The Pioneer Football League Report: Week 8

Tuesday, October 19, 2021
by Cody Bush, PFL Media Relations


Morehead State at Marist, Noon
Broadcast: ESPN3
Location: Poughkeepsie, New York
Stadium: Tenney Stadium
Series: Marist leads, 4-2    Streak: Marist, 3 wins
Last Meeting: Marist def. Morehead State, 48-21 (10/27/18)

Davidson at Butler, 1 p.m.
Location: Davidson, North Carolina
Stadium: Richardson Stadium
Series: PRE leads, 15-14-2    Streak: PRE, 1 win
Last Meeting: Presbyterian def. Davidson, 29-24 (4/10/21)

Stetson at Drake, 1 p.m.
Broadcast: ESPN3
Location: Des Moines, Iowa
Stadium: Drake Stadium
Series: Drake leads, 3-1    Streak: Stetson, 1 win
Last Meeting: Stetson def. Drake, 23-21 (10/13/18)

San Diego at Presbyterian, 1 p.m.
Broadcast: ESPN+
Location: Clinton, South Carolina
Stadium: Bailey Memorial Stadium
Series: San Diego leads, 1-0
Last Meeting: San Diego def. Presbyterian, 24-21 (3/27/21)

Dayton at Valparaiso, 1 p.m.
Broadcast: ESPN+
Location: Valparaiso, Indiana
Stadium: Brown Field
Series: Dayton leads, 26-3    Streak: Dayton, 1 win
Last Meeting: Dayton def. Valparaiso, 31-28 (10/12/19)

Off Week: St. Thomas


The ranks of the PFL’s unbeaten teams will be thinned by at least one team in Week 8… Unbeatens Morehead State and Marist square off in Poughkeepsie, New York, Saturday in the lone matchup between three-win teams in the league. It promises to be a barn-burner with four of the six meetings in the series decided by seven points or less. During its win streak, Marist’s offense has practised solid ball control and has not committed a turnover in three straight games. Meanwhile, Morehead State has scored at least 31 points in every game this season and is averaging 36.8 points per game… Davidson takes its unbeaten mark on the road to face Butler in Indianapolis in the first of back-to-back road games for the Wildcats. Davidson boasts the FCS’ top rushing offense both in terms of yardage (300.0 yards per game) and rushing touchdowns (19). Butler has allowed 19 rushing touchdowns this season while scoring 13 rushing touchdowns of their own… Stetson travels to the Great Plains to take on Drake in Des Moines. The Hatters are seeking an end to their longest PFL losing streak in program history, which moved to seven games with last week’s loss to St. Thomas. Drake’s defensive line, which has recorded four sacks this season, will look to take advantage of a Stetson offensive line that has permitted six or more sacks in each of its last five games against FCS opponents… San Diego treks cross country as it seeks to stay in touch with the league leaders when it faces Presbyterian. The Toreros have won three straight after a PFL-opening loss to league-leading Davidson, winning two of those games by three points each. Presbyterian boasts the FCS’ top-ranked scoring offense, averaging an impressive 43.3 points per game but also has surrendered 47.7 points per game… Dayton, which is 1-2 on the road this season, travels to face a Valparaiso team seeking its first home win in 2021. Valparaiso nearly notched that first home win with a narrow 27-24 loss to Marist in Week 5 and its two home games have seen it fall by a total of 13 points. Dayton takes to the road seeking back-to-back road wins after notching a victory at Drake in Week 6.

Mekhai Johnson had a 91-yard kickoff return and Luke Paladino hit a 29-yard field goal in the third quarter to lead Marist past Dayton, 20-17. Johnson finished the game with 183 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns, adding a 33-yard score for the game’s first touchdown. Dayton’s Jack Cook completed 20-of-28 passes for 214 yards and a touchdown… On the first play from scrimmage, Hope Adebayo broke loose for a 78-yard touchdown run – the first of his three first quarter touchdown runs – to lead St. Thomas past Stetson, 38-7. Adebayo, making his first collegiate start, finished with 20 carries for 182 yards and four touchdowns. Stetson’s Alex Piccirilli  passed for 94 yards and ran for another 77 yards… BJ Byrd caught two touchdown passes and Morehead State’s defense allowed just 189 yards in a 31-8 victory against Butler. Byrd ended the day with nine receptions for 121 yards, with touchdown catches of 17 and 16 yards…  Brandon Eickert’s 44-yard field goal with 9:50 left in the game broke a 10-10 tie and proved to be the game-winner as San Diego downed Drake, 13-10. Drake and San Diego combined for just 524 offensive yards. San Diego’s Mason Randall completed 19-of-30 passes for 180 yards and a touchdown. Caden Meis had 12 carries for 58 yards and a touchdown to lead Drake… Davidson scored 28 points in the second quarter and another 21 in the third frame to scamper past Presbyterian, 70-35. Davidson scored six touchdowns as part of its 42-carry, 351-yard rushing performance. Ren Hefley completed 32-of-56 passes for 298 yards and two touchdowns to pace Presbyterian.

San Diego’s Dale Lindsey became the fourth head coach to record 50 career PFL victories with the Torero’s win at Butler, Oct. 9. He joins Dayton’s Rich Chamberlin (72), Dayton’s Mike Kelley (55), and Jacksonville’s Kerwin Bell (51) as coaches with 50-plus wins. That group still could grow by two this season with Marist’s Jim Parady (49) a win away and Butler’s Jeff Voris (48) two wins away from joining the exclusive group.

With Davidson’s 70-point performance in a league victory against Presbyterian, six of the FCS’s 60-plus scoring performances have been put forth by PFL teams. Presbyterian holds down the No. 1 and No. 7 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.). Davidson settled in at fifth with its 70-point outing against Presbyterian. Dayton is now No. 12 while Morehead State’s 62-point effort against Point (Ga.) is No. 17.

Furthering the league’s offensive mindset in 2021, four of the league’s 11 members are ranked in the FCS’ Top 50 in scoring offense. Presbyterian ranks No. 4 (43.3 ppg) followed by Davidson (11th, 37.0), Morehead State (13th, 36.8), Dayton (44th, 27.7).

Leading the FCS’ fourth-ranked offense, Presbyterian quarterback Ren Hefley ranks among the FCS top 5 in passing yards (3rd, 2,338), passing per game (3rd, 389.7 ypg), points responsible for (3rd, 25.7 ppg), and passing touchdowns (2nd, 23). He owns two of the FCS’s five 500-yard passing performances this season, passing for 576 yards against St. Andrews in Week 1 and 551 yards against Morehead State in Week 5.