The Pioneer Football League Report: Week 5

Monday, September 23, 2019
by Cody Bush, PFL Media Relations


A light Week 5 schedule is the calm before the storm in the PFL with a next week’s slate featuring all 10 PFL teams in league action. Marist will already have two conference games in hand when Week 6 starts thanks to a Week 3 win against Stetson and its Week 5 outing against Drake.

All times Eastern. 

Drake at Marist, 1 p.m.

Location: Poughkeepsie, N.Y.
Stadium: Tenney Stadium
Series: DRA leads, 7-0    Streak: DRA, seven wins
Previously: Drake def. Marist, 13-10 (2018)

Ave Maria at Jacksonville, 1 p.m.
Location: Jacksonville, Florida
Stadium: D.B. Milne Field
Series: First Meeting

North Carolina Wesleyan at Stetson, 1 p.m.
Broadcast: ESPN+
Location: DeLand, Florida
Stadium: Spec Martin Memorial Stadium
Series: First Meeting

University of Charleston at Valparaiso, 1 p.m.
Broadcast: ESPN+
Location: Valparaiso, Indiana
Stadium: Brown Field
Series: First Meeting

Off Week: Butler, Davidson, Dayton, Morehead State, San Diego


DRAKE AT MARIST: Marist closes out a three-game homestand seeking its first-ever victory against Drake. Both the Red Foxes and Bulldogs enter the contest trying to wake their slumbering offenses. Marist is ranked 7th among PFL teams in total offense (295.0 ypg) and 3rd in passing offense (237.3 ypg). Drake is 10th in total offense (219.3 ypg) and 8th in passing offense (170.3 ypg). RED FOX TO WATCH: Quarterback Luke Strnad has made the big connection often this season, entering the week ranked 5th among all FCS passers in yards per completion (16.2), if he can move the needle forward on his pass completion percentage (43.6) the results could be promising for Marist. BULLDOG TO WATCH: Punter Ross Kennedy has been called upon plenty as Drake has battled through a tough opening slate. He is third among PFL punters in average (40.6) but is tied for the league lead in 50-yard boots (4) and punts downed inside the 20 (10) on 23 punts this season. 

AVE MARIA AT JACKSONVILLE: Jacksonville saw its nine-season home-opening win streak snapped in Week 4, but will seek to level its home record when Ave Maria visits Saturday. Calvin Turner Jr. showed off his arm against Dartmouth last week, setting his career mark with 106 passing yards. Turner Jr. still ranks fifth among FCS quarterbacks in rushing with 233 rushing yards this season. DOLPHIN TO WATCH: BJ Byrd does a little bit of everything for Jacksonville, leading the PFL with 143.3 all-purpose yards per game. He leads the PFL in punt return average (15.3) and is third in kick return average (26.0) and also has 166 receiving yards and 10 rushing yards to his credit.

NORTH CAROLINA WESLEYAN AT STETSON: After setting a program record with 643 offensive yards last week, Stetson gets one final tune up before league play when it meets North Carolina Wesleyan for the first time. The Hatters opened up the passing game against Division III Western New England last week with five different receivers catching a pass and scoring – four of those were first time touchdown receptions. HATTER TO WATCH: Running back Jareem Westcott is 29 yards shy of 1,000 career rushing yards entering the week. He is seeking to reach the mark in his 14th career game. Westcott has 971 rushing yards in 13 career games.

UNIVERSITY OF CHARLESTON AT VALPARAISO: Vaparaiso returns home for a Week 5 matchup against Division II Charleston. The Crusaders are another PFL team seeking to rouse its offense from an early season slumber. Valparaiso enters the week ranked 9th in total offense (237.0 ypg) while its passing game is ranked 5th (170.3 ypg). Four different Crusaders have thrown a pass in 2019. CRUSADER TO WATCH: Ollie Reese is ranked 3rd among PFL runners with 125.3 all-purpose yards per game thanks to 167 receiving yards and 199 kick return yards. He set Valparaiso’s season best with 75 receiving yards at Truman State and had 99 kickoff return yards against Central Connecticut State.

Complete news and notes available in PDF version

PFL teams are 10-6 at home after posting a 2-3 record in Week 4. Davidson (3-0), Stetson (2-0) and Morehead State (2-0) enter their Week 5 off week with unblemished home marks. Marist’s hosts Drake with its home win coming in league action against Stetson in Week 3. 

PFL teams enter Week 5 with a 3-12 record in road games. Dayton owns a four-game road winning streak entering its off week this week. That is tied for the third longest active home win streak in the FCS. Drake is the lone PFL team on the road this week, traveling to Marist for a PFL battle.

Davidson running back Wesley Dugger pushed past the 2,500 career yard mark against Campbell, Sept. 21. One of two juniors among the FCS Top 10 Active Career Leaders, he is ranked fourth in total rushing yardage (2,571) after Week 4, averaging 107.1 yards per game. He is just ahead of Monmouth junior Pete Guerriero (2,419 yards) on the list.

Seeing a PFL quarterback listed on the FCS Active Career Leaders list in Passing Efficiency is a normal occurrence. However, that quarterback not having San Diego next to their name is a new twist. Dayton signal caller Jack Cook is second among active career leaders with a 156.61 career pass efficiency rating.

Meanwhile, San Diego wide receiver Michael Bandy will look to reach the 2,500 receiving yard plateau when the Toreros return to action in Week 6. He finished Week 4 with 2,481 career reception yards, fifth among NCAA active career leaders.

Davidson linebacker George Hatalowich was named to the 2019 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team Sept. 12.  As the founder and current president of Davidson Football Uplifting Athletes, George has been responsible for raising more than $25,000 to benefit the rare disease community. George has also taken the Davidson Chapter a step further to engage with local patients, families and caregivers through the Uplifting Athletes Bowling event, which allows the families the opportunity to bowl alongside the football team. The Allstate AFCA Good Works Team will be invited to the 2020 Allstate® Sugar Bowl® and will join Tebow and Allstate volunteers to give back to New Orleans through a special community service project. Allstate will recognize the team during the halftime show. Fans are invited to visit to vote for the 2019 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team captain once per day, now through Nov. 22. The team captain will be honored at The Home Depot College Football Awards on ESPN later this season.


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