The Pioneer Football League Report: Week 7
Photo by Drue Wolfe, courtesy Drake Athletics Media Relations
Photo by Drue Wolfe, courtesy Drake Athletics Media Relations

Wednesday, October 11, 2023
by Cody Bush, PFL Media Relations


San Diego at Marist, Noon
Broadcast: ESPN+
Location: Poughkeepsie, New York    Stadium: Tenney Stadium
Series: SAN leads, 15-0    Streak: SAN, 15 wins
Last Meeting: San Diego def. Marist, 31-7 (2019)

Davidson at Butler, 1 p.m.
Location: Indianapolis, Indiana    Stadium: Sellick Bowl
Series: DAV leads, 9-6    Streak: DAV, four wins
Last Meeting: Davidson def. Butler, 31-0 (2022)

Presbyterian at Dayton, 1 p.m.
Broadcast: Facebook Live
Location: Dayton, Ohio    Stadium: Welcome Stadium
Series: DAY leads, 2-0    Streak: DAY, two wins
Last Meeting: Dayton def. Presbyterian, 52-28 (2022)

St. Thomas at Drake, 1 p.m.
Broadcast: ESPN+
Location: Des Moines, Iowa    Stadium: Drake Stadium
Series: STT leads, 2-0    Streak: STT, two wins
Last Meeting: St. Thomas def. Drake, 26-14 (2022)

Morehead State at Valparaiso, 2 p.m.
Broadcast: ESPN+
Location: Valparaiso, Indiana    Stadium: Brown Field
Series: MOR leads, 23-5    Streak: VAL, one win
Last Meeting: Valparaiso def. Morehead State, 40-35 (2022)


The PFL’s three unbeaten teams, St. Thomas, Davidson, and Drake, are all in action during Week 7 of the college football campaign. ST. THOMAS AT DRAKE: St. Thomas travels down I-35 for another key league outing at Drake. The Tommies fended off Butler last week to move atop the league standings at 3-0. The Bulldogs won their fifth straight PFL game last week to improve to 2-0 in PFL play. It matches the league’s two most formidable defenses, with St. Thomas and Drake each holding opponents to 294 yards per game. Drake also has held its first two PFL opponents to three touchdowns and 23 points (11.5 points per game), while St. Thomas has allowed seven touchdowns and 52 points (17.3 ppg) in three games. DAVIDSON AT BUTLER: Davidson returns to the fray after its off week and heads to Indianapolis to face a Butler squad seeking to cause havoc in the PFL race. The Wildcats are 2-0 after downing San Diego in Week 5 and now strive to keep pace with St. Thomas. Butler fell to 2-1 after its loss at St. Thomas last Saturday and looks to stay in touch with the leaders the rest of the way. Davidson is the league’s top-ranked offense, with 535.5 yards and 52.0 points per game. Meanwhile, Butler is the PFL’s number three defense, holding opponents to 304.7 yards and 17.3 points per game. The teams traded roles a year ago, with Davidson shutting out Butler 31-0 in Davidson. SAN DIEGO AT MARIST: After a week off, San Diego heads back across the country for a meeting at Marist. The Toreros return to the East Coast after falling at Davidson in Week 5, while Marist returns home looking for a second-straight win at Tenney Stadium. It’s a meeting of the league’s No. 2 and No. 3 offenses, with San Diego ranking second in scoring (36.5 ppg) and offensive yardage (437.5 yards per game) ahead of Marist (30.3 ppg, 398.3 ypg). PRESBYTERIAN AT DAYTON: Presbyterian heads west for a meeting against Dayton in which one team will pick up its first PFL win. The Blue Hose nearly notched their first-ever PFL win last week against Stetson before falling in the final minutes. Dayton could not get its offense on track at Morehead State and dropped to 0-3 in league play. Presbyterian holds the edge statistically entering Week 7, holding a five-point edge in scoring offense and a three-point advantage in scoring defense. MOREHEAD STATE AT VALPARAISO: Morehead State seeks to extinguish an eight-game road losing streak when it travels to Valparaiso. The Eagles and Beacons are evenly matched on paper offensively, averaging 22.7 and 22.0 points per game, respectively. Morehead State gains an edge on defense, limiting its three PFL opponents to 19.3 points per game, while Valparaiso has allowed 28.0 points per game in two outings.  


Five of the league’s running backs enter Week 7 ranked among the FCS Top 35 in rushing yards per game, led by Butler’s Jyran Mitchell whose 114.8 yards per game ranks sixth among FCS rushers. Davidson’s Mari Adams (91.0 ypg) and San Diego’s Isaiah Williams (85.4 ypg) are ranked 20th and 25th respectively. Marist’s Amin Woods (81.2 ypg) and Dayton’s Michael Neel (79.2 ypg) check in at 30th and 33rd in the FCS respectively.

San Diego and Davidson remain among the FCS’ stingiest teams regarding turnovers. Both the Toreros and Wildcats have lost just two turnovers this season. San Diego has not had a pass intercepted, while Davidson has not lost a fumble in 2023. Drake (4) and Butler (6) also rank among the FCS Top 35 in fewest turnovers lost. San Diego, Davidson, Butler, and Drake also enter the week with positive turnover margins – the Toreros leading in the FCS with a plus 2.0 margin.

PFL members have been involved in four of the FCS’ 14 overtime games in 2023. Marist and Valparaiso became the latest to need extra time to determine a victory in Week 4. It was the second straight time the two teams went to overtime in a game played on Brown Field in Valparaiso. Stetson, Drake, and San Diego played an overtime game in non-conference action.