Forum staff reports

Here is a quick look at Saturday’s games involving Top Ten FCS teams and teams from the Missouri Valley Football Conference:


No. 1 North Dakota State (11-0) at Southern Illinois (7-4)

  • Winners of five straight games, Southern Illinois was ranked No. 25 in this week’s FCS coaches poll, its first national ranking since 2014. The Salukis are hoping to advance to the FCS playoffs for the first time since 2009.

  • A win would extend NDSU’s win streak to 33 games, equaling the Bison streak from 2012-14, the longest in FCS history.

  • Last year in the Fargodome, the Bison rolled up 663 total yards in a 65-17 win over Southern Illinois, the most points scored by the Bison in a Missouri Valley game.

  • The Bison have won the last seven games over Southern Illinois and the last three in Carbondale, including a 35-29 win in their last trip in 2015.

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No. 2 James Madison (10-1) at Rhode Island (2-9)

  • James Madison, coming off a 48-6 win over Richmond, is ranked No. 2 in both FCS polls for the 13th straight week.

  • With last week’s win, James Madison won the Colonial Athletic Association championship for the fourth time in the last seven years.

No. 3 Montana (9-2) at No. 8 Montana State (8-3)

  • Montana State has won the last three games in the rivalry known as “The Brawl of the Wild,” the fourth oldest active rivalry in FCS that dates back to 1897.

  • In its 35-16 win over then No. 3-ranked Weber State, Montana limited Weber to 69 yards rushing.

UC Davis (5-6) at No. 4 Sacramento State (8-3)

  • Sacramento State’s No. 4 ranking in both FCS polls is the school’s highest ranking during its Division I era.

  • The eight victories are the most for a Sacramento State team since moving to Division I in 1994 and the highest total since the 1991 team went 8-2 at the Division II level.

No. 5 South Dakota State (8-3) at South Dakota (4-7)

  • In a rivalry series that began in 1889, South Dakota State has won the last 10 games against the Coyotes. USD last beat SDSU with a 41-28 win in Brookings in 2000.

  • With last week’s 38-7 win over Northern Iowa, SDSU head coach John Stiegelmeier moved into sole possession of second place in career victories in the Missouri Valley Conference with 66 - breaking a tie with former UNI and Missouri State coach Terry Allen. UNI coach Mark Farley is the all-time leader with 98.

Idaho State (3-8) at No. 6 Weber State (8-3)

  • With a win, Weber would clinch at least a share of its third straight Big Sky Conference championship, what would be a first in school history.

  • In its 35-16 loss at Montana last week, Weber had four turnovers and was sacked three times. The loss ended Weber’s seven-game winning streak.

No. 7 Illinois State (8-3) at Youngstown State (5-6)

  • After a two-year absence from the FCS playoffs, Illinois State should advance to this year’s playoffs. From 1998 to 2016, Illinois State reached the playoffs for seven straight seasons, including the 2014 29-27 championship loss to NDSU.

  • Illinois State seniors Luther Kirk and James Robinson have accepted invitations in the East-West Shrine Bowl game to be held Jan. 18, 2020, in St. Petersburg, Fla. Kirk is an all-conference safety and Robinson an all-conference running back.

Western Illinois (1-10) at No. 9 Northern Iowa (7-4)

  • Prior to last week’s loss at South Dakota State, the last time UNI had three or fewer losses that late in the season was 2011. UNI has made the FCS playoffs four times since 2011.

  • In last week’s 38-7 loss at SDSU, Northern Iowa quarterback Will McElvain threw as many interceptions (3) as he did during the previous 10 games, plus had a fumble in the fourth quarter that was returned for a touchdown.

Delaware (5-6) at No. 10 Villanova (8-3)

  • In a rivalry called the “Battle of the Blue,” Villanova has won seven straight games over Delaware and 12 of the last 13. Delaware’s lone win during the stretch was a 26-16 victory in 2011.

  • In its first Friday night game in 22 years, Villanova claimed a 35-7 home win over Long Island last week. Villanova reached eight wins for the first time since 2016.


Indiana State (4-7) at Missouri State (1-9)

  • Indiana State’s 24-17 win over Youngstown State last week marked just the third time in the series history that the Sycamores have won back-to-back games over the Penguins and the first time since 2014-15.

  • Indiana State, ranked in both FCS preseason polls, has only advanced to the FCS playoffs once in 2014. The last and only times Missouri State reached the FCS playoffs was in 1989 and 1990.