Sunday, September 1, 2013

Miller's Power Rankings: Week #1

#1 North Dakota State (1-0), 77.45 (points)
North Dakota State shocked Kansas State in front of the nation.
(Photo: USA Today)

North Dakota State battled through the Kansas State Wildcats Friday night in what is possibly the craziest game I've ever watched. The Bison chewed up eight and a half minutes of clock during the game winning drive. Brock Jensen did what he does best, win; he threw for just 165 yards but scored three total touchdowns for the Bison as they knocked off Kansas State 24-21. Sam Ojuri & John Crockett both had good games as they managed to find room for continual first-downs. Ojuri ended the game with 127 yards on the ground; featuring one 66-yarder as he busted out from within the Bison's own 5-yard line. Next week the Bison will pair off against Division II squad, Ferris State.

 #2 Northern Iowa (1-0), 76.35
Northern Iowa blasted past Iowa State with David Johnson scoring four touchdowns en route to a 28-20 win over the Cyclones. Last year, Northern Iowa got in trouble with their schedule, however, everyone always knew how good this Panther squad. QB Sawyer Kollmorgen was extremely efficient; completing 21 of 28 passes for 218 yards and two touchdowns. Next week the Panthers will likely have their reserves in by the 3rd quarter as they take on the Drake Bulldogs. Northern Iowa is a serious challenger for the Missouri Valley title this year. 

#3 Southern Illinois (0-1), 48.15
 Southern Illinois surprised me. I anticipated the Saluki's would hang around with Illinois for a little while and that is just what they did. I saw some of the worst tackling from Southern Illinois during a stretch where the Illini scored 22 straight points. I turned off the TV at halftime figuring that the Saluki had given up at that point. However, the Salukis did not give up (they did give up a 100-yard kick return) and managed to get within 8 points by the end of the game. The offensive production was impressive by Southern Illinois but defensively they struggled. We'll see what will come of this Saluki team in the next few weeks. 

#4 South Dakota State (1-0), 41.20
The first two plays of the game; Zach Zenner for 39 yards, Zach Zenner for 36 yards and a touchdown. However, after those two bursts by Zenner the Bulldogs tightened up in the box and forced Austin Sumner to beat them. He did. Sumner misfired on a few ugly throws early in the game but eventually found his grove as he completed 22 of 32 passes for 326 yards, 3 TDs and 0 INTs. Its hard to judge a team when the match up on the field is uneven; however, this Jackrabbit squad looked very good on both offense and defense. Next week we'll be able to learn more as they travel to Grand Forks as they take on UND. 

#5 Illinois State (0-1), 40.30
Illinois State started off real strong against a Ball State team which is project to contend for a MAC championship. The Redbirds were up 21-9 at one point in the 2nd quarter. However, Ball State would reel off 28 straight points as they put Illinois State away 51-28. Transfer quarterback Jared Barnett had a good day throwing the ball for 282 and two touchdowns. Illinois State will have a bye week before entering the newly renovated stadium against Eastern Illinois on September 14th. 

#6 Youngstown State (1-0), 22.50
The Penguins hosted the Dayton Flyers on Saturday. The game was much closer than most Youngstown State fans would have liked to see... YSU shot themselves in the foot multiple times and Kurt Hess was less than spectacular; the senior quarterback was just 9 of 19 for just 73 yards and two interceptions. On the flip side, Adaris Bellamy had the game of his career thus far. He ran for 203 yards and a touchdown. Youngstown will stay home this week as they host Morehead State from the Pioneer League; last week Morehead State lost to a school named Pikeville. You guys can look that one up.

 #7 South Dakota (1-0), 22.34
 The Coyotes started off the on the right foot after a terrible 2012 campaign. Qaurterback Josh Vander Maten had a great game and set the tone for the Coyote offense all night. But offense was not the story of this game, defense was strong for both teams. The Yotes will get a chance to knock off Kansas next week as they travel to Lawrence to face the Jayhawks. How crazy would it be if three MVFC teams beat a Big 12 team--this could cause an uproar.  

#8 Western Illinois (1-0), 22.25
Western Illinois got a much needed blowout win against an inferior opponent. The Leathernecks torched Hampton 42-9 as Western Illinois forced 9 turnovers. Offensively Western only scored three touchdowns. Next week the Leathernecks will play Quincy in another warm-up contest. Western still needs to improve their passing game, it will be interesting whether Hayden Northern will get the start next week as transfer quarterback was shaky and inefficient. 

#9 Indiana State (0-1), 19.70
I don't envision Indiana State staying this low the entire season, however, the Hoosiers scored 73 points on them. That is embarrassing. The plus side--they did manage to score 35 points. The Hoosiers put up 632 yards of total offense, 319 in the air and 313 on the ground. Defensively, Indiana State will need to get better if they want to compete with the top teams in the Valley.

#10 Missouri State (0-1), 7.50
 What will it take for the Bears to change the culture of their football team in Springfield? Last year Missouri State was a dangerous team, although they didn't get many wins they scared a lot of teams and even beat Illinois State. Next week the Bears will face off with the Hawkeyes in a game that could get ugly.

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