The Pioneer Football League Weekly Report: Week 6

Monday, September 30, 2019

All times Eastern. 

Jacksonville at Dayton, Noon
Location: Dayton, Ohio
Stadium: Welcome Stadium
Series: DAY leads, 5-4    Streak: DAY, three wins
Previously: Dayton def. Jacksonville, 34-7 (2018)

Davidson at Morehead State, 1 p.m.
Broadcast: ESPN+
Location: Morehead, Kentucky
Stadium: Jayne Stadium
Series: MOR leads, 14-6    Streak: MOR, seven wins
Previously: Morehead State def. Davidson, 35-28 (2018)

Butler at Stetson, 1 p.m.
Broadcast: ESPN+
Location: DeLand, Florida
Stadium: Spec Martin Memorial Stadium
Series: BUT leads, 4-0    Streak: BUT, four wins
Previously: Butler def. Stetson, 28-23 (2018)

Valparaiso at Drake, 2 p.m.
Location: Des Moines, Iowa
Stadium: Drake Stadium
Series: DRA leads, 23-3    Streak: DRA, 15 wins
Previously: Drake def. Valparaiso, 42-25 (2018)

Marist at San Diego, 5 p.m.
Location: San Diego, California
Stadium: Torero Stadium
Series: SAN leads, 14-0    Streak: SAN, 14 wins
Previously: San Diego def. Marist, 31-14 (2018)


Jacksonville at Dayton, Noon
The PFL’s No. 4 passing offense (Dayton) squares off against the No. 3 rushing offense (Jacksonville) in the PFL opener for both teams, Saturday, at Welcome Stadium. Two different styles of quarterback will be on display with passer Jack Cook, who is third in the PFL with 236.0 passing yards per game, against runner Calvin Turner Jr., who is second in the PFL with 94.5 rushing yards per game. Last season, Dayton unleashed its run game to the tune of 307 yards and three touchdowns while Jacksonville amassed 266 rushing yards but did not score a touchdown on the ground. DOLPHIN TO WATCH: Linebacker Caysaun Wakeley is one of only three PFL defenders with a interception return for a touchdown this season and ranks fourth among PFL linebackers with 7.2 tackles per game. FLYER TO WATCH: Tight end Adam Trautman has been vitally important the offense this season, catching 25 of Cook’s 53 completions and 303 of the team’s 708 passing yards. 

Davidson at Morehead State, 1 p.m.
Two offenses that have each averaged more than 400 yards per game meet when Davidson meets Morehead State, Saturday, at Jayne Stadium. Once again, Davidson’s ground game has been impressive in 2019, averaging 329.8 yards and more than three touchdowns per game – all without an individual runner averaging more than 75 yards per game. Morehead State has been a more balanced offensive unit (186. 8 rush yards vs. 215.5 pass yards per game) and has the league’s leading rusher  in Issiah Aguero and third ranked passer in Mark Pappas. WILDCAT TO WATCH: Pick a Wildcat to run and odds are you’ll be right with seven runners with 10 or more carries and 19 Wildcats with a carry. Toss in nine different Wildcat runners who have scored a touchdown and Davidson’s run game is a multifaceted threat. EAGLE TO WATCH: Issiah Aguero is the PFL’s leading rusher at 95.0 yards per game but also in third in the all-purpose yardage race with 120.0 yards per game. Yet he only has two touchdowns to his credit in 2019, both through the run game.

Butler at Stetson, 1 p.m.
One of the FCS’ longest home win streaks will be put on the line when Stetson, winner of its last nine home games, hosts Butler. Stetson’s offense has been a prolific scoring machine with 50 or more points in three of its first four games, but that unit was held to 23 points in a PFL-opening loss to Marist. Meanwhile, Butler’s offense is working to find its stride entering its PFL lid-lifter with a 30-point outing against Indiana Wesleyan its high-water mark to date. BULLDOG TO WATCH: Linebacker Luke Sennett will be the focus of Butler’s efforts to slow the Stetson passing game, with his team-leading four pass breakups while also leading the Bulldogs with 8.0 tackles per game. HATTER TO WATCH: Quarterback Gaven DiFilippo has jumped out to an impressive start in 2019 with 11 touchdown throws in four games. However, more impressively he has not thrown an interception in his league-leading 141 pass attempts this season.  

