Sunday, October 7, 2012

Miller's Power Rankings: Week 6

Southern Illinois just keeps finding ways to win.
(Photo: Steve Smedley/The Pantagraph)
#1 North Dakota State (5-0), 342 (points)
Again, for the second week, the Bison completely dominated a very good opponent. Quarterback Brock Jensen looks the same against every opponent North Dakota State has played, efficient, productive, and composed. Starting RB Sam Ojuri had to sit out against Youngstown State because of team rules, however, back-up RB John Crockett proved to be more dynamic than Ojuri; he ran for over 100 yards and two touchdowns against the Penguin defense. It really looks like the Bison will not be stopped. Next week the Bison will play Indiana State.

#2 Youngstown State (4-1), 229

Youngstown State clearly was over-matched in Fargo. This weekend they will prove they belong at #2 when they battle it out with Illinois State in another crucial MVFC game. The Penguins cannot make the same mistakes they did against North Dakota State. Kurt Hess will need to find his grove early on and out-play the Redbird defense if Youngstown State wants to get back to winning ways. 

#3 Illinois State (5-1), 201
The Redbirds are in a slump. Although they are still 5-1, Illinois State has not been playing as well as they had been at the beginning of the season. Next weekend Illinois State will get a chance to remind us why we were so high on Illinois State at the beginning of the season. Darrelynn Dunn did not play against Southern Illinois with a broken hand but is expect to start against Youngstown State. 

#4 South Dakota State (4-1), 179
The Jackrabbits were on a bye week this weekend but look forward to getting back into the swing of things as they welcome Western Illinois back to South Dakota. The Jackrabbits are looking to go 5-1 before they enter the grit of their conference season. 

#5 Indiana State (4-2), 123
The Sycamores again found a way to win and got a late explosion from Shakir Bell to seal the win against Missouri State on Saturday. Due up for Indiana State: North Dakota State.

#6 Northern Iowa (1-4), 92
After a week off, Northern Iowa will get a chance to get their first conference win when they play Southern Illinois this weekend. Southern Illinois has been a relatively hot team lately and has found multiple ways to win. Northern Iowa will likely show us why they have still been ranked despite having zero D-I wins. This could be the start of a long win-streak for Northern Iowa. 

#7 Southern Illinois (3-3), 91
After starting 0-2 Southern Illinois has found their identity on defense. Quarterback Kory Faulkner still hasn't proved to be an effective game changing presence, but he has done enough for the Salukis to pull out some wins. This weekend they will have a huge task when Northern Iowa comes to Carbondale. 

#8 Western Illinois (2-3), 69
I've been calling for it for weeks--a quarterback change. Western Illinois started senior quarterback Wil Lunt against South Dakota and they were effective in their offensive production in their win against South Dakota. Next weekend will be a tougher task when they travel to South Dakota again, this time it will be outside against the Jackrabbits. 

#9 South Dakota (1-3), 51
The Coyotes need some answers and solutions to some big problems. First, quarterback Josh Vander Maten can't do it all, he needs some help--consistently--from his defense. Should the Coyotes find a way to play some good defense, they could be a good team. However, they are a long ways from being at that point. 

#10 Missouri State (0-6), 19
Missouri State shoots themselves in the foot every week. This week they benched Ashton Glaser after another poor performance and Kierra Harris gave the Bears a boost on offense. In the third quarter Missouri State took the lead against Indiana State, then the defense stopped playing and Shakir Bell ran wild. Missouri State could grab a win this weekend against South Dakota, but they will need to stop beating themselves for that to happen. 

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