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Battle in Illinois headlines MVFC

The intensity meter in the Missouri Valley Football Conference will be at its highest today at the Fargodome. Tickets for the South Dakota State and North Dakota State game have been sold out since early in the season.

The intensity meter in the Missouri Valley Football Conference will be at its highest today at the Fargodome. Tickets for the South Dakota State and North Dakota State game have been sold out since early in the season.

But Southern Illinois' trip to Illinois State will also spark some fan fireworks in Normal, Ill. The two play today at 1:30 p.m.

"We're hoping for great weather and a great crowd," said Illinois State head coach Denver Johnson.

Only Northern Iowa, which has finished its conference season, has a non-league game.

Southern Illinois at Illinois State

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Southern Illinois head coach Dale Lennon is bidding to become the third coach in league history to earn at least a share of the conference title in his first year. He would join two Northern Iowa coaches Darrell Mudra in 1985 and Mark Farley in 2001.

Mudra is a former North Dakota State coach.

But the Salukis will have to do it at a place they haven't won often. SIU has won just once in Normal, Ill., since 1996. The current Saluki class is 1-2 against the Redbirds.

"We're well aware of the history of our success at Illinois State," Lennon said.

Youngstown State at Western Illinois

WIU senior Herb Donaldson is one huge game away from becoming the league's all-time rushing leader. With 4,511, he needs 204 to tie Tom Koutsos of Southern Illinois, who did his damage from 1999-2003.

"Herb is all about wins and losses," said Western head coach Don Patterson. "I guarantee this: he would be happy with a win this weekend and one yard less from the record than another loss."

Missouri State at Indiana State

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The Bears are looking to rebound after getting run over by NDSU last weekend. The winless Sycamores are just looking for something to build on for next year.

Their seniors have won one game in four years. And that win came against Missouri State.

"It would be nice to get them a victory," said ISU head coach Trent Miles. "But just like all of our games, it will be tough to do."

Northern Iowa at Southern Utah

The Panthers will be looking to maintain their probable top four seed for the FCS playoffs. It hasn't been an easy week, however.

Top receivers Johnny Gray and Victor Williams were kicked off the team after being arrested for possession of marijuana last Friday. Cedar Falls, Iowa, police executed a search warrant of the players' home, according to the Cedar Falls, Iowa, Courier newspaper.

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