CARBONDALE — Before North Dakota State, the Missouri Valley Football Conference's biggest win over an FBS program was SIU's upset at Indiana in 2006.
Quarterback Nick Hill, now the Salukis' head coach, threw four touchdowns and got some help from the defense to rally SIU from a 21-7 deficit to win 35-28 in Bloomington. It was the first time a member of the Gateway Conference (the Salukis were in the Gateway before it became the MVFC) beat a Big 10 Conference opponent, and was honored as the sixth-best FBS win in league history in late August.
As part of the Valley Football's 35th birthday this year, it is honoring its top players and top moments. This year is also the 150th anniversary of college football.
Hill hit wide receiver Alan Turner for an 8 yard touchdown pass to help tie the game at 21-all with 11 seconds left in the third quarter. The defense stuffed the Hoosiers on fourth down nearly five minutes into the fourth quarter, and Hill's 29 yard touchdown pass to Phil Goforth put SIU in front. Craig Coffin, who is going into the SIU Hall of Fame this year, hit the extra point for a 28-21 lead with 10:17 to play.
Facing a third-and-11 at its own 34, Justin Allen hauled in a 33 yard pass from Hill over his shoulder for a first down at the Indiana 33. Two players later, running back Arkee Whitlock, a Saluki Hall of Famer, scored from nine yards out to put SIU up 34-28. Coffin's kick made it 35-28, and the defense did the rest.
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Lorenzo Wims had a pair of sacks on the Hoosiers' final drive and finished with five solo tackles. Craig Turner and Brandin Jordan each had six tackles in the win over Indiana. Whitlock rushed for 103 yards and a touchdown, becoming the first Saluki running back to rush for over 100 yards against a Big 10 opponent since Byron Mitchell had 129 at Illinois in 1985.
No. 3 in the Valley's countdown was the 2016 season, when NDSU beat 11th-ranked Iowa on a last-second field goal, 23-21. Illinois State beat Northwestern 9-7 that same season, giving the league two wins over Big 10 teams in the same season. Western Illinois beat Northern Illinois 28-23 and Northern Iowa beat Iowa State 25-20, giving the MVFC four FBS wins.
NDSU, which has won its last six games against FBS teams dating back to 2010, holds the top-two spots in the league's top FBS victories list. The Bison's win at Iowa in 2016, when the Hawkeyes were 11th in the country, was No. 2. NDSU's win at Kansas State in 2013 was No. 1, because the Bison orchestrated an 18-play, 80 yard drive that took 8 minutes and 30 seconds for the game-winning touchdown. Brock Jensen's 1 yard touchdown run with 28 seconds sealed the deal in both teams' season openers.
The league plans to unveil more top moments throughout the season, such as the top championship teams, the best finishes, to playoff moments and streak snappers.