Here is the College Sports Journal’s Missouri Valley Football Conference Power Rankings for the week of 10/18/2016. (Last week’s ranking in parenthesis.
1. (1) North Dakota State (5-1, 2-1)
Last Week: Lost to South Dakota State 19-17 at home
This Week: at Western Illinois
I know, I know. How can the Bison still be #1? My reason is that we have seen this before with NDSU—lose in mid-season at home and wind up winning the remainder of the games and a national title. When I see a second loss, I will move them down.
2. (2) South Dakota State (4-2, 3-0)
Last Week: Win over North Dakota State 191-7 on the road
This Week: vs. Youngstown State
Jacks’ QB Taryn Christion had a great game in the win last week in the win in Fargo. He ranks second in the FCS in total offense (351.5 ypg), third in touchdown passes (22) and points responsible for (144), and fourth in passing yards per game (323.2). The test keep coming though as YSU comes to Brookings this week.
3. (3) Western Illinois (5-1, 2-1)
Last Week: Win over Missouri State 38-35 on the road
This Week: vs. North Dakota State
Devon Moore’s second effort on 4th-and-goal from the one helped Western Illinois regain the lead with 43 seconds left, and Xavier Rowe’s interception sealed the victory last week in a hard fought game in Springfield. WIU will face another test this week with NDSU at home.
4. (4) Youngstown State (5-1, 3-0)
Last Week: Win over Northern Iowa 14-10 at home
This Week: at South Dakota State
Youngstown State used a dominant defensive performance and scored a pair of touchdowns to overcome a fourth-quarter deficit for the second week in a row. That defense will be tested against the top scoring FCS team in SDSU this week.
5. (6) South Dakota (2-3, 1-1)
Last Week: Win over Indiana State 33-30 (OT) on the road
This Week: vs. Illinois State
Miles Bergner’s two 41-yard field goals in overtime followed by Jacob Warner’s interception near the goal line lifted South Dakota to a 33-30 win against Indiana State in double overtime. The Coyotes will see if they can handle the Redbirds at home this week.
6. (5) Northern Iowa (2-4, 1-2)
Last Week: Lost at South Dakota 28-25
This Week: vs. Missouri State
The Panthers early season downward spiral from the last three years seems to be continuing this year after another road loss at YSU last week. UNI gets SIU at home this week. In past years, when you count the Panthers out, they seem to turn things around to make a playoff run. UNI likely has to win the remainder of its games to keep that scenario in play.
7. (7) Indiana State (3-4, 1-3)
Last Week: Lost to South Dakota 33-30 (OT) at home
This Week: at Southern Illinois
QB Isaac Harker threw for 325 yards and three TDs, RB Roland Genesy rumbled for 109 yards rushing, and WR Miles Thompson had a career day with 152 yards and three touchdowns but the Sycamores still lost to USD. This team has been a bit snake bitten with close loses this year.
8. (8) Missouri State (3-3, 1-2)
Last Week: Lost 38-35 to Western Illinois at home
This Week: at Northern Iowa
The Bears are definitely an improved team. The wins have not come yet but this team seems to be turning things around. A hungry UNI team awaits the Bears on the road this week. This will be a tough challenge inside the UNI-Dome.
9. (10) Illinois State (3-4, 1-3)
Last Week: Win 31-28 over Southern Illinois at home
This Week: at South Dakota
The Redbirds held a small lead at the half and then scored 17 second-half points to earn its first conference victory over in-state rival SIU. Now, ISU goes on the road to a hot USD team. Can the Redbirds continue to stay on track this week?
10. (9) Southern Illinois (2-4, 0-3)
Last Week: Lost 31-28 to Illinois State on the road
This Week: vs. Indiana State
SIU has now lost six-straight games decided by three points or fewer dating back to the start of the 2015 season. Can the Salukis win a close one this week over Indiana State?