MVFC 35th anniversary: Top Moments, Series No. 2 – Top wins against ranked teams

ST. LOUIS – To celebrate 35 years of excellence in the Missouri Valley Football Conference, the league is recognizing some of its all-time top moments.

The league divided those moments into 10 categories, and have selected the top events in each. Some of the events qualify in multiple categories, so if it’s not on this list, the moment could be coming later in another yet-to-be released Top Moment segment.

Series No. 2:


No. 1

Oct. 24, 1992

 No. 1 Northern Iowa 27, No. 2 Idaho 26

UNI won 27-26 in the first-ever meeting between the No. 1- and No. 2-ranked FCS teams. The UNI-Dome was sold out for only the second time in its history.

No. 2

Sept. 10, 2016

• No. 1 North Dakota State 50, No. 6 Eastern Washington 44 (OT)

The Bison led 41-31 with 8 minutes left but the visiting Eagles reeled off 13 consecutive points to take a 44-41 lead. Cam Pedersen hit a game-tying 28-yard field to force overtime, and after EWU failed on its possession, NDSU running back Lance Dunn took the first NDSU snap in OT and ran 25 yards for the game-winning TD.

No. 3

Oct. 29, 2011

• No. 3 North Dakota State 27, No. 2 Northern Iowa 19

In a matchup between two league teams ranked in the nation’s top 3, NDSU won its eighth straight game to start the 2011 campaign by a 27-19 score in the Fargodome.

No. 4

Nov. 11, 2017

• No. 8 South Dakota State 33, No. 2 North Dakota State 21

For the second year in a row, SDSU defeated North Dakota State in regular-season play. Taryn Christion led the Jackrabbits as he threw for 329 yards and two scores and ran for a touchdown.

No. 5

Sept. 20, 2014

• No. 1 North Dakota State 22, No. 3 Montana 10 

In a battle between FCS Super Powers, North Dakota State had the upper hand in Montana’s first-ever visit to Fargo. Kicker Adam Keller booted five field goals for the Bison.


Oct. 19, 2013

 South Dakota 38, No. 11 Northern Iowa 31 (2OT)

South Dakota trailed 28-7 in the third but rallied to win. It was the first road league win and win over a ranked team for the Coyotes as a league member.

Sept. 29, 2018

 No. 1 North Dakota State 21, No. 3 South Dakota State 17

North Dakota State rolled to a 15-0 record and won a national championship, and South Dakota State was the only team within a touchdown that year. SDSU had a 17-14 lead in the fourth quarter until Easton Stick capped an eight-play, 80-yard drive with a 5-yard TD run with 13 minutes remaining.

Sept. 18, 1993

 Illinois State 37, No. 2 McNeese State 27

Illinois State became the first league school to post two wins against top-five non-league teams the same year, as the Redbirds snapped a string of nine consecutive losses to ranked teams.

Oct. 6, 2012

 No. 1 North Dakota State 48, No. 3 Youngstown State 7

NDSU and Youngstown State entered the contest with even 4-0 records and high national rankings, but NDSU used a 21-point scoring flurry to put the game out of reach early.

Sept. 7, 1996

 Missouri State 12, No. 3 McNeese State 7

Wayne Boyer converted four field goals to account for all of 12 points in a 12-7 road win over No. 3 McNeese State – the highest-ranked team the Bears have beaten.

Oct. 10, 2015

 No. 4 Illinois State 31, No. 7 Youngstown State 29

Illinois State won this battle between two teams ranked in the top 10 behind the legs of Marshaun Coprich (131 yards) and Tre Roberson (90 yards rushing and 130 yards passing).

Sept. 20, 2008

 Youngstown State 32, No. 2 North Dakota State 24

YSU led 23-3 late in the third before NDSU rallied to pull within 29-24 in the fourth. An interception in the end zone with 22 seconds left stopped NDSU’s last try.

Nov. 25, 1989

 Eastern Illinois 38, No. 4 Idaho 21

Eastern Illinois picked up its biggest nonconference win at No. 4 Idaho in the first round of the playoffs. It marked the Panthers’ only road playoff win as a league member.

Oct. 22 2005

 Illinois State 38, No. 13 Northern Iowa 3

A week after defeating top-ranked Southern Illinois, ISU knocked off a top-25 team for a second straight week. Laurent Robinson hauled in 10 catches for 243 yards to lead the Redbirds.

Dec. 8, 2018

 No. 5 South Dakota State 27, No. 2 Kennesaw State 17

The Jackrabbits build a comfortable 20-3 lead heading into the fourth quarter, but Kennesaw State scored twice to close the gap to 20-17. QB Taryn Christion engineered an eight-play, 65-yard drive, scoring on a 15-yard TD run with 2:22 left to seal a FCS Playoffs quarterfinal win for SDSU.

Oct. 27, 2001

 No. 10 Western Kentucky 24, No. 5 Youngstown State 14

Western Kentucky won what became an ‘elimination game’ for the 2001 playoffs as the Hilltoppers got in the 16-team field and Youngstown State did not even though both teams were 8-3.

Oct. 24, 2009

 South Dakota State 24, No. 6 UNI 14

SDSU upended No. 6 UNI in Brookings to help solidify its first-ever FCS playoff berth. At the time, the sixth-ranked Panthers were the highest-ranked team beaten by South Dakota State in its history.

Nov. 20, 2010

 Western Illinois 30, No. 12 UNI 14

A win over UNI on the season’s last day helped the Leathernecks qualify for the playoffs for the first time since 2003 – an amazing turnaround from a 1-10 record in 2009.

Oct. 5, 2002

 No. 25 Western Kentucky 31, No. 6 UNI 12

Western Kentucky’s impressive road victory – fueled by 14 points in the fourth quarter – was the first win in a 10-game winning streak that culminated in a national championship.

Nov. 8, 2003

 No. 9 Western Kentucky 24, No. 6 UNI 3

Western Kentucky earned this ‘must-win’ victory to secure a spot in the 2003 playoff field. The Hilltoppers joined three other league teams in the 16-team playoff field that year – a first.

Nov. 21, 1998

 Indiana State 66, No. 14 Murray State 10

ISU dominated the 14th-ranked visitors by forcing four turnovers and holding Murray State to 181 total yards. At No. 14, the Racers were the highest-ranked nonconference team the Sycamores have beaten.


The Missouri Valley Football Conference has mastered 145 wins against nonconference top-25 FCS teams, and one (North Dakota State defeated No. 11/13 Iowa) against an FBS ranked team.


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