Sunday, December 02, 2012 | Valley Football
Two Teams Reach Final 8
ISU's Tyrone Walker had 10 catches for 176 yards and two TDs in ISU's 38-37 OT win at Appalachian State.
ISU's Tyrone Walker had 10 catches for 176 yards and two TDs in ISU's 38-37 OT win at Appalachian State.
DB Marcus Williams grabbed his 16th career pick in the win over SDSU.
DB Marcus Williams grabbed his 16th career pick in the win over SDSU.

Two Missouri Valley Football Conference teams have reached the quarterfinals of the NCAA Division I Football Playoffs for the second-straight year.   Top-seeded North Dakota State beat MVFC member South Dakota State, 28-3, and Illinois State knocked off No. 6 Appalachian State on the road on Saturday, Dec. 1.

Saturday, Dec. 1

Illinois State at #2 Eastern Washington, 5 pm CT (ESPN3):   Trey Bender (pbp), Jay Taylor (analyst)

Wofford at #1 North Dakota State, 2 pm CT (ESPN3 and ESPN Game Plan):  Jonathan Yardley (pbp), Ben Leber (analyst)

 

2 Teams Reach Quarterfinals

Counting 2012, the Missouri Valley has had 10 seasons in which 2 or more league teams have been in the quarterfinals in the same season.  In 2003 and 2006, three league teams represented the conference in the Final Eight.   Last year, NDSU and UNI were in the quarterfinals.

 

Road Warriors, Tested & Approved

Seven FCS teams were perfect on the road this year, and the MVFC has two of those seven.  Only two teams in league history have won six road games in one season (UNI-2007).  Illinois State (6-0 this year) is looking to set a new league record this weekend.

NCAA FCS Teams - Ranked by Road Record (4 of the seven teams are playing this weekend)

Illinois State (6-0); North Dakota State (5-0); Montana State (5-0); Lehigh (5-0); Old Dominion (5-0); Dartmouth (5-0); Alabama State (4-0)

 

Best vs. the Rest

The Missouri Valley posted a collective 14-3 record against non-conference FCS teams.  The league’s three playoff teams -- Illinois State, South Dakota State, and North Dakota State -- are a combined 8-0 against the FCS and 2-1 against the FBS.

 

Simply the Best

North Dakota State’s record in the past two seasons (25-2, .926) is unmatched by any other FCS or FBS program.  Alabama (23-2) and LSU (23-2) are tied for second.   MVFC member Illinois State is tied for 48th on that list (and 17th best in just the FCS), as the Redbirds have gone 16-7 in 2011 & 2012 combined:

 

Notes from last Saturday's games ... 

Illinois State's OT win (38-37 at Appalachian State) marked ISU's first playoff win since 2006, and the 7th OT game in the playoffs for an MVFC member.  The league is now 3-4 all-time in OT contests in the playoffs, and league members have won 3 of their past 4 OT playoff games.

Jackrabbit running back Zach Zenner was limited to 46 yards on 15 carries in SDSU's loss at North Dakota State, finishing his sophomore season with 2,044 yards - 11 yards shy of Josh Ranek's single-season record of 2,055 yards set in 1999.  Notably, though, he's the all-time single-season record-holder in the MVFC, surpassing the previous record of 1,957 (Aaron Stecker of Western Illinois in 1997).

Prior to 2011, the league last had two quarterfinal teams in the same season in 2007 (Southern Illinois and UNI).

A conference member has reached the FCS playoff semifinals 12 times in the past 16 years and 15 times overall. The conference is 5-10 in previous FCS semifinal games (2-4 at home). The league has national titles in 1997, 2002 and last year.

The Missouri Valley has now posted a collective 14-3 record against non-conference FCS teams. The league’s three playoff teams -- Illinois State, South Dakota State, and North Dakota State -- are a combined 8-0 against the FCS and 2-1 against the FBS.

Illinois State's 6-0 road record matches a league record. It's also the best in the FCS this year. Six other teams (including North Dakota State at 5-0) have also gone undefeated in road play this year, but no other team has six road wins.

MVFC schools have now posted four victories in the last five meetings against SoCon members.