MISSOURI VALLEY CONFERENCE | Saturday’s games
Southern Illinois 35, Western Illinois 0
Kory Faulkner threw a touchdown pass and ran for another score as Southern Illinois defeated Western Illinois in the season finale for both teams. Steve Strother ran for 90 yards for the Salukis (6-6, 5-3 Missouri Valley), who held Western Illinois to 16 yards rushing and 126 total yards. Kevin Reed returned an interception 18 yards for a touchdown for SIU. Southern Illinois sacked three Western quarterbacks five times, and the Leathernecks (3-8, 1-7) punted 11 times in the game.
North Dakota State 38, Illinois State 20
Sam Ojuri and John Crockett each rushed for more than 100 yards and a touchdown, Marcus Williams returned a kickoff a career-long 98 yards for a score, and North Dakota State won the Missouri Valley Conference title, beating Illinois State in both teams’ regular-season finale. Ojuri had 118 yards on the ground, including a 1-yard TD that capped a 21-point fourth quarter for the Bison (10-1, 7-1). Crockett scored on a 5-yard run and totaled 109 yards rushing. Brock Jensen added two short rushing scores for NDSU, which improved to 11-0 on the road the past two seasons. Jensen had just 96 yards passing, but NDSU rolled up 274 yards on the ground. Matt Brown threw for 212 yards, including a 5-yard touchdown to Jordan Neukirch, and ran for a score for the Redbirds (8-3, 5-3), who could have claimed a share of the title with a victory.
South Dakota State 31, South Dakota 8
South Dakota State earned a chance at the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs with a win over in-state rival South Dakota in the teams’ first gridiron matchup in nine years. The Jackrabbits (8-3, 6-2 Missouri Valley Football Conference) were led by running back Zach Zenner, who gained 164 yards on 28 attempts with one touchdown. It marked the eighth time he gained more than 100 yards this season. SDSU quarterback Austin Sumner was 20 of 30 for 272 yards with one touchdown. South Dakota got its only score on a blocked punt and 27-yard return with just under 8 minutes left in the game. USD (1-10, 0-8 MVFC) ends its season without a conference win. Receiver Will Powell led the Coyotes with seven catches for 110 yards.