Saturday, June 25, 2011

Missouri Valley Review 2010

Northern Iowa Panthers
2010 Record: 7-5 (6-2), 1st
2010 Postseason: 1st Round Playoffs, lost to Lehigh 14-7
     UNI may have lost their final two games last fall, but it was a miracle run that got them out of the muddled pack last fall that won the MVC title and got the Panthers sitting in the playoffs, where they got stumped by Lehigh in the 1st round. UNI went on a 5 game win streak after starting the season at 2-3, and UNI turned the ship around in time to take over a very jumbled race.
     Tirrell Rinnie survived a very rough season as a passer by using his legs to win games, and he did that with flair. Rinnie passed for 1543 yards with 8 TDs but tossed 11 picks. His run game, however, was the cure, as he rushed for a team leading 1092 yards and 15 TDs, and that skill is what saved the season for the Panthers. Carlos Anderson keoth teams honest, as he rushed for 936 yards and 2 scores of his own. With Rinnie struggling to pass, the Panthers finished with only two receivers with 20 or more receptions. Jarred Herring led the team with a line of 31-549-5, while Schuyler Oordt finished by posting 24-405-3.
     UNI had issues defending the pass, as they allowed 241 yards per game through the air. Their run defense made up for some of that by only allowing 104 yards rushing per game. Jamar Thompson led the team with 99 tackles, and LB LJ Fort came in right behind him with 92. Andre Martin (6.42), Jordan Smith (6.09), and James Conley (5.75) all finished with 5 tackles per game or more.
     With UNI having solid success aginst the run as a team, some stood out as stellar when applying pressure up front. Ben Boothby ranked 30th in the country in TFLs, as he collected 16 on the season, averaging 1.33 per game. Fort finished with 11.5 on the season, and Will Eilert chipped in with 9. Boothby led the team in sacks with 9 total on the season. Jordan Smith defended 7 passes to lead the club, and Andre Martin and James conley each had 5, but that was despite the Panther weakness against the pass. Martin led the team with 5 picks, and Fort added 3 more to prove his multidimensional talent.
     Billy Halgrin had a rough year at PK, as the senior only hit on 15 of his 25 FG attempts on the season, good for only 60% for the year. Whoever takes over will have to improve on that rating. Carlos Anderson led the MVC in kick returns, as he averaged over 27 yards per return with a pair of scores as a sophomore.

Western Illinois Leathernecks
2010 Record: 8-5 (5-3), 2nd
2010 Postseason: 2nd Round Playoffs, Defeated Coastal Carolina 17-10, Lost to Appalachian State 42-14
     After a 4-1 start in 2010, the Leathernecks just kind of stumbled their way through the rest of the season. They had full contol of their destiny, but just never finished. WIU went 4-4 the rest of the way, and fumbled away the chance to become MVC champs, despite having beaten Northern Iowa 30-14.
     Matt Barr was one of the best QBs in the nation last season, as he passed for 3410 yards and 27 TDs to 10 picks. Barr averaged 262.3 yards passing per game, and he also ran for an additional 7 TDs on the season. Caulton Ray was also solid in keeping defenses from keying in on the passing game, as he rushed for 1014 yards and 9 TDs. Bryce Flowers was a solid B Back, as he rushed for 759 yards and 8 scores of his own. Lito Senatus made a name for himself last fall as well, as he became Barr's favorite target. Senatus, a senior like Barr, posted a line of 65-1145-14, and was the MVC Receiver of the Year. Junior Terriun Crump wasn't too bad either, as he posted 56-888-5.
     WIU was relatively tough on the pass, as teams only passed for 175 yards per game, but the Leathernecks allowed a whopping 195 yards per game on the ground, which was a major cause to their late season stumbles. Kyle Glazier ranked 2nd in the nation in tackles last fall, as he collected a total of 167 on the season, and averaged 12.85 tackles per game. Brandon Kreczmer was 2nd on the team with a distant 90. Tyler West was the only other WIU defender to average 5 or more tackles per game, as he finished with 75 (5.77 per game). Kieron James (7), West (6), and Ryan Davis (6) were major players in the passes defended market, while West was the leader with 3 picks.
     Special teams were extremely problematic last fall, and will be a major area of concern when camp opens in August.

