This Week in @ValleyFootball
The regular season concludes Saturday with five league contests. For the first time this season, there will not be a conference game involving two ranked teams playing one another. That happened 14 times this season with the higher-ranked team winning 11 of the 14 games.
The selections for the NCAA Division I Football Championship will be announced Sunday, Nov. 22, at 10 am CT on an hour-long special on ESPNU.
THIS WEEK (SATURDAY, NOV. 21)
RV South Dakota at #6/6 Illinois State
2 pm CT (Comcast SportsNet/ESPN3)
RV Youngstown State at Indiana State
12 pm CT (WBCB/ESPN3)
#5/5 South Dakota St. at RV Western Illinois
1 pm CT (ESPN3)
Missouri State at #3/2 North Dakota State
2:30 pm CT (NBC ND/ESPN3)
Southern Illinois at #15/15 UNI
4 pm CT (ESPN3)
FIT TO BE TIED?
In the event of a two or three-way tie for first place, here are the outcomes:
NDSU Wins, ILS Wins, SDSU Wins -- NDSU/ILS co-champions, NDSU is AQ
NDSU Wins, ILS Wins, SDSU Loses -- NDSU/ILS co-champions, NDSU is AQ
NDSU Loses, ILS Loses, SDSU Wins -- NDSU/ILS/SDSU tri-champs, SDSU is AQ)
NDSU Loses, ILS Loses, SDSU Loses -- NDSU/ILS co-champions, NDSU is AQ
- Just four teams in the FCS have a perfect record on the road this year. South Dakota State (4-0) will put its road record to the test at Western Illinois on Saturday. Dayton, Harvard and McNeese State are also all 4-0 on the road.
- Last season, the MVFC established its high-water mark with 5 teams in the FCS playoff field. Only one other time (4 qualifiers in 2003) has the league had more than 3 teams selected.
- It was nearly seven years to the date since Western Illinois last played an overtime game. The previous OT game was Nov. 15, 2008 against Illinois State, a 48-45 win. Western has extended its streak to four consecutive OT wins and improved to 6-2 all-time in OT.
- So far this season, 10 MVFC student-athletes have earned national Player of the Week recognition. The latest to do so is QB Sean McGuire of Western Illinois. He was named STATS National Freshman of the Week after leading WIU to a 37-30 OT win at Indiana State last weekend.
This past Saturday (Nov. 14, 2015) marked the first time in league history that five road teams won a conference game on the same weekend. Notably, that’s only been possible since USD joined the league for 2012, expanding MVFC membership to 10 schools for the first time. The last time every road team won in league play was on Nov. 19, 2011, when road teams were 4-0.
On the Tube This Week
This weekend, all five league games are on television, and all five will also air on ESPN3. The “Valley Football on ESPN3 Game of the Week” is SIU at UNI.
Previous MVFC Champions
UNI has won or shared the title a league-best 16 times. Western Illinois and Southern Illinois have the second-most Valley Football titles, with five each. UNI (7-straight from 1990-96), NDSU (4-straight from 2011-14) and SIU (3-straight from 2003-05) are the only schools in MVFC history to string together championship streaks of 3 or more.
Playoffs with 3 League Losses?
In 30 previous seasons, seven MVFC teams with three or more conference losses got into the NCAA playoffs. Two league teams, North Dakota State in 2010 and Indiana State last year, had a .500 conference record and earned a playoff berth.
Previous MVFC Playoff Teams with 3 MVFC Losses
2006 - Southern Illinois (t-4th place, 4-3 in the league)
2010 - North Dakota State (t-3rd, 4-4 in the league)
2010 - Western Illinois (2nd place, 5-3 in the league)
2012 - Illinois State (t-3rd place, 5-3 in the league)
2013 - South Dakota St. (t-2nd place, 5-3 in the league)
2014 - South Dakota St. (4th place, 5-3 in the league)
2014 - Indiana State (t-5th place, 4-4 in the league)
On Nov. 14, UNI’s Aaron Bailey had 161 yards vs. Missouri State - that was the sixth-highest total by a QB in league history. Notably, for the second-straight week, he rushed for four touchdowns. That puts him at the top of the list in the NCAA (FBS and FCS) in that span - with eight rushing touchdowns. Bailey has 898 rush yards this year and needs 102 to become just the fourth QB in league history to reach 1,000 yards on the ground in a season. Former Panther Tirrell Rennie has the league QB rushing record (1,291 yards in 2010).
On Your Mark
Saturday, QB Mark Iannotti broke the SIU single-season record for total offense set by Nick Hill (in 14 games in 2007). Iannotti has 3,587 through 10 games. He also set school single-game records for passes completed (42) and attempted (63). In the loss to Illinois State, he had 36 total offense plays as an individual in the fourth quarter, an FCS record. His 423 yards of total offense ranks fourth in SIU history, and he holds three of the top four spots, all this season.
