full display as well, resulting in kicker Mathew Cook receiving the MVC Special Teams Player of the Week award. The rain didn’t slow down Cook, who was a perfect 3-3 in field goals and 3-3 in PATs. Cook leads the MVC in both field goal percentage (85.7) and longest field goal this season (50).
Key Games to Watch this Weekend
Northern Iowa (10) @ Illinois State (7)
North Dakota State (1) @ Youngstown State
South Dakota State (5) @ Missouri State
Missouri State University basketball is back and in full swing and boy do they have a star in senior Tulio Da Silva. The human highlight reel broke the program’s record book with 42 slam dunks last year. Second-year head coach Dana Ford has already set a new style of offense for the team, coming over from Tennessee State. Ford is known for bringing in a successful, winning culture and so far, so good for this Bears team. Last season, they had a record of 16-16, going to Arch Madness as a third seed. Without an appearance since 1999, Ford only has one thing on his mind, March Madness or bust.
When people talk about Loyola basketball, the team’s 2018 NCAA Final Four appearance seems to come up one way or another. That run was amazing and memorable there is no doubt about it, but the hopes and dreams that followed were dashed. With no bid to March Madness and an elimination in the semifinals of Arch Madness last season, this team has more questions than answers. Now fans seem to wonder if that remarkable season was just a flash in the past or a sign for things to come. Ranked fourth in the Preseason MVC Poll, the Ramblers look to once again take the conference by storm and show the world that the magic is still there.
Adan Garcia took home the MVC Offensive Player of the Week award for assisting on all three goals in the team’s 3-1 win against Drake. This is the first three-assist game for the program since 1985, tying the Crusaders’ record for assists in a single match. Garcia keeps putting his name in the record books, ranking 10th in school history for career assists, as well as being a member of the 2017 All-MVC Second-Team and a 2018 All-MVC Honorable Mention recipient. The team will play at Evansville after its heartbreaking overtime loss against the Bears.
VALPARAISO 0 VS. BRADLEY 1
Peoria native Walid Kherat won his second National Team of the Week award as a member of the Bradley Braves for his defensive presence in a 1-0-1 record week. Kherat and the defense only allowed eight shots on goal in that span. Kherat showed off his versatility on both sides of the field, putting in the game-winner against Valparaiso. The Braves will look to continue their shutout streak against Northern Kentucky Nov. 2.
MISSOURI STATE 3 VS. VALPARAISO 2
MSU has been on an absolute tear this season. The Bears had a lot to gain, but a lot to lose in their game against the Crusaders last night. Valparaiso looked to have found the Bears’ number, leading 2-0 late into the game. As their perfect season began to slip away, the Bears scored two big-time goals to take the game to overtime. Senior forward Matthew Bentley took overtime into his own hands, scoring the golden goal to clinch the Missouri Valley Conference regular-season championship. Bentley continues to put the team on his back, scoring a goal in six straight games this season. The Bears outshot the Crusaders 22-9 in the second half and overtime en route to their program-best 14th consecutive win.
These male athletes from the MVC got recognized for being exceptional student-athletes for the fall season. These athletes possessed good academics, citizenship through sportsmanship and significant community service.
Jacob Hoffert | Bradley Cross Country/Track
NCAA Division I All-Academic Men’s Cross Country team (2017, 2018)
10 community services
Zac Blaydes | Evansville Soccer
2019 MVC Presidents Council Academic Excellence Award
Seven community services
Dante Hendrix | Indiana State Football
Six community services
Max O'Meara | Loyola Cross Country
311 hours of community service