North Dakota State Bison
2010 Record: 9-5 (4-4), Tied 3rd
2010 Postseason: 3rd Round Playoffs, Defeated Robert Morris 43-17, Defeated Montana State 42-17, Lost to Eastern Washington 38-31
     The Bison were one of the most consistency challenged teams in America last fall. They started out 3-1, including a defense dominated 6-3 shocker at Kansas to open the season. They then lost 2 of their next 3 games before going on a streak that saw them win 5 of 6, before falling in the FCS playoffs to eventual champion Eastern Washington. What a strange ride it was.
     The Bison did not exactly have a stable QB in the works, as Jose Mohler was the leader by default, as he passed for 1181 yards and only 5 TDs on the season. Brock Jensen also played considerable minutes in 8 games, but only completed 45% of his passes. He did manage to toss 7 TD passes with only 2 picks. The offense coursed mainly through star RB DJ McNorton, who rushed for 1488 yards and 15 TDs. McNorton averaged 106.3 yards per game, while averaging 5.3 yards per carry. NDSU did wind up with 3 receivers with 20 grabs or more, with Warren Holloway taking the lead with 49-698-5. McNorton added 25-433-4 to his already impressive stat sheet. Justin Howard was 3rd with 24-280-1.
     Defensively, the Bison were not difficult to run on, having given up 172.4 yards rushing per game. They were slightly stronger against the pass, giving up just over 188 yards per game. Preston Evans (94) and Chad Willson (74) were the tackling leaders, but Willson missed 6 games on the year. Brandon Jemison also averaged 5.79 tackles per game, and played in all 14. Coulter Boyer (12.5) and Matthew Gratzek (10) were forces when it came to TFLs last fall, and Boyer led the team with 7.5 sacks. Freshman Cole Jirik finished 2nd with 7.
     When it came to defnding passes, the Bison had the two best defenders in the conference, as Marcus Williams led the MVC with 12 balls knocked away. Matt Anderson, a senior last fall, finished 2nd in the MVC with 9. Josh Gatlin added 6 more, and led the team with 5 picks on the season. Williams finished with 4 picks.
     Ryan Jastram attempted 23 FGs, but only hit 14 of them. He returns as a senior this fall, and he will have some work to do. John Prelvitz led the MVC in punting last year, as he averaged 42.63 yards per punt, but he now needs to be replaced after he moved on. Freshman Ryan Smith was solid on punt returns, averaging 10.71 yards per return last season.

Illinois State Redbirds
2010 Record: 6-5 (4-4), Tied 3rd
2010 Postseason: None
     The Redbirds were the first team to miss the playoffs last fall out of the MVC, as they suffered at the hands of a mid-season slump that saw them go 1-4. ISU also barely avoided a potentially embarrassing home loss in the opener in a 55-54 win over D2 Central Missouri.
     You could not have asked much more of Matt Brown, the MVC leader in completions per game with 20.18. He passed for 2670 yards and 22 TDs as a sophomore last fall, while holding himself to just 11 picks. Brown will likely be the leading passer next fall in the conference. Brown averaged 242.3 yards per game last season. Erik Smith was the leading rusher, but only ranked 12th in the 9 team MVC. He rushed for 624 yards and 4 scores, but Ashton Leggett scored 8 times while rushing for 563 yards on the season. Tyrone Walker and Marvon Sanders were the stars in the receiving game, and Brown used them often. Walker posted a line of 59-974-12, and Sanders added 73-754-2.
     The defense was a mess. The Redbirds gave up 246.5 yards passing, and another 199 yards every game. Junior LB Josh Rowe certainly stayed busy, as he totalled 113 tackles on the season, good for 2nd in the MVC. Austin Davis was next, with a huge dropoff, as he totalled 75 tackles as a sophomore. He was followed by Kelvyn Hemphill with 67, and Mike Zimmer with 65. Eric Brunner,  a junior DE, was the only defender to hit double figures in TFLs with 10.5 on the season, and he also led the team with a lowly 4 sacks. With no support behind Brunner, teams were free to move the ball at will.
     Hemphill was the only defender in the secondary to reach 5 passes defended. That being said, EJ Jones actually led the MVC with 7 picks on the season, even though the Redbirds had a very poor pass defense.
     Steven Fetzer led the league in FGs per game, but only made 14 of 20, barely good for 70%. The Redbirds must replace him in 2011. Cameron Hunt showed some promise in the kick return game as a freshman, as he averaged 25.07 yards per return last fall.

