(STATS) - It was as if the Missouri Valley Conference opened its 2015 schedule with two Daytona 500s in one day.
Like NASCAR, there are playoffs ahead for the big boys of the FCS. With a weekly Valley schedule that's treacherous along the way.
Fourth-ranked Illinois State opened the league season Saturday afternoon by defeating No. 7 Northern Iowa 21-13 for its 15th straight win at Hancock Stadium before 13,391.
Saturday night, No. 3 North Dakota State rolled to a 28-7 victory at fifth-ranked South Dakota State in the Dakota Marker Game as a record 17,348 watched at Coughlin-Alumni Stadium.
Illinois State senior Marshaun Coprich rushed for a pair of a first-half touchdowns and finished with 166 yards on 33 carries against the Panthers. The All-American passed Toby Davis to become the Redbirds' all-time rushing leader, finishing the game with 3,738 yards
The Redbirds (3-1) won their third straight since opening the season with a loss at Iowa. They went with redshirt freshman Jake Kolbe at quarterback and started usual No. 1 Tre Roberson, who had a thumb injury on his throwing hand, at wide receiver.
UNI, which entered the game as the only FCS team to have beaten two Top 25 teams, fell to 2-2. Quarterback Aaron Bailey threw a touchdown to Michael Malloy but also had two interceptions. Isaac Ales had three sacks and Karter Schult collected two sacks and five tackles for loss.
North Dakota State (3-1) looked every bit the four-time defending FCS champion in beating South Dakota State (3-1) for the eighth straight time. Quarterback Carson Wentz had 237 yards of total offense and both a touchdown pass and run while the Bison held the ball for more than 39 minutes.
Their defense limited SDSU to minus-4 rushing yards and All-America wide receiver Jake Wieneke to three receptions for 39 yards. Defensive Greg Menard had three sacks and three quarterback hurries.
Next Saturday, all six ranked Missouri Valley teams - No. 10 Youngstown State and No. 21 Indiana State are the others - will be involved in three big matchups.
STATS FCS TOP 25=
THURSDAY, OCT. 1=
No. 22 Southeastern Louisiana (3-1, 2-0 Southland) 30, Lamar (2-2, 1-1) 27
Kody Sutton's 1-yard run on fourth down with 1:19 remaining lifted Southeastern and kept Lamar, which had previously beaten Sam Houston State, just short of a season sweep of last year's Southland co-champions.
Southeastern drove 79 yards in 17 plays for the winning touchdown. Quarterback D'Shaie Landor, back from a shoulder injury, accounted for three touchdowns - two rushing - and had 321 total yards.
FRIDAY, OCT. 2=
No. 24 Harvard (3-0) 45, Georgetown (2-3) 0
Freshman Noah Reimers rushed for three touchdowns and Paul Stanton Jr. had 113 yards and two scores on the ground for Harvard, whose 17-game winning streak is the longest in the FCS.
The Crimson have posted a shutout in four straight seasons.
SATURDAY, OCT. 3=
No. 1 Jacksonville State (4-1) 49, Mississippi Valley State (0-5) 7
Quarterback Eli Jenkins passed for a touchdown and rushed for two more, and Troymaine Pope had 100 yards and two touchdowns on seven carries, sparking top-ranked Jacksonville State, which rested starters in the second half after building a 35-7 halftime lead.
The Gamecocks have a bye next weekend before playing three of their next four on the road.
No. 2 Coastal Carolina (5-0) 55, Alabama A&M (1-3) 0
Coastal running back D'Angelo Henderson scored three touchdowns in the first half, including two on receptions, to set the Big South record with a TD in his 19th straight game and move within one of the FCS record. He had 146 yards from scrimmage.
Alex Ross threw four touchdowns in the Chanticleers' 100th all-time win. It was their first shutout since they beat Chowan 51-0 on Oct. 13, 2007.
No. 6 James Madison (5-0, 2-0 CAA) 38, Stony Brook (2-2, 1-2) 20
The explosive Dukes built a 38-7 advantage and reached 5-0 for the first time in program history.
Khalid Abdullah rushed for 114 yards and two touchdowns and quarterback Vad Lee totaled 316 yards (225 passing, 91 rushing) and two touchdowns (one pass, one rush). Linebacker Gage Steele tied his career high with 18 tackles.
No. 10 Youngstown State (3-1, 1-0 Missouri Valley) 31, South Dakota (2-2, 0-1) 3
The visiting Penguins, who entered the game ranked No. 1 in the FCS in total defense, limited South Dakota to 262 yards while forcing three turnovers.
Martin Ruiz rushed for two touchdowns and Hunter Wells threw for a pair.
