This is the final week of non-conference play for members of the Missouri Valley Football Conference. Following this week, conference schools will compete amongst themselves to determine an MVFC champion. While the Salukis have started slow, here is a look at the rest of the conference and a chance to see how the Salukis stack up.
Preseason Rank: 4th
The Redbirds are off to their best start since 1999 following a 31-14 win over Eastern Michigan Saturday. In the win, quarterback Matt Brown
surpassed the 7,500 passing yard mark to move into third place on ISU’s all-time list. Safety Ben Ericksen is MVFC defensive player of the weekas he had two interceptions and four tackles against Ea stern Michigan. Running back Jonathon Miller is the newcomer of the week and had 81 yards and a touchdown this week.
North Dakota State University
Preseason Rank: 1st
The defending national champions weren’t only picked to win the Valley, they were chosen to repeat as champs and sit atop the Football Championship Series polls. The Bison defense has held opponents Robert Morris and Colorado State to a total of seven points this year, while the offense scored 74 total points. North Dakota is led by quarterback Brock Jensen (395 passing yards and four touchdowns) and running back Sam Ojuri (139 rushing yards, five yards per carry, two touchdowns). Return Specialist Marcus Williams is the special teams player of the week in the MVFC after he returned a kickoff 53 yards to set up a touchdown and also had a 64-yard punt return.
Preseason Rank: 9th
Western remains undefeated after claiming victory over low-end competition in Butler and Indianapolis. The Leathernecks will face stiffer competition Saturday when they travel to Iowa State. Western prefers the running game, and has out-rushed its opponents 420 to 252 behind the tandem of Caulton Ray (205 yards and two touchdowns) and Nikko Watson (179 yards, one touchdown).
Preseason Rank: 3rd
Youngstown State is unexpectedly undefeated after upsetting Pittsburgh 31-17 for the team’s first ever win over a Football Bowl Series school. The Penguins beat Valparaiso 59-0 Saturday to win a 17th straight home opener. Running back Torrian Pace averages 84 yards per game, as well as 8.4 yards per carry. Six receivers have caught multiple passes for the Penguins.
Indiana State University
Preseason Rank: 5th
Indiana State might very well be undefeated had they been able to pull out a win over Indiana University last week, a 24-17 loss, but a 44-0 drubbing of Quincy gave the Sycamores their first win of the season. Indiana State’s defense is allowing opponents 12 points per game. In two games, running back Shakir Bell has carried the football 43 times for 266 yards, an average of 133 yards per game.
Preseason Rank: 2nd
Northern Iowa is looking good after almost beating the University of Wisconsin last week, a 26-21 defeat and then destroying the Central State Marauders 59-0 at home. In the game, senior running back Carlos Anderson broke the 2,000-yard career rushing mark. The Panthers have attained more than twice as many passing yards as rushing yards, at 576 to 201. The team faces another tough test Saturday against the
University of Iowa.
Preseason Rank: 8th
South Dakota is .500 following a season opener loss to Montana 35-24 and a bounce-back win over Colgate University 31-21. The Coyotes have held their opponents scoreless in the fourth quarter. South Dakota is led by running back Marcus Sims, who compiled 127 rushing yards and a touchdown against Colgate.