And then there was one-undefeated team in the Missouri Valley Football Conference that is.
A record crowd of 19,371 was on hand at Dana J. Dykhouse Stadium following ESPN’s College GameDay broadcast from the South Dakota State campus saw the Jackrabbit faithful disapointed as North Dakota State rallied from a tie game in the fourth quarter to win 23-16. RB Adam Cofield’s 71-yard touchdown run with 2:32 left in the game lifted the Bison to victory on a 4th and 1 play from its own 29-yard line for the winning score. DE Derrek Tuszka recorded back-to-back sacks on SDSU’s last drive to help seal the victory.
Neither team found the end zone until the the mid-point of second half after settling for field goals throughout the first two quarters. SDSU builta 6-3 halftime lead as both teams stalled in scoring range. NDSU RB Ty Brooks broke the touchdown drought,in dashing for a 59-yard score that gave the Bison a 10-6 lead at the8:15 mark of the third quarter.
On the next play from scrimmage, Bison DE Spencer Waege had a strip sack that NDSU recoverd at the SDSU 14-yard line. Five plays later, TE Ben Ellefson caught a 6-yard scoring pass from QB Trey Lance to give NDSU a 16-6 lead with 5:57 to play in the third quarter.
SDSU starting quarterback J’Bore Gibbs helped engineer both first half Jackrabbit field goal scoring drives, but the redshirt freshman left the game with an apparent lower leg injury during his team’s second drive of the game. Backup Kanin Nelson played until the fumble that set-up the final third quarter scoring drive when he was relieved by true freshman Keaton Heide, who scored on a three-yard run with 7:22 to play in the game to tie it at 16-16.
NDSU had a 332-220 advantage in rushing yards led by Brooks with nine carries for 97 yards and Cofield’s seven for 86. Lance ran a career-high 18 times for 76 yards while going 7 of 14 passing for 62 yards.
Elsewhere, Southern Illinois unleashed a dominant running game at South Dakota on Saturday, cruising to a 48-28 win, rolling up 334 rushing yards and keeping its playoff hopes alive and well. SIU, which ranked seventh nationally in sacks entering the weekend, had three Saturday and two led to turnovers.
Incement weather conditions limited both squads to a heavy dose of the ground game, which proved to be beneficial for Illinois State as the Redbirds totaled 287 yards rushing on way to a 24-7 win over Indiana State. RB James Robinson led the way as he finished the game with 180 yards and two touchdowns. The 100-yard effort was his fourth of the season and he has now scored multiple touchdowns in five contests for the Redbirds.
Northern Iowa didn’t score in the first quarter but made up for it the rest of the way en route to a 29-6 road win over Missouri State. The Panthers racked up 321 yards of offense and held Missouri State to just 158 yards, including just 16 yards rushing. WR Isaiah Weston continued his outstanding play for UNI as caught five passes for 157 yards and two touchdowns in the win. It is his seventh consecutive game with a touchdown.
Youngstown State used 45 points in the first half to defeat Western Illinois 59-14 on a rainy day in Youngstown int what was the largest margin of victory all-time in MVFC play for the Penguins. The win snapped a three-game losing streak for the Penguins and kept the Leathernecks winless not only in conference play but in all games. QB Nathan Mays finished with 186 yards through the air to go along with a career high four touchdowns and sat out much of the second half.
Below are the video highlights of the five MVFC contests and a recap in the hyperlink of the score.
North Dakota State 23 South Dakota State 16 (Brookings, S.D.)
Northern Iowa 29 Missouri State 16 (Springfield, Mo.)
Southern Illinois 48 South Dakota 28 (Vermillion, S.D.)
Youngstown State 59 Western Illinois 14 (Youngstown, Ohio)
Illinois State 24 Indiana State 7 (Normal, Ill.)
Originally from LaMoure, North Dakota, Kent is a 1996 graduate of North Dakota State University. His prior writing experience is over 15 years having previously worked with D2football.com, I-AA.org, and College Sporting News before coming to College Sports Journal in 2016. His main focus is college football is the Missouri Valley Football Conference within the Division I FCS. And in 2017, he began also to look at the FBS Group of Five conferences of the American Athletic, Conference USA, Mid-American, Mountain West, and Sun Belt.
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