MVFC Schedules - Conference Adds A Member This Year, Loses One In 2024

May 16, 2023 by Staff

The conference adds a 12th member this season as it welcomes Murray State from the Ohio Valley Conference, but will lose a school to the OVC next season.

Western Illinois announced on May 12 that it will move to the Ohio Valley Conference for all sports on July 1 of this year, but has to delay the switch for football until the 2024 season. The Leathernecks have played football in the MVFC, and all of its other iterations, since 1985. Western Illinois' other sports teams have been in the Summit League, formerly the Gateway Collegiate Athletic Conference, since 1982. .

When announcing the 2023 football schedules, the statement from the league said that each member will play 8 conference games each year by facing every other MVFC school at least two-thirds of the time in a six-year cycle (4 out of every 6 seasons), "supporting continuation of league identity and increasing competitive fairness over time".

Multiple options were considered, including divisional play, four-team pods and a true rotation, before arriving at the current model, which utilizes agreed-upon scheduling principles, including maximizing bus trips to the greatest extent possible and protecting rivalries.

Here is the school membership for 2023:
Illinois State
Indiana State
Missouri State
Murray State
North Dakota
North Dakota State
Northern Iowa
South Dakota
South Dakota State
Southern Illinois
Western Illinois
Youngstown State

South Dakota State is the defending conference champs and NATIONAL CHAMPS. John Stiegelmeier, the head coach since 1997, announced his retirement less than two weeks later.

The Jackrabbits defeated conference rival North Dakota State 45-21 to win the crown. A Missouri Valley team has won 10 of the last 12 national titles with 9 of those owned by the Bison under three different head coaches.

Jimmy Rogers was named as Stiegelmeier's replacement. Rogers played linebacker for Stiegelmeier from 2005-2009 and served as a graduate assistant on his staff from 2010-2011. After two seasons at Florida Atlantic, Rogers returned to coach the linebackers and worked his way up to defensive coordinator and assistant head coach.

NFL Draft

These players aren't likely to become a 2023 NFL MVP odds favorite, but the MVFC did see a pair of players get selected in the first three round of the NFL Draft at the end of April. Upon the conclusion of the draft, many others either signed Undrafted Free agent deals, or at least received an invitation to one or more rookie mini camps.

NFL Draft Picks:

  • Cody Mauch, an offensive lineman from North Dakota State, was taken in the Round 2 by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and was the 48th player drafted over-all.
  • South Dakota State tight end Tucker Kraft came off the board in the Round 3 to the Green Bay Packers who chose Kraft with the No. 78 over-all selection.

Undrafted Free Agents:

  • Illinois State: DL Jason Lewan (Green Bay), LB Zeke Vandenburgh (Miami), TE Tanner Taula (Tampa Bay)
  • Missouri State: CB Montrae Braswell (Kansas City), WR Ty Scott (Kansas City)
  • North Dakota: RB Tyler Hoosman (LA Chargers)
  • North Dakota State: DL Spencer Waege (San Francisco), FB Hunter Luepke (Dallas), OL Nash Jensen (Carolina), TE Noah Gindorff (Seattle)
  • Northern Iowa: Benny Sapp III (Green Bay)
  • South Dakota: OL Alex Jensen (Miami)
  • Southeast Missouri: WR Johnny King (Indianapolis)
  • Youngstown State: OL Mike McAllister (LA Rams), RB Jaleel McLaughlin (Denver).

Rookie Minicamp Tryout Invites:

  • Missouri State: QB Jason Shelley (Washington), S Dillon Thomas (Kansas City), S Kyriq McDonald (Kansas City)
  • North Dakota: WR Garett Maag (Philadelphia)
  • North Dakota State: CB Destin Talbert (Chicago, New Orleans), S Dawson Weber (Atlanta), S Michael Tutsie (Indianapolis)
  • Northern Iowa: OL Erik Sorensen (Chicago), OL Matthew Vanderslice (Indianapolis), WR Deion McShane (NY Giants)
  • South Dakota: K Eddie Ogamba (Baltimore), LS Dalton Godfrey (Las Vegas, Philadelphia)
  • South Dakota State: DT Caleb Sanders (NY Giants)
  • Southern Illinois: DT Keenan Agnew (NY Jets), RB Javon Williams Jr. (Washington), WR Avante Cox (Baltimore)

It is interesting to note that 4 of the above players involved the Kansas City Chiefs who lead the list of Super Bowl favorites as they look to defend their crown in 2023.

Coaching Changes

Only two conference teams have a new head coach for 2023 and both schools kept the change in-house. One even kept the change within the same family.

See the entire list of FCS head coaching changes.

Missouri State: Bobby Petrino left on December 15 and turned the reins over to his son-in-law. Petrino accepted the offensive coordinator position under newly-hired HC Barry Odom at FBS member UNLV. Petrino was 18-15 over-all in 3 seasons at Missouri State and 14-9 in the MVFC. The Bears backslid to 5-6 in 2022 after an 8-4 campaign in 2021 and a 5-5 mark in the 2020-2021 Covid campaign. Missouri State made the FCS playoffs in each of Petrino's first two seasons with opening round losses each time.

Ryan Beard was promoted four days later after serving as Petrino's DC during his entire tenure. Beard got the job on his own merit, having been lauded for his defenses and recruiting abilities. The 33-year-old had said he would retain the entire staff.

South Dakota State: On January 18, John Stiegelmeier announced his retirement. The move came less than 2 weeks after he led the school to the FCS National Championship with a victory over fellow conference power North Dakota State. He ends his career with a record of 199-112 and leaves a program that he has taken to the postseason for 11 consecutive years. His team lost to Sam Houston in the 2020-21 national championship game.

