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The Pioneer Football League Report: Week 1

Tuesday, August 29, 2023
by Cody Bush, PFL Media Relations

AHEAD IN WEEK 1

Thursday, Aug. 31

West Virginia State at Morehead State, 6 p.m.
Broadcast: ESPN+
Location: Morehead, Kentucky    Stadium: Jayne Stadium
Series: Series tied, 1-1    Streak: MSU, 1 win
Last Meeting: Morehead State def. West Virginia State, 60-22 (1996)

Valparaiso at Youngstown State, 7:30 p.m.
Broadcast: ESPN+
Location: Youngstown, Ohio    Stadium: Stambaugh Stadium
Series: YSU leads, 3-0    Streak: YSU, 3 wins
Last Meeting: Youngstown State def. Valparaiso, 42-7 (2018)

Saturday, Sept. 2

Marist at Georgetown, 12:30 p.m.
Broadcast: ESPN+
Location: Washington, D.C.    Stadium: Cooper Field
Series: GU leads, 18-5    Streak: GU, 3 wins
Last Meeting: Georgetown def. Marist, 43-12 (2022)

Davidson at VMI, 12:30 p.m.
Broadcast: ESPN+
Location: Lexington, Virginia    Stadium: Alumni Memorial Field
Series: VMI leads, 40-17-3    Streak: VMI, 11 wins
Last Meeting: VMI def. Davidson, 45-24 (2021)

Dayton at Illinois State, 1 p.m.
Broadcast: Marquee Sports/ESPN+
Location: Normal, Illinois    Stadium: Hancock Stadium
Series: ILST leads, 1-0    Streak: ILST, 1 win
Last Meeting: Illinois State def. Dayton, 56-14 (2012)

Butler at #14 Montana, 2 p.m.
Broadcast: ESPN+
Location: Missoula, Montana    Stadium: Washington-Grizzly Stadium
Series: First Meeting

Black Hills State at St. Thomas, 2 p.m.
Broadcast: MidCoSports+
Location: St. Paul, Minnesota    Stadium: O’Shaughnessy Stadium
Series: First Meeting

Drake at #17 North Dakota, 4 p.m.
Broadcast: ESPN+
Location: Grand Forks, North Dakota    Stadium: Alerus Center
Series: UND leads, 4-0    Streak: UND, 4 wins
Last Meeting: North Dakota def. Drake, 38-0 (2021)

Presbyterian at Murray State, 6 p.m.
Broadcast: ESPN+
Location: Murray, Kentucky    Stadium: Roy Stewart Stadium
Series: First Meeting

St. Thomas (Fla.) at Stetson, 6 p.m.
Broadcast: ESPN+
Location: DeLand, Florida    Stadium: Spec Martin Memorial Stadium
Series: First Meeting

San Diego at Cal Poly, 6:05 p.m.
Broadcast: ESPN+
Location: San Luis Obispo, California    Stadium: Mustang Memorial Field
Series: CPU leads, 7-1    Streak: CPU, 3 wins
Series: Cal Poly def. San Diego, 28-27 (2022)

NOTES FROM AROUND THE PFL

PFL’S 31ST CAMPAIGN
The 2023 season marks the 31st year for the Pioneer Football League – the nation’s only non-scholarship, football-only NCAA Football Championship Subdivision conference. The league will feature 11 teams – tied for most in league history – each playing an eight-game schedule to determine the league champion and recipient of the automatic bid to the 2023 NCAA FCS Championship.

DEFENDING CHAMPION ST. THOMAS PICKED TO WIN PFL
St. Thomas, the defending Pioneer Football League champion, was the choice to win the league’s 2023 title as selected in the league’s Preseason Coaches’ poll released Tuesday and voted upon by the league’s head coaches.
St. Thomas received 98 of the maximum 100 points available, with coaches unable to vote for their teams. Davidson followed closely with 92 points – putting the Tommies and Wildcats as the league’s clear frontrunners entering the 2023 season. Dayton and San Diego, perennial league favorites, were picked to finish third and fourth, respectively.

PFL SEES FOUR 2022 MAJOR AWARD WINNERS RETURN FOR 2023
Four of the PFL’s five major award winners from 2022 return for the 2023 season, led by reigning PFL Offensive Player of the Year quarterback Bret Bushka of Butler. He is joined by Butler’s punter and kicker Luka Zurak, who returns after claiming PFL Special Teams Player of the Year last season. Drake defensive lineman Finn Claypool also returns after earning Freshman Defensive Player of the Year recognition in 2022. Stetson quarterback Brady Meitz also returns after claiming Freshman Offensive Player of the Year honors.

WEALTH OF EXPERIENCE RETURNS ACROSS THE PFL
Eighty-six student-athletes recognized on the 2022 All-PFL Teams and honorable mention lists return for the 2023 season, including 12 returning First Team All-PFL selections and 15 returning Second Team All-PFL honorees.

GREG WALTER NAMED SECOND PFL COMMISSIONER
The Pioneer Football League’s Presidents Council named Greg Walter the league’s second commissioner, effective August 1. Walter, who served as the PFL’s associate commissioner since 2013, brings two decades of collegiate athletics experience, including an extensive background in leadership roles within the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS), into his new role with the league. In addition, Patty Viverito will remain an advisor to the Pioneer Football League after serving as commissioner since the league’s founding in 1993.

 

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