Valparaiso at Drake, 2 p.m.
Fresh off its PFL-opening win at Marist last week, Drake returns to Iowa looking to move to 2-0 in league play when it hosts Valparaiso. After being bottled up in its first three weekends, Drake’s offense broke out for a season-best 41 points at Marist last week and posting 442 offensive yards in the game after entering the outing with 658 total yards in its previous three games. Valparaiso is another squad looking to find its way on offense, averaging just 208 offensive yards per game entering this week’s matchup. CRUSADER TO WATCH: Wide receiver Ollie Reese has done his most to give Valparaiso good field position as both a punt and kick returner in addition to his normal receiving duties. He has 285 kick return yards (20.4 per return) and 118.2 all-purpose yards per game this season. BULLDOG TO WATCH: Quarterback Ian Corwin got recognition as the FCS’ top freshman last week and it was senior wide receiver Shane Feller that caught the bulk of the receptions – six catches for 102 yards and a touchdown.

Marist at San Diego, 5 p.m.
A 29-game PFL win streak is put on the line for the first time in 2019 when San Diego opens its PFL run against a Marist squad with two PFL games under its belt. San Diego’s offense has not skipped a beat under quarterback Reid Sinnett, reaching 30 points in each of its first three games while Sinnett has already posted 1,039 passing yards in his first three games under center. Marist put a season-best 26 points on the board in its PFL-opening win against Stetson but a 17-point outing against Drake did not provide the same result. RED FOX TO WATCH: Wide receiver Anthony Olivencia broke out with a 150-yard receiving day against Stetson but has been limited to 157 total receiving yards in his last two outings. He has found the end zone in two of his last three games played. TORERO TO WATCH: Having the PFL’s No. 1 & No. 2 receivers (in passing yardage) is a sign of the weapons Sinnett has at his disposal. Wideout Dalton Kincaid has been the big-play threat in 2019 with his 14 receptions going for 311 yards, or a league-leading 22.2 yards per reception.

Complete news and notes available in PDF version

All 10 PFL teams will be in action during Week 6 and all five contests are league outings. Preseason favorite San Diego puts its 29-game PFL win streak on the line when it hosts Marist in the nightcap. Preseason No. 2 pick Dayton also opens at home with Jacksonville trekking north. Also at home in Week 6 is PFL preseason No. 3 Drake, which plays its PFL home opener after winning its PFL opener at Marist last week.

Here’s a quick look at each team’s current streak in PFL openers, records are since the return to single-division play in 2006. San Diego has won 12 of its 13 PFL openers since the return to single-division play. Drake, Marist and Stetson have already played their PFL openers in 2019, reflected in their respective records below:
Butler: 6-7, W1
Davidson: 4-9, L8
Dayton: 7-6, W1
Drake: 12-2, W4
Jacksonville: 10-3, L1
Marist: 5-6, W1
Morehead St.: 6-7, L1
San Diego: 12-1, W4
Stetson: 1-6, L1
Valparaiso: 3-10, L2

Five Pioneer Football League student-athletes were named as semifinalists for the 2019 William V. Campbell Trophy presented by Mazada and The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame. The five PFL student-athletes recognized as semifinalists were: Brad Sznajder, Butler; Ethan Steinbacher, Davidson; Tim Simon, Dayton; Andrew McElroy, Marist; and Gaven DeFilippo, Stetson.  That quintet joins a group that now includes 82 PFL student-athletes who have been named a semifinalist for the Campbell Trophy, or its predecessor the Draddy Trophy, since 1998.

Drake freshman Ian Corwin put it all together in his best performance and Drake’s first win of the season, 41-17 at Marist, Sept. 28. Corwin completed 20 of 29 passes (69 percent) for 255 yards and four touchdowns with one interception. The four touchdown passes went to four different receivers and were one more than he threw in the first three games combined.


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