The Pioneer Football League Report: Week 10

Tuesday, November 2, 2021
by Cody Bush, PFL Media Relations


Drake at Marist, Noon
Broadcast: ESPN3
Location: Poughkeepsie, New York
Stadium: Tenney Stadium
Series: Drake leads, 8-0
Last Meeting: Drake def. Marist, 41-17 (9/28/19)

St. Thomas at Davidson, 1 p.m.
Location: Davidson, North Carolina
Stadium: Richardson Stadium
Series: First Meeting

Dayton at Stetson, 1 p.m.
Broadcast: ESPN+
Location: DeLand, Florida
Stadium: Spec Martin Memorial Stadium
Series: Dayton leads, 3-1    Streak: Stetson, 1 win
Last Meeting: Stetson def. Dayton, 38-21 (10/19/19)

Presbyterian at Valparaiso, 2 p.m.
Broadcast: ESPN3
Location: Valparaiso, Indiana
Stadium: Brown Field
Series: First Meeting

Morehead State at San Diego, 4 p.m.
Location: San Diego, California
Stadium: Torero Stadium
Series: San Diego leads, 13-0
Last Meeting: San Diego def. Morehead State, 52-20 (11/16/19)

Off Week: Butler



  • The regular season’s final month gets underway with two battles atop the league standings highlighting Week 10 action. League-leading Davidson faces another stern test when upstart St. Thomas ventures into Richardson Stadium. Meanwhile, on the opposite side of the continent, San Diego hosts Morehead State in a battle of one-loss teams seeking to maintain contact with the lead with three weeks left.
  • The St. Thomas-Davidson contest is simply an affair between the league’s best defense and its best offense. St. Thomas has limited its five PFL opponents to 10.8 points and 246.2 yards per game – both PFL bests. Meanwhile, Davidson has averaged 42.2 points and 336 rushing yards per game – also PFL bests.
  • The Morehead State-San Diego matchup promises a more balanced affair. Offensively, San Diego is No. 3 in scoring (33.0 ppg) and Morehead State is No. 4 (32.6 ppg), even though MSU holds a nearly 100-yard advantage in offensive yards per game (458-364). Defensively, San Diego is the No. 3 unit in points allowed (20.8 ppg) against a No. 6 ranked Morehead State unit (25.8 ppg), with San Diego allowing more than 100 fewer yards per game (305-418).
  • Week 10 gets underway in Poughkeepsie with Drake traveling to Marist following an unexpected two week break. A low-scoring affair is in the offing with two of the league’s Top 5 defenses squaring off. Drake has been stingy with just 17 points and 316 yards per game allowed in league play. Marist has nearly been as stingy, with PFL foes managing just 23.8 points and 383 yards per game.
  • Two offenses running in different gears is the feature when high-paced Presbyterian travels to more sedately-paced Valparaiso. Presbyterian has kept up its high-flying offensive ways in PFL play, averaging 29.6 points and 502 yards per game, while running an astounding 451 offensive plays in five games. Valparaiso has run just 295 offensive plays in its five PFL outings and is averaging 24.0 points and 280.2 yards per game.
  • Dayton heads south to face Stetson in a matchup of teams that won their respective Week 9 outings. Dayton picked up a key victory against Butler to get back to .500 in league play with the league’s No. 2 ranked offense with 35.3 points per game (No. 2 in the PFL). Stetson won at Presbyterian to improve to 2-3 in league play thanks to an offensive averaging 30.3 points per game (No. 5 in the PFL).

Davidson sits alone atop the PFL standings after Week 9 of the 2021 campaign. San Diego and St. Thomas won to stay in sight of the lead, along with Morehead State, with three weeks remaining… Zach Rumpke intercepted a pass with 27 seconds remaining to help Dayton hold on for a 38-31 PFL victory against Butler. Dayton’s Jake Chisholm ran 24 times for 157 yards and three touchdowns and caught two passes for 55 yards and another touchdown. Butler’s Bret Bushka completed 29-of-48 passes for a touchdown and 392 yards then tacked on 58 yards and two touchdowns on 13 carries… Stetson scored the game’s first 42 points en route to a 56-14 PFL victory against Presbyterian. Stetson’s Alex Piccirilli threw for 217 yards and three touchdowns on 20-of-32 passing and had 37 yards and a touchdown on the ground. Presbyterian’s Ren Hefley completed 25-of-40 passes for 197 yards and a touchdown… Cade Sexauer threw for two touchdowns and Hope Adebayo ran for two more as St Thomas downed Marist, 21-7. St. Thomas running back Hope Adebayo ran for 191 yards and two touchdowns on 27 carries to pace St. Thomas. Marist quarterback Austin Day completed 9-of-16 passes for 101 yards to pace Marist… Davidson secured a 29-22 victory at Morehead State in a Week 9 battle of PFL unbeatens. Davidson’s Dylan Sparks ran for 122 yards and two touchdowns to pace a Davidson run game that finished with 397 yards and three touchdowns. Morehead State Mark Pappas paced Morehead State with his 24-of-44 passing outing that amassed 262 yards and two touchdowns… Mason Randall dashed into the end zone from 15 yards out with 1:15 remaining, leading San Diego to a come-from-behind 21-14 PFL victory against Valparaiso. Randall completed 24-of-38 passes for 265 yards with a touchdown both running and passing. The San Diego defense held Valparaiso 57 offensive yards, including only two passing yards, four first downs, and did not allow a drive to last more than five plays. Will Buck led that defensive effort with six tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, and three sacks.

With San Diego’s 69-point performance in a league victory against Presbyterian, seven of the FCS’s 24 games with 60-plus points have been put forth by PFL teams. The FCS’ top three are Presbyterian with 84 points against St. Andrews, Butler with 77 points against Taylor University, and Davidson with 76 points against Presbyterian. San Diego moves into sixth with its 69-point outing, Presbyterian is eighth with a 68-point effort, Dayton is 13th with 63 points and Morehead State is 18th with a 62-point affair.

Furthering the league’s offensive mindset in 2021, five of the league’s 11 members are ranked in the FCS’ Top 50 in scoring offense. Davidson ranks No. 5 (37.6 ppg) followed by Presbyterian (6th, 37.5), Morehead State (18th, 33.8), Dayton (36th, 29.0), and Stetson (47th, 28.1).

Presbyterian’s Ren Hefley and Morehead State’s Mark Pappas are both ranked among the FCS Top 10 in passing entering this week’s action. Hefley is third in the FCS with 2,926 passing yards in eight games (365.8 ypg), including 28 touchdown tosses. Pappas is seventh nationally with 2,422 yards in eight games (302.8 ypg), and has thrown 21 touchdown passes.

Morehead State senior receiver BJ Byrd and Presbyterian freshman wideout Jalyn Witcher are second and fifth, respectively, in FCS receiving yardage. Byrd has 67 receptions (2nd in FCS) for 891 yards (3rd in FCS) and nine touchdowns (2nd in FCS) for the Eagles. Witcher has caught 56 passes (5th in FCS) for 852 yards (6th in FCS) and an FCS-best 10 touchdowns for the Blue Hose. 

Valparaiso blocked a PFL-record-tying three kicks – two punts and a field goal – in its Oct. 30 loss to San Diego. The Beacons have blocked an FCS best seven kicks this season with Brett Bittner blocking an FCS-leading three kicks, including a blocked punt at San Diego.

Nine PFL teams have scored a defensive touchdown this season and six have scored two or more touchdowns defensively. San Diego leads the league and is fourth among FCS teams with three defensive scores in 2021. Butler, Dayton, Morehead State, Presbyterian and Valparaiso each have two defensive touchdowns.

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.