Here’s the recap from this week’s Missouri Valley Football Conference coaches call:
Somebody is going to get a first Valley win in Springfield as Missouri State (0-6, 0-3) hosts South Dakota (1-4, 0-2).
The Coyotes were beaten by Western Illinois in Vermillion, their second straight home loss – something that hadn’t happened since 2003. Both of USD’s league losses have been by seven points or less and have included a blocked punt. What do the Yotes have to do better?
“Execute, really,” coach Joe Glenn said. “When a play comes up you have to make it.”
Bears coach Terry Allen – who played against the Coyotes back in the day – thinks that MSU and USD are similar teams, in part in that they’re both struggling to get victories. The Bears are likely to continue using two quarterbacks.
In maybe the most compelling contest of the week, Youngstown State (4-1, 1-1) travels to Illinois State (5-1, 2-1). Both teams are nationally ranked. Both teams are coming off double-digit losses – the Penguins got crushed in Fargo and ISU fell 17-0 at home against Southern Illinois. Both teams had been undefeated.
“We’ve just go to bounce back,” Redbirds coach Brock Spack said. “When players get down, coaches have to get up.”
YSU coach Eric Wolford hopes to find some positive in the loss.
“I think it’s a good eye-opener,” he said. “I think sometimes when you have success yo think you’re a little bit better than you are.”
Idle last week, Northern Iowa (1-4, 0-2) heads to resurgent Southern Illinois. The Salukis (3-3, 2-1) got a big win at Illinois State, the offense and defense both showing up on the same day.
“We’re not making as many errors – out assignment percentage is pretty good,” coach Dale Lennon said.
Meanwhile, the Panthers fell out of the top 25 this week for the first time since 2004 – a streak of 99 weeks. That’s a Valley record.
Winners of two in a row, Indiana State (4-2, 2-1) faces the unenviable task of heading into the Fargodome to face No. 1 North Dakota State (5-0, 2-0). The Bison hammered then No. 3 YSU 48-7 last week, a contest that turned in three first-half takeaways. NDSU is now plus-11 in turnover margin.
“We’ve got to go in and take care of the football,” Sycamores coach Trent Miles said, “and we’ve got to play great in all three phases of the game. You can’t back down – you can’t flinch.”
Miles said that ISU All-American RB Shakir Bell is fine after sitting out part of last week’s game against Missouri State due to a ding.
Meanwhile, UNI coach Mark Farley believes that his team – currently with no D-I wins – could still make the playoffs if it runs the table.
And, finally, Western Illinois heads to the Rushmore State for the second time in as many weeks. The Leathernecks (3-2, 1-1) ended an eight-game road skid last week by winning in Vermillion and now travels to Brookings to face No. 20-ranked South Dakota State (4-1, 2-0). The Jackrabbits were idle last week, during which WIU switched quarterbacks, going from Josh Hudson to Wil Lunt after putting up a total of six points in the past two games. Lunt, a fifth-year senior, hadn’t started a game in more than a year.
“I love their quarterback,” SDSU coach John Stiegelmeier said. “I don’t care if he can throw the post – he’s a competitor. He gets the job done.”
WIU coach Mark Hendrickson described the Jacks as being well coached and having talented players.
Terry Vandrovec also posts regular updates on his Twitter page.