Northern Arizona (3-2, 1-1 Big Sky) 49, No. 11 Montana State (2-2, 1-1) 41
NAU had a balanced offense (254 passing yards, 252 rushing yards) to knock off Montana State. Quarterback Case Cookus threw for four touchdowns, wide receiver Alex Holmes caught two touchdowns and threw for one, and running back Casey Jahn rushed for 175 yards and two scores.
Lumberjacks coach Jerome Souers tied Chris Ault atop the Big Sky all-time wins list with 68.
Montana State quarterback Dakota Prukop threw for 399 yards and four touchdowns and had 54 yards and a TD on the ground. The Bobcats have lost six of their last eight road games dating to 2013.
No. 12 Sam Houston State (2-2, 2-1 Southland) 34, Stephen F. Austin (0-5, 0-3) 28
Sam Houston's Gerald Thomas (78 yards) and Yedidiah Louis (53) scored on punt returns in the third quarter of the 90th "Battle of the Piney Woods" in Houston.
Loren Easley rushed for 213 yards and a touchdown for the winless Lumberjacks, who have suffered three losses by six points or less.
No. 13 Montana (3-2, 2-0 Big Sky) 27, UC Davis (0-5, 0-2) 13
Chad Chalich completed 29 of 49 passes for 265 yards and three touchdowns. He also rushed for 64 yards.
Chase Naccarato had 13 receptions for 84 yards, while Ben Romain Roberts, Jamaal Jones and Ellis Henderson all caught touchdowns. The Grizzlies forced four turnovers.
No. 15 Fordham (4-1, 1-0 Patriot) 35, Lafayette (1-4, 0-1) 7
Fordham sophomore running back Chase Edmonds carried the ball 30 times for 234 yards and a touchdowns in a meeting of the last two Patriot League champions.
Red-hot quarterback Kevin Anderson only threw for 149 yards on 10 completions, but two were scoring tosses to Corey Caddle and Phazahn Odom. The Rams overcame 15 penalties for 119 yards.
North Dakota (4-1, 2-0 Big Sky) 19, No. 16 Portland State (3-1, 1-1) 17
In a matchup of early season surprises, North Dakota prevailed behind Reid Taubenheim's four field goals.
UND outrushed the Vikings 260-97.
Kentucky (4-1) 34, No. 17 Eastern Kentucky (2-2) 27, OT
Eastern Kentucky blew a 27-13 lead in the final five minutes of the fourth quarter and then lost in overtime.
Colonels running back Dy'Shawn Mobley, who played two seasons for Kentucky, overcame a recent hamstring injury to carry the ball 21 times for 74 yards and a touchdown and catch five passes for 50 yards.
No. 18 Liberty (3-2) 41, Georgia State (1-3) 33
Liberty beat an FBS opponent for the second consecutive season as Desmond Rice rushed for three touchdowns and D.J. Abnar had 164 all-purpose yards. The Flames held the ball for 43:33 of game clock.
John Lunsford kicked a 56-yard field goal one week after making a 57-yarder.
The Flames, who beat Appalachian State last season, became the seventh FCS team to beat an FBS program this year.
No. 19 Richmond (3-1, 1-0 CAA) 48, Maine (1-3, 1-1) 17
Kyle Lauletta passed for 311 yards and four touchdowns and ran for a score. Brian Brown (seven receptions, 177 yards) and Reggie Diggs (six receptions, 96 yards) both caught two touchdowns.
No. 20 New Hampshire (3-2, 1-1 CAA) 37, Elon (2-3, 1-1) 14
Dalton Crossan rushed for career highs of 140 yards and four touchdowns, while five different UNH players had interceptions.
No. 21 Indiana State (3-1, 1-0 Missouri Valley) 56, Missouri State (1-3, 0-1) 28
Spread the wealth: Matt Adam was 27 of 38 for 265 yards and four touchdowns, and eight different Indiana State players scored TDs.
Wide receiver Gary Owens caught one of Adam's touchdowns and threw one to Jamar Brown for 22 yards.
No. 23 McNeese State (4-0, 3-0 Southland) 37, Nicholls (0-4, 0-2) 7
Quarterback Daniel Sams had another strong game with 229 total yards and both a touchdown run and pass as McNeese State took sole possession of first place in the Southland Conference.
Delaware (2-3, 1-1 CAA) 24, No. 25 William & Mary (2-2, 1-1) 23
Frank Raggo kicked a 29-yard field goal as time expired to lift Delaware.
The Blue Hens held the ball for more than 41 minutes and rolled up 347 rushing yards. Thomas Jefferson (174 yards) and Kareem Williams (106 yards, one touchdown) led the way.
No. 8 Chattanooga (3-1, 1-0 Southern)
No. 9 Eastern Washington (3-1, 1-0 Big Sky)
No. 14 Villanova (2-2, 1-0 CAA)