The Pioneer Football League Report: Week 2

Monday, September 2, 2019
by Cody Bush, PFL Media Relations


HOME SWEET HOME? PFL teams won both Week 1 home games (Davidson, Morehead State), but did not post a victory on the road. Week 2 sees five PFL teams at home, including a San Diego squad that  puts its 21-game home win streak on the line against nationally-ranked UC Davis… PFL TAKES ON TOP 25. Three PFL teams will face FCS Top 25 opponents in Week 2, starting with Dayton’s season-opening trip to Indiana State. Morehead State’s first road game takes it to Illinois State while San Diego’s home opener has it facing UC Davis… MARIST AT GEORGETOWN: Marist lifts the lid on its 2019 trek in Week 2 when it faces Georgetwon in what promises to be an early litmus test for the Red Foxes after Davidson downed the Hoyas in Week 1. Marist won the last time these two teams played in Washington, D.C., denying a game-tying two-point conversion with 4:48 left to secure the victory… DAYTON AT INDIANA STATE: Dayton will make the trek across the state of Indiana to meet nationally-ranked Indiana State in their first meeting since 1976… The game will give the first glimpse of Adam Trautman, Dayton’s FCS Preseason All-American tight end, as he begins his march toward the Flyers career reception and receiving touchdown marks… UC DAVIS AT SAN DIEGO: San Diego has not lost at Torero Stadium since the end of the 2014 season, a 21-game streak that will be put to the test when nationally-ranked UC Davis visits… Redshirt senior quarterback Reid Sinnett threw for 416 yards and four touchdowns at Cal Poly last week and will face a UC Davis defense that surrendered only 238 passing yards to California last week… INDIANA WESLEYAN AT BUTLER: Butler returns to Indianapolis for back-to-back home games, beginning with NAIA foe Indiana Wesleyan which will be opening its 2019 season… The Bulldogs defense provided their lone points against No. 1 North Dakota State, with redshirt senior Dan DelGrosso with a scoop and score to go along with six tackles… VIRGINIA-LYNCHBURG at DAVIDSON: Davidson’s season-opening three-game homestand continues when it hosts Virginia-Lynchburg… It will be Game of Thrones Night at Richardson Stadium as the Wildcats host the Dragons… The FCS’ top-ranked rushing attack in 2018 brought that force to bear in Week 1, amassing 355 rushing yards in its win against Georgetown – the fifth best rushing attack in the FCS last week… LOUISIANA COLLEGE AT STETSON: Stetson will look to get 2019 underway when it hosts Louisiana College after seeing its Week 1 contest canceled… It will be the rekindling of another old matchup for the Hatters, who last faced the Division III Wildcats in 1924… MOREHEAD STATE AT ILLINOIS STATE: After winning its home and season opener, Morehead State will face a sterner test in its road opener at nationally-ranked Illinois State… Eagles quarterback Mark Pappas was responsible for four touchdowns while play three quarters in his debut, but he will face a Redbirds defense that allowing just 299 passing yards to FBS foe Northern Illinois in Week 1… TRUMAN STATE AT DRAKE: Drake returns to Iowa for a visit from Division II foe Truman State… Bulldogs running back Drew Lauer saw 21 carries at North Dakota in Week 1, gaining 73 yards en route to 142 all-purpose yards.

All times Eastern. 

Marist at Georgetown, 12:30 p.m.
Broadcast:  Not Available
Location: Washington, D.C.
Stadium: Cooper Field
Series: GU leads, 16-5    Streak: GU, one win    
Previously: Georgetown def. Marist, 39-14 (2018)

Dayton at [14/15] Indiana State, 1 p.m.
Broadcast: ESPN+
Location: Terre Haute, Indiana
Stadium: Memorial Stadium
Series: Series tied, 1-1    Streak: DAY, one win
Previously: Dayton def. Indiana State, 20-14 (1976)

[5/4] UC Davis at San Diego, 5 p.m.
Location: San Diego, California
Stadium: Torero Stadium
Series: UCD leads, 4-1    Streak: UCD, four wins
Previously: UC David def. San Diego, 54-21 (2018)

Indiana Wesleyan at Butler, 6 p.m.
Location: Indianapolis, Indiana
Stadium: Butler Bowl
Series: First Meeting

Virginia Lynchburg at Davidson, 6 p.m.
Location: Davidson, North Carolina
Stadium: Richardson Stadium
Series: First Meeting

