The Pioneer Football League Report: Week 5

Tuesday, September 28, 2021
by Cody Bush, PFL Media Relations


Drake at Butler, Noon
Location: Indianapolis, Indiana
Stadium: Sellick Bowl Stadium
Series: Drake leads, 21-8-1    Streak: Drake, five wins
Last Meeting: Drake def. Butler, 33-7 (4/10/21)

Davidson at Stetson, 1 p.m.
Broadcast: ESPN+
Location: DeLand, Florida
Stadium: Spec Martin Memorial Stadium
Series: Series tied, 6-6    Streak: Davidson, two wins
Last Meeting: Davidson def. Stetson, 26-20 (3/16/21)

Marist at Valparaiso, 1 p.m.
Broadcast: ESPN3
Location: Valparaiso, Indiana
Stadium: Brown Field
Series: Marist leads, 8-1    Streak: Marist, two wins
Last Meeting: Marist def. Valparaiso, 26-14 (11/23/19)

Dayton at Morehead State, 2 p.m.
Broadcast: ESPN+
Location: Morehead, Kentucky
Stadium: Jayne Stadium
Series: Dayton leads, 19-6    Streak: Dayton, two wins
Last Meeting: Dayton def. Morehead State, 49-35 (11/2/19)

St. Thomas at San Diego, 4 p.m.
Location: San Diego, Califorgnia
Stadium: Torero Stadium
Series: First Meeting   

Off Week: Presbyterian


The first full week of PFL play unfolds in Week 5 with five league matchups on the slate and Presbyterian taking its bye week… Marist, Morehead State and Stetson make their 2021 PFL debuts this week and each plays a Week 4 winner… Davidson hosts Stetson in a renewal of a series that began in 1912, returned in the mid-1950s before another revival with Stetson’s return to football in 2014… Marist heads to Valparaiso to face a Beacons team that was the only team to win its PFL opener on the road in Week 4, but Valparaiso is winless at home and Marist is seeking its season’s first win… Dayton makes the 155-mile trip south to face Morehead State in what promises to be an offensive affair with the two teams averaging 76.8 combined points per game in their last four meetings… The annual “Battle of the Bulldogs” returns with Drake, which has won the last five meetings in the series, heading east to face Butler with both teams seeking their first PFL win of 2021… After posting a shutout win in its PFL debut, St. Thomas makes the long trip west to face a San Diego team in search of its first 2021 victory.

Trailing 9-7 at halftime, Davidson scored the second half’s first 14 points to secure a 28-16 PFL-opening victory against San Diego… Dayton scored 28 points in both the second and third quarters to erase a 23-0 deficit and post a 63-43 PFL-opening victory against Presbyterian… Ben Nimz connected with Jordan Bingham for a 30-yard touchdown with 1:05 left and Austin Martins blocked a potential game-tying field goal, leading Valparaiso to a 24-21 PFL-opening victory at Drake… Princeton held Stetson to 199 offensive yards and scored at least 10 points in each quarter to post a 63-0 victory… St. Thomas made the most of its PFL debut, scoring a 36-0 victory against Butler… Bryant scored the game’s first 17 points and then held on for a 34-17 victory against Marist.

Avery Samuels, a redshirt sophomore offensive lineman for Stetson, was one of three college football student-athletes named to the Mayo Clinic Comeback Player of the Year Watch List, Sept. 28. Samuels sat out the 2020-21 season as seven members of his family perished from COVID-19. Following the death of his uncle last April and six other family members in the months that followed, he made the decision to opt-out of the season and spend the time with his family. Remarkably, despite the family tragedy, the psychology major returned to the Hatters this summer and has been working his way back onto the field more each week. Ten times during the 2021 college football season, three inspiring student-athletes from all levels of college football who have overcome injury, illness, or other challenges, are recognized as Mayo Clinic Comeback Player of the Year Nominees by a panel of writers, editors, and sports information directors from CoSIDA, AP and Touchdown Illustrated.

With Dayton’s 63-point performance in a league victory against Presbyterian, five of the FCS’s 60-plus scoring performances have been put forth by PFL teams. Presbyterian holds down the No. 1 and No. 5 spots on the list with its 84 points against St. Andrews and 68 points against Fort Lauderdale. Butler sits at No. 2 with its 77-point outing against Taylor (Ind.). Dayton is now No. 9 while Morehead State’s 62-point effort against Point (Ga.) is No. 13.

Furthering the league’s offensive mindset in 2021, six of the league’s 11 members are ranked in the FCS’ Top 50 in scoring offense. with five averaging more than 30 points per game. Presbyterian ranks No. 4 (48.8 ppg) followed by Morehead State (22nd, 35.7), Stetson (26th, 34.3) and Butler (29th, 33.2). Also ranked in the top 50 are Dayton (45th, 27.7) and Davidson (49th, 26.7).

Leading the FCS’ fourth-ranked offense, Presbyterian quarterback Ren Hefley ranks among the FCS top 5 in passing yards (3rd, 1,502), passing per game (4th, 375.5 ypg), points responsible for (1st, 116), and passing touchdowns (1st, 17).

Marist played its Week 4 home opener in front of a record crowd. The Tenney Stadium attendance of 6,154 was the largest in the stadium’s 15 years, and broke the previous record by over 1,500. The Red Foxes went 679 days between home games, last playing at home on Nov. 16, 2019 against Jacksonville.