Indiana State Sycamores
2010 Record: 6-5 (4-4), Tied 3rd
2010 Postseason: None
     Few teams, if there truly were any others on this level, improved as much as Indiana State. The Sycamores were coming off of a 5 year run in which they had finished 2-53. Their 6 wins last season matched a 6 year total, so yeah, this was a big deal, even if ISU missed the playoffs.
     Ronnie Fouch certainly was not the best QB in the MVC last fall, but his play was a huge upgrade in 2010. He passed for 2252 yards on the season, and tossed 20 TDs, while only getting picked 5 times on the season. Darrius Gates upgraded the rushing attack, and the senior rushed for 1024 yards and a very solid 17 TDs on the season. Gates was a senior, and so his heir apparent seems to be Shakir Bell, who, as a freshman, rushed for 629 yards and 2 scores. Justin Hilton was the leading receiver, as he posted 40-684-7. He was followed by Bryant Kent (43-572-5), and Alex Jones (30-545-4).
     Defensively, Indiana State has some room to grow. They allowed only 184.6 yards per game passing, but were very easy to run against, as they gave up 203.3 yards rushing per game. The Sycamores were led by a sophomore LB in tackles, as Jacolby Washington led the way with 92 tackles. Alex Sewell was 2nd on the tea, but there was quite a fall, as he collected 70 tackles from the secondary, which tied him with Ben Obaseki. Freshman DB Larry King added 65 tackles of his own. Obaseki led the MVC on the season in TLFs with 16, but he was a DB, so that accomplishment is huge. Washington was 2nd with 10. Obaseki also led the team with 7.5 sacks.
     Calvin Burnett had a solid season against the pass, as he ranked 3rd in the MVC with 8 passes defended. Larry Carter followed him with 6 on the season, but nobody else cleared 5. Burnett also led the team with 6 picks on the season.
     Cory Little had very dew opportunities, but nailed 5 of his 7 FG attempts on the season. The rest of the special teams were not quite ready for prime time, so again, there is room for growth here.

Southern Illinois Salukis
2010 Record: 5-6 (4-4), Tied 3rd
2010 Postseason: None
     SIU struggled, which is different from where they have been, but every team has to take a step back every now and then. SIU won't be down long.
     Chris Dieker struggled at QB, as the senior did not go out on top, having passed for 1816 yards. He passed for 15 scores, while also tossing 11 picks. He ranked 7th out of 9 starters in the conference, and now the Salukis must build without him.The rushing attack dodn't pick up the slack. Shariff Harris struggled, as he only rushed for 586 yards, but he did manage to score 8 times. Jeff Evans was the leading receiver, as he posted 40-576-3. He was followed by Joe Allaria (58-511-3) and Matt Guinn (24-283-2).
     The defense was not horrible, but was not great either. They allowed 332.1 yards per game, and gave up 33 TDs on the season. Stephen Franklin was the tackles leader with 76. He was followed byJoe Okon with 72. Brad Briggs was 3rd with 59. Only Okon returns in 2011. Jayson DiManche led the team with 11.5 TFLs, but was the only defender that hit double digits. DiManche also led the team in sacks, but only had 5.5 on the season.
     Korey Lindsey was the only defender in the secondary with 5 or more defended passes last fall, as he knocked away 7 passes. The Redbirds were not good at creating turnovers against the pass, as Boo Rodgers led the team wth only 2 picks.
     Kyle Dougherty hit on only 7 of his 11 FG attempts last fall, but he is now gone, so here is another spot where the Salukis have to rebuild.