Louisiana College at Stetson, 6 p.m.
Broadcast: ESPN+
Location: DeLand, Florida
Stadium: Spec Martin Memorial Stadium
Series: STE leads, 1-0    Streak: STE, one win
Previously: Stetson def. Louisiana College, 32-0 (1924)

Morehead State at [16/16] Illinois State, 7:30 p.m.
Broadcast: ESPN+
Location: Normal, Illinois
Stadium: Hancock Stadium
Series: ISU leads, 2-1    Streak: ISU, two wins
Previously: Illinois State def. Morehead State, 52-21 (2011)

Truman State at Drake, 7 p.m.
Location: Des Moines, Iowa
Stadium: Drake Stadium
Series: DRA leads, 3-2    Streak: DRA, one win
Previously: Drake def. Truman State, 13-7 (2014)

Off Week: Jacksonville, Valparaiso

Complete news and notes available in PDF version

Valparaiso is set to celebrate its 100-year history over the course of the campaign by recognizing and celebrating individuals and teams from select eras at four games this season. The Crusaders have won 11 conference championships, including six in the Indiana Collegiate Conference and two in the Pioneer Football League. Valparaiso will retire the numbers of two University legends at the Homecoming game on Sept. 28 at Brown Field. Garry Puetz ’73 and Fuzzy Thurston ’56 (posthumous) will become the first players in program history to have their numbers retired.

A trio of Pioneer Football League Punters were named to the inaugural FCS Punter of the Year Award Watch List presented by The Augusta Sports Council. Drake’s Ross Kennedy, Morehead State’s Andrew Foster and San Diego’s Tanner Kuljian were each named to the 28-player list released in July. Each of the three finished 2018 ranked among the NCAA’s Top 100 punters in punting average. Kuljian was ranked No. 14 nationally, averaging 42.8 yards per punt on 59 kicks. Foster was No. 26 among FCS kickers with 41.9 yards per punt. Kennedy finished the season No. 93 among FCS punters (37.1 yards per punt).

San Diego wide receiver Michael Bandy, Dayton tight end Adam Trautman and Drake defensive back Will Waner made the rounds as the Preseason All-America squads were announced. Bandy was named to all four Preseason All-America teams (STATS, Athlon, Phill Steele and HERO), Warner was named to three (STATS, Phill Steele and HERO) and Trautman earned recognition on two (STATS and Phill Steele).

Three Pioneer Football League student-athletes were among 137 nominees from across the country for the 28th edition of the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team®. George Hatalowich (Davidson), Luke Butera (Marist) and Ryan Culhane (Dayton) were nominated for the 2019 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team®. In order to meet the criteria set forth by Allstate and the AFCA, each player must be actively involved with a charitable organization or service group while maintaining a strong academic standing.

As 2019 gets underway, the longest-tenured coaches in Division I FCS are Marist’s Jim Parady and Monmouth’s Kevin Callahan, who have been head coaches at their respective schools since 1992. On the other end of the spectrum, the PFL welcomes two new head coaches in 2019: Valparaiso’s Landon Fox and Drake’s Jeff Stepsis, who were part of 24 new head coaches in the FCS this season.

In March Valparaiso Director of Athletics Mark LaBarbera introduced Landon Fox as the 18th head coach of the Crusaders foottball program. Fox is no stranger to success in the Pioneer Football League, as he spent the 11  previous season as Dayton’s defensive coordinator and secondary coach. During that time, the Flyers compiled an 86-38 record, won three PFL championships and participated in the 2015 FCS playoffs while making defense a hallmark of the program.

Coming off the best season in more than 65 years, Stetson football coach Roger Hughes was rewarded with a contract extension that will keep him on the Hatters sideline through at least the 2021 season. Hughes, who has guided the Stetson football program since 2011 when he was charged with leading the program onto the field after more than 50 years without a team, was named Pioneer Football League Coach of the Year in 2018.

Todd Stepsis, the architect of the Drake football team’s nationally-ranked defense, was named the head coach of the Drake football team in December. He takes the reins of the Bulldogs’ program after serving as the program’s defensive coordinator for the past five seasons under previous head coach Rick Fox, who resigned his position. As the defensive coordinator, Stepsis built the Drake defense into one of the nation’s top units and coached a total of 42 all-conference selections including the program’s all-time leading tackler and the 2018 PFL Defensive Player of the Year, Nathan Clayberg.