Well it was called the FCS Game of the Week and it certainly lived up to the hype. It was called a black-and-blue type game and it certainly lived up to the hype. It was called a game where two teams were so evenly matched, whoever had the ball last might win. And that lived up to the hype as well.
No. 2 North Dakota State went to No. 8 Youngstown State and gutted out a 27-24 overtime win off a 36-yard field goal from Cam Pedersen. It came minutes after YSU's terrific kicker Zak Kennedy missed from 39 yards out.
So where does this leave us in the national picture?
Well for starters, YSU is no doubt the best 3-3 football team in the FCS. The Penguins shouldn't slide too far down the polls. Going toe-to-toe with the Bison and taking them to overtime needs to be shown respect.
But YSU is now in a battle for a playoff seed. If the 'Guins win out, they have a chance to get one at 8-3. But next week's game at Northern Iowa, who just thumped No. 7 South Dakota State 38-18 (we'll get to that later), just got a whole lot more interesting.
As for the Bison, they survived what looks to be their toughest road test. Sure, the game at SDSU on Nov. 4 will be a challenge. But the Jacks' run defense looks to be struggling mightily and will need big-time improvements.
All five of NDSU's games come against teams who are or have been in the Top 25 at least once this season. Three of those come at home, and if the Bison can claw out a win in Youngstown like they did, you have to like their chances to finish 11-0 or 10-1, which is good enough for a home-field advantage seed.
Upsets litter the Valley
In our 5 storylines to watch for in the MVFC article, we asked the question if this is the week the Valley starts beating up on each other and does a ranked team get upset? It turns out there were two huge upsets that shook up the conference. UNI beating SDSU keeps its playoffs hopes alive at 3-3. And trust me, no one wants to face the Panthers in the playoffs.
— David Harris (@DavidHarrisAD) October 14, 2017
It also puts the Jacks' championship hopes at risk. The team talked about aspirations of a national title before the season started. Now the defense looks to be struggling even more than last year and the offense has struggled twice against good defenses. The Jackrabbits are 4-2 with their toughest games ahead of them. Who could have ever predicted that SDSU could be visiting No. 4 South Dakota in the playoffs? USD rolled once again, beating Indiana State 56-5 to improve to 6-0.
And oh boy, No. 15 Illinois State is facing some adversity. The Redbirds started 4-0 but then lost big last week to a solid Big Sky team, Northern Arizona. Maybe it was a bad week. But now it's happened two weeks in a row with a 42-7 loss to Southern Illinois, who is now 3-3. The Salukis are starting to turn a corner.
You better bring it every week in the Valley. And if the conference wants five teams in the playoffs again, ranked teams can't afford upset losses. Especially when there will be so many ranked vs. ranked matchups like we saw in Youngstown.