Total Offense, Season (MVFC History)
4,250 Tre Roberson, Illinois State (2014), 15g
3,859 Matt Barr, Western Illinois (2010), 13g
3,753 Carson Wentz, NDSU (2014), 16g
3,587 Mark Iannotti, SIU (2015), 10 games
3,532 Nick Hill, Southern Illinois (2007), 14g
Illinois State defeated Indiana State on Saturday, Oct. 31, to extend its FCS-best home winning streak to 17 games. The all-time FCS mark for consecutive home wins is 39. Illinois State’s streak at Hancock Stadium is the third longest win streak in MVFC history, trailing NDSU (26) and UNI (25).
National Leaders (current streaks)
17 - Illinois State (MVFC) - next: South Dakota, N21
11 - Bethune-Cookman (MEAC) - 2016
10 - Jacksonville (PFL) - next: Valparaiso, Nov. 21
4 Teams Ranked in Top 15
Four different MVFC schools are ranked in top-25 polls this week. Last year, the league established a record on Sept. 29 as 8 of 10 teams were ranked. CAA Football holds the FCS record, at nine, in 2011.
3 MVFC Teams in Top 6
For the fourth time this season and sixth time in league history, three MVFC teams are ranked in the Top 6.
Previous Polls with 3 MVFC teams in Top 6*
09-10-12 NDSU (1), YSU (5), UNI (6)
09-23-13 NDSU (1), UNI (5), SDSU (6)
09-21-15 NDSU (2), ILS (4), UNI (6), SDSU (6)
09-28-15 NDSU (2), ILS (4), SDSU (5), UNI (6)
11-09-15 NDSU (2), SDSU (5), ILS (6)
11-16-15 NDSU (2), SDSU (5), ILS (6)
*team rank is highest rank in either poll that week
Including this week, the league has had four teams ranked in the Top 15 seven times this year and 50 times in league history. Last year, it happened nine times.
Five Missouri Valley Football Conference schools have been ranked in the same top-25 poll 10 times this year, and 50 times in league history. In the past three-plus seasons, it has happened 33 times, including 24-straight weeks until that streak ended with the Nov. 16, 2015, rankings.
6-Ranked Streak Ends
The MVFC has had six teams ranked 25 times in its history, including a string of 21-straight weeks (12-straight weeks in 2014 and the first nine this year.) The other four weeks in which six MVFC teams were in the Top 25 the same week was in 2008.
Ranked vs. Ranked
There have been 140 games in league history in which two MVFC top-25 teams played one another (14 this year). Of those 140 games, 33 times the meeting involved teams that were both ranked in the Top 10 at the same time. Six of those 33 top-10 meetings occurred in the playoffs. Of the 140 previous ranked vs. ranked games, the home team is 82-57 (with one neutral-site game), while the higher-ranked team is 82-58.
Reed Sets SIU Receiving Mark
SIU’s Billy Reed set a school record with 14 pass receptions against Illinois State. Teammate Jonathan Mixon had 11 receptions, marking the first time in school history SIU had two players with double-digit receptions in the same game. The 14 catches are tied for third-best in league history for a single game and are a league-best in 2015.
Toughest Schedules in the FCS
According to data released by the NCAA, five MVFC schools rank in the Top 12 - and Western Illinois leads - for toughest schedules, ranked on cumulative opposition. Nine MVFC schools are in the Top 25.
Valley Football has been ranked No. 1 by the Gridiron Power Index (GPI) in each of the past four years. The current GPI (Nov. 13) has the MVFC rated No. 1 again by a wide margin. The league also ranks No. 1 among FCS leagues in the Sagarin Ratings (Nov. 15). Notably, the MVFC ranks ahead of three FBS conferences (or divisions within those leagues). Four MVFC schools are in the Top 88 of all Division I, including the top 3 spots in all of FCS
The NCAA will announce its 2015 FCS 24-team bracket live on Sunday, Nov. 22, at 11 am ET on ESPNU. The MVFC had a league-record five teams selected in 2015; each team won at least one game; and Illinois State-North Dakota State played in the title game.
Playoff Selections - MVFC History
5 -- once (2014 - ILS, INS, NDSU, UNI, SDSU)
4 -- once (2003 - UNI, SIU, WIU, WKU)
3 or more -- 5 times (2003, 2006, 2010, 2012, 2014)
2 or more -- 23 times (in 30 seasons)
2 or more playoff bids every year since 1995
Six (of 13) FCS conferences have winning records against the FCS. At 16-3, the MVFC has the most wins (tied with the Ivy and CAA Football) and best winning percentage vs. FCS teams than any other peer conference.
Coprich Moves Up the Charts
Illinois Sate RB Marshaun Coprich has moved his career rushing total to 4,697, which is also No. 1 among all active FCS players. He is No. 4 on the all-time MVFC list and needs 50 yards to move into second place on the list, which would surpass former Leatherneck Herb Donaldson, who had 4,746 from 2005-08.