Missouri State Bears
2010 Record: 5-6 (4-4), Tied 3rd
2010 Postseason: None
      Cody Kirby struggled at times last season for the Bears. He passed for 2307 yards, but only tossed 10 TD passes. He was only picked 6 times, but only managed to complete 57.2% of his passes, making 2010 a hit and miss season for the senior playing his final season.
     Chris Douglas became the focal point of the offense, as he rushed for 1021 yards and 11 scores. He shared the workload with Stephen Johnston, as he rished for 725 yards and 5 scores. Kirby was not a high yardage rusher, but he scored 13 times on the ground. Jermaine Saffold was by far the receiving leader, as he posted a line of 53-869-5. Cadarrius Dotson (38-495-1) and Trevor Wooden (21-284-1) came next on the list.
     The Bears were shredded against the pass last fall, as they allowed just over 281 yards passing per game. What's worse is that they coughed up another 156.8 yards rushing per game. Antoine Wilkinson racked up 101 tackles, good for 4th in the MVC. Skyler Smith finished 2nd on the team with 83, while Adam Beauchamp collected 75. Terian Washington was the final defender to go over 5 tackles per game, as he finished with 52 tackles on the season. Nobody finished in double figures in TFLs, but it was Antoine Wilkinson who led the team with 8. The sacks were few as well, as Wilkinson finished with just 5 on the season to lead the squad.
     The Bears had four defenders who defended passes last fall, and that was more than likely due to the fact that they had many passes tossed at them. Howard Scarborough led the team with 7, and he was joined in that group by Adam Beauchamp (6), Terian Washington (6), and Skylar Smith (5). Jimmie Strong was not a part of that group, but he led the team with 4 picks last season.
     Brian Berry averaged 23.53 yards per return as a freshman last fall, and has huge potenital for the Bears to build around on special teams.

South Dakota State Jackrabbits
2010 Record: 5-6 (4-4), Tied 3rd
2010 Postseason: None
     The Jackrabbits were never a serious threat to steal the league title, but played more of a spoiler role last fall. They definately had some major struggles, and QB Thomas O'Brien was struggling more than most. O'Brien passed for 2236 yards, but his ratio was upside down at 10/15. Al lot was asked of him last season, and he will probably have to provide again this fall, but who knows how much he can improve?
     Kyle Minett was a success at RB, as he rushed for 1192 yards and 12 TDs on the season, but there was very little depth behind him,  and he moves on, leaving nobody with any real experience in his wake. Tyrel Kool was the leading receiver on the season, as he posted a solid line of 64-808-2. He was followed by Brandon Hubert (32-375-1), Colin Cochart (31-338-4), and Aaron Rollin (24-292-2).
     The defense got rocked against the run last fall, as they gave up 183.5 yards per game against the run. Derek Domino leaves having led the team in tackles with 103 last fall, and he was followed by Mike Lien (98), Corey Jeske (81), Anthony Wise (76), and Dirk Kool (70). The Rabbits got virtually no support up front, as nobody got close to double figures in TFLs or sacks, and nobody got close to the top ten leaderboard in the MVC.
     Jake Steffan finished with 7 passes defended, but was the only SDSU defender in the top 10 on a unit that allowed 185.2 yards per game passing. Cole Brodie led the team with 5 picks on the season.
      Dean Priddy averaged just over 40 yards per punt as a senior, and now he must be replaced, leaving SDSU with a very week kicking game coming into 2011. Brodie also averaged more than 24 yards per kick return, but he was also a senior. Brodie was also a very succesful punt return man, averaging over 10 yards per return.

Youngstown State Penguins
2010 Record: 3-8 (1-7), 9th
2010 Postseason: None
     The Penguins went young at QB, starting freshman Kurt HEss, and he gave them what he could, passing for 2117 yards and 12 TDs with 8 picks on the season. He also ran for another 3 scores, and should show signs of growth as a sophomore this fall. Jamaine Cook was solid in the backfield, as he ran for 1240 yards and 11 scores. Cook returns as a junior. Adris Bellamy also rushed for 11 scores as a freshman, giving YSU a seriously [otent backfield threat in 2011. Dominique Barnes was a major hit last fall, having posted a line of 67-911-4, making him the only serious threat in the receiving corps.
     John Sasson, a junior LB, led the team with 89 tackles last season, and has the potential to break 100 in 2011. The prblem was that there was very little production behind him, and the Penguins never did put any serious pressure on the oppsoing backfields. Brandion Ross was the only defender to knock away 5 passes last season, and also led the team with only 3 picks. The D will have to be more aggresiive next fall.
     Stephen Blose hit on 12 of his 14 FG attempts last fall, but he now has to be replaced, leaving a huge hile in the YSU scoring attack. Nick Liste was just a freshman, but averaged over 41 yards per punt last fall. 

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