This Week in Missouri Valley Conference Football
It's week three of Missouri Valley Conference action, with a pair of teams (NDSU and Youngstown State) after the first two weeks, and three teams (South Dakota State, Northern Iowa, and Indiana State) looking for their first league win.
Here's what to watch for:
Indiana State (1-4/0-1) at South Dakota (2-3/1-1) - 1:00pm
The Coyotes snapped a nine-game conference losing streak, and won for the first time in Missouri Valley play last week against Missouri State. All-Conference linebacker Tyler Starr will miss the first half of the game after being ejected last week for targeting.
The Sycamores lost their conference opener at home last week to Youngstown State. Running back Shakir Bell has more than 4,000 yards in his career, and ran for 150 in a 45-14 win against USD last year.
Indiana State head coach Mike Sanford:
#13/#18 South Dakota State (3-3/0-2) at Western Illinois (3-3/1-1) - 3:00pm
SDSU was thought by many to challenge NDSU for the top spot in the MVC this season, but back-to-back losses to open league play have derailed the Jackrabbits title hopes.
Quarterback Austin Sumner became the school's all-time leading passer in last week's loss to Southern Illinois.
Western Illinois is one of just three teams in FCS to not lose a fumble yet this year.
Redshirt freshman quarterback Trenton Norvell has nine touchdown passes so far, tying a school record for a freshman.
Western Illinois head coach Bob Nielson:
The Jackrabbits returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown against the Leathernecks last season en route to a 31-10 win. SDSU has won five straight in this series.
Missouri State (1-5/1-1) at #1 North Dakota State (5-0/2-0) - 1:00pm
The Bears are looking to rebound after losing 17-14 at USD last weekend. Running back Mikael Cooper-Falls needs 12 yards to reach 1,000 for his career.
Missouri State head coach Terry Allen:
The top ranked Bison get a second straight home game after narrowly escaping with a come-from-behind 24-23 win over Youngstown State. NDSU has yet to allow a point in the 4th quarter this season.
North Dakota State head coach Craig Bohl:
The Bison won in Springfield last year, 21-17, despite gaining just 874 yards in the second half. Quarterback Brock Jensen threw three interceptions against the Bears last season.
Southern Illinois (3-3/1-1) at #4/#5 Northern Iowa (4-1/0-14) - 4:00pm
The Salukis pulled off an upset win at South Dakota State last week. Quarterback Kory Faulkner is the MVC offensive player of the week after throwing for a touchdown and running for two more against the Jacks.
Southern Illinois head coach Dale Lennon:
The Panthers came within seconds of knocking off #1 NDSU on the road last week. Linebacker Jake Farley had 11 tackles and a sack against the Bison, but suffered a season-ending injury.
Northern Iowa head coach Mark Farley:
SIU rallied from a 15-point deficit to beat UNI last season.
Illinois State (2-3/1-1) at #16/#18 Youngstown State (5-1/2-0) - 5:00pm CDT
The Redbirds put up a season-high 185 yards on the ground in last week's win against Western Illinois. Running back Marshaun Coprich had a career-best 24 carries, 124 yards, and three touchdowns last week.
Illinois State head coach Brock Spack:
The Penguins have won five straight conference games after last week's victory at Indiana State. YSU quarterback Kurt Hess set a pair of school career records in the game, going over 7,800 yards in passing and 8,400 yards of total offense.
Youngstown State head coach Eric Wolford:
Illinois State scored 28 unanswered points to rally and beat Youngstown State last season 35-28.