Jimmy Rogers, who served as Stiegelmeier's assistant head coach and defensive coordinator, was immediately named as his successor.


South Dakota State is the only MVFC school that will play an institution from a lower division when the Jackrabbits open at home against D2 Western Oregon.

Illinois State and Western Illinois will face-off in week 2. The other 10 conference teams will all open with 3 nonconference games before competing in 8 straight league contests.

Nine MVFC teams will combine to face 11 FBS opponents. Illinois State, North Dakota State and South Dakota State do not play any FBS teams.

  • Indiana State will play 2 in-state FBS opponents as the Sycamores visit Indiana in week 2 and Ball State in week 3
  • Missouri State will face 1 FBS opponent when the Bears go to Kansas on August 31
  • Murray State has 2 FBS opponents on the slate. The Racers visit in-state foe Louisville on September 7 (Thursday) and head to Middle Tennessee on 9/16
  • North Dakota's lone FBS game is at Boise State on September 16
  • Northern Iowa will take the 94-mile ride from Cedar Falls to Ames to face Iowa State for the Labor Day weekend opener on the 2nd
  • South Dakota opens at Missouri on Labor Day weekend Saturday
  • Southern Illinois goes to Northern Illinois on September 9
  • Western Illinois journeys 1,210 miles to New Mexico State for its Labor Day weekend Saturday opener
  • Youngstown State visits Ohio State on September 9

Team-by-Team Schedules
*denotes conference game

9/2 Dayton
9/9 at Western Illinois*
9/16 at Eastern Illinois
9/23 Lindenwood
10/7 South Dakota State*
10/14 Indiana State*
10/21 at Youngstown State*
10/28 Northern Iowa*
11/4 at Missouri State*
11/11 Murray State*
11/18 at North Dakota*

8/31 Eastern Illinois
9/9 at Indiana
9/16 at Ball State
9/30 at Murray State*
10/7 Northern Iowa*
10/14 at Illinois State*
10/21 South Dakota*
10/28 at North Dakota*
11/4 Youngstown State*
11/11 Western Illinois*
11/18 at Southern Illinois*

8/31 at Kansas
9/9 at UT Martin
9/23 Utah Tech
9/30 at Southern Illinois*
10/7 North Dakota State*
10/14 at Western Illinois*
10/21 Murray State*
10/28 at Youngstown State*
11/4 Illinois State*
11/11 Northern Iowa*
11/18 at South Dakota State*

9/2 Presbyterian
9/7 at Louisville
9/16 at Middle Tennessee
9/30 Indiana State*
10/7 at South Dakota*
10/14 Southern Illinois*
10/21 at Missouri State*
10/28 at North Dakota State*
11/4 North Dakota*
11/11 at Illinois State*
11/18 Youngstown State*

9/2 Drake
9/9 Northern Arizona
9/16 at Boise State
9/30 at South Dakota State*
10/7 Western Illinois*
10/14 North Dakota State*
10/21 at Northern Iowa*
10/28 Indiana State*
11/4 at Murray State*
11/11 at South Dakota*
11/18 Illinois State*

9/2 Eastern Washington (Minneapolis)
9/9 Maine
9/16 Central Arkansas
9/30 South Dakota*
10/7 at Missouri State*
10/14 at North Dakota*
10/21 Western Illinois*
10/28 Murray State*
11/4 at South Dakota State*
11/11 Southern Illinois*
11/18 at Northern Iowa*

9/2 at Iowa State
9/9 Weber State
9/16 at Idaho State
9/30 Youngstown State*
10/7 at Indiana State*
10/14 at South Dakota State*
10/21 North Dakota*
10/28 at Illinois State*
11/4 Western Illinois*
11/11 at Missouri State*
11/18 North Dakota State*

9/2 at Missouri
9/9 St. Thomas, MN
9/16 Lamar
9/30 at North Dakota State*
10/7 Murray State*
10/14 Youngstown State*
10/21 at Indiana State*
10/28 South Dakota State*
11/4 at Southern Illinois*
11/11 North Dakota*
11/18 at Western Illinois*

8/31 Western Oregon (D2)
9/9 Montana State
9/16 Drake (Minneapolis, MN)
9/30 North Dakota*
10/7 at Illinois State*
10/14 Northern Iowa*
10/21 at Southern Illinois*
10/28 at South Dakota*
11/4 North Dakota State*
11/11 at Youngstown State*
11/18 Missouri State*

9/2 Austin Peay
9/9 at Northern Illinois
9/16 at Southeast Missouri
9/30 Missouri State*
10/7 at Youngstown State*
10/14 at Murray St.*
10/21 South Dakota State*
10/28 at Western Illinois*
11/4 South Dakota*
11/11 at North Dakota State*
11/18 Indiana State*

9/2 at New Mexico State
9/9 Illinois State*
9/16 Lindenwood
9/23 at Southern Utah
10/7 at North Dakota*
10/14 Missouri State*
10/21 at North Dakota State*
10/28 Southern Illinois*
11/4 at Northern Iowa*
11/11 at Indiana State*
11/18 South Dakota*

8/31 Valparaiso
9/9 at Ohio State
9/16 Robert Morris
9/30 at Northern Iowa*
10/7 Southern Illinois*
10/14 at South Dakota*
10/21 Illinois State*
10/28 Missouri State*
11/4 at Indiana State*
11/11 South Dakota State*
11/18